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Bio

Nicole Symmonds is Beliefnet’s Prayer editor and also covers Christianity. A New Yorker by birth but a Floridian by tenure, Nicole graduated from Florida A&M University with a B.S. in Public Relations and a minor in Sociology. She moved to NY to pursue a career in journalism which started at In Style magazine. There she learned the ropes of magazine reporting, researching, and writing—and became exponentially more stylish. But what seemed like a deep interest in fashion and entertainment would soon be revealed as merely the vehicle that moved her closer to discovering her purpose, writing and covering matters of the Christian faith. While in her purpose-driven vehicle she can be found traveling between Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens for life, work and worship, respectively. From fashion to faith and the journey isn’t over yet…

Bishops to Consider Stem Cells, Translations to Mass

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are expected to approve a new set of translations for the Mass and a policy statement on embryonic stem cell research at an upcoming meeting in […]

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Obama Vows Staunch Support for Israel

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – June 4, 2008 WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama assured Jewish leaders Wednesday that he will be a steadfast ally of Israel and will not negotiate with terrorist groups, a response to attacks leveled against him […]

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Saudi King Calls for End to Islamic Extremism

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – June 4, 2008 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Islam must do away with the dangers of extremism and present the religion’s positive message, Saudi King Abdullah said Wednesday as he opened a conference of Muslim figures aimed at […]

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McCain Mocks Obama on Iran in Speech to Jews

posted by nsymmonds

Knight Ridder Washington Bureau – June 2, 2008 WASHINGTON – John McCain told an influential Jewish group Monday that the security of Israel and the United States depends on a tough-minded approach to a potentially nuclear-armed Iran, mocking presidential rival […]

Polygamist Sect Parents, Children Begin Reuniting

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – June 2, 2008 SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Members of a polygamist sect have begun emotional reunions with their children, who were taken from the group’s ranch amid an abuse investigation nearly two months ago. Nancy Dockstader’s chin […]

Chicago Cardinal Silences Priest Who Mocked Clinton

posted by nsymmonds

By Kevin Eckstrom Religion News Service (RNS) The Chicago priest who mocked Hillary Clinton by saying she cried on the campaign trail because “there’s a black man stealing my show” has been told by Cardinal Francis George not to speak […]

Another Pastor’s Comments Force Obama Apology

posted by nsymmonds

United Press International – May 30, 2008 CHICAGO, May 30, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) — Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign once again had to apologize for remarks made by a Chicago pastor who spoke from the pulpit of the candidate’s church. […]

Vatican: Excommunication for Female Priests

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 30, 2008 VATICAN CITY – The Vatican insisted Friday that it is properly following Christian tradition by excluding females from the priesthood as it issued a new warning that women taking part in ordinations will be […]

Conservatives Warn of Flood of Gay Marriage Lawsuits

posted by nsymmonds

By JONATHAN D. RUBIN c. 2008 Religion News Service WASHINGTON — California’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage could “spawn lawsuits all over the country,” trampling states’ rights and limiting religious freedom, a coalition of conservative groups warned Thursday (May 29). […]

Los Angeles Catholic Parishes Donate to Cover Settlements

posted by nsymmonds

LOS ANGELES – Parishes across the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles are answering an appeal from Cardinal Roger Mahony to help pay $720 million in settlements to victims of clergy sex abuse. One parish donated almost all of its […]

Southern Baptists Face Wide-Open Leadership Race

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) When Southern Baptists meet for their annual convention in Indianapolis this June, they will have the opportunity to cast ballots for the highest number of contenders for president in the […]

N.Y. Will Respect Same-Sex Marriages

posted by nsymmonds

The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, Norfolk, VA – May 29, 2008 By Jeremy Peters The New York Times ALBANY, N.Y. New York Gov. David Paterson has directed all state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize […]

All Presidential Hopefuls Urge End to Darfur Violence

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 28, 2008 WASHINGTON – In a rare show of bipartisan unity, the three presidential candidates lent their names to a statement and newspaper ad Wednesday accusing the Sudanese government of genocide in the Darfur region and […]

Israeli Police Examine New Testament Blaze

posted by nsymmonds

United Press International – May 28, 2008 JERUSALEM, May 28, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) — Israeli police Wednesday are reviewing a series of photographs showing students torching hundreds of New Testaments, a police spokesman said. Uzi Aharon, the mayor of […]

Gay Marriage will Begin on June 17 in California

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 28, 2008 SAN FRANCISCO – California officials are telling county clerks that they can start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on June 17. The state Office of Vital Records says it chose June 17 because […]

What’s Up With the Karmapa Lama?

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) When many Americans think of Tibetan Buddhism, one man comes to mind: the Dalai Lama. The jet-setting, best-selling, Nobel Prize-winning 72-year-old monk has become the most recognizable Tibetan in the world. […]

Florida Muslims Sue Feds Over Citizenship Delays

posted by nsymmonds

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News – May 23, 2008 May 23–For three years and three months, Ali Hussain has waited to become a U.S. citizen. On Thursday, his wait was over — but not before he sued the federal government. In […]

9/11 Families Sue for Right to Religious Burials

posted by nsymmonds

By Benedicta Cipolla c. 2008 Religion News Service NEW YORK — After the memorial Mass on Oct. 26, 2001, for her son Christian, a probationary firefighter who died in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Sally Regenhard […]

Episcopal Bishop Downplays Discord at Upcoming Anglican Meeting

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said Tuesday (May 20) that she does not expect up-or-down votes on the role of gays and lesbians in the church at a meeting of […]

Autistic Teen’s Ouster from Church Stirs Debate

posted by nsymmonds

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News – May 20, 2008 May 20–Some see it as too harsh. Others see it as a last resort for safety. A Minnesota church’s efforts to bar a severely autistic 13-year-old boy from its Roman Catholic mass, […]

Muslim Group Distributes Free Qurans To Promote Understanding

posted by nsymmonds

Chicago Tribune – May 21, 2008 CHICAGO – As Marcia Macy chatted with her dog walker in the driveway of her Wheaton, Ill., home Thursday, a young Muslim man passed her and hooked a plastic bag containing a Quran on […]

Yahweh Sect May Be Texas Test Case

posted by nsymmonds

The Dallas Morning News – May 15, 2008 (MCT) CALLAHAN COUNTY, Texas – In his first sermon after leaving jail, Yisrayl “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins was in classic form: folksy, paternal and apocalyptic. “No, we’re not getting ready to kill ourselves,” […]

Coast Guard Grants Religious Exemption on Vaccine

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Coast Guard has granted a religious exemption to an officer who sued after being denied a waiver from receiving a Hepatitis A vaccine that he believed was derived from […]

Aid Groups Feel the Pinch of Rising Food, Gas Prices

posted by nsymmonds

By JONATHAN D. RUBIN c. 2008 Religion News Service WASHINGTON — Dramatic increases in food and gas prices are leaving some religious hunger-relief groups praying for relief. Problems were already apparent in 2006, but U.S. churches now report increased difficulty […]

Gay Marriage Opponents Vow to Fight Calif. Ruling

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 16, 2008 SAN FRANCISCO – Even as same-sex couples across California begin making plans to tie the knot, opponents are redoubling their efforts to make sure wedding bells never ring for gay couples in the nation’s […]

American Jewish Family Builds Mosque for Cambodian Village

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 16, 2008 TRAMOUNG CHRUM, Cambodia – When residents of this poor, Cambodian village need something built, they call on the Lightmans. The Jewish-American family’s latest gift: a mosque. “We never had such a beautiful mosque in […]

Gregorian Chant Making a 21st Century Comeback

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) It doesn’t have much of a beat, the kids can’t dance to it, and it’s sung in a dead language. But Gregorian chant seems to be the hottest thing in sacred […]

Televangelist John Hagee Apologizes to Catholics

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 13, 2008 WASHINGTON – John Hagee, an influential Texas televangelist who endorsed John McCain, apologized to Catholics Tuesday for his stinging criticism of the Roman Catholic Church and for having “emphasized the darkest chapters in the […]

Muslims Campaign to Reclaim ‘Jihad’ from Extremists

posted by nsymmonds

By Omar Sacirbey c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The end to Ani Zonneveld’s “jihad” on “jihad” came during an episode of “Desperate Housewives,” when Lynette (Felicity Huffman) discovers she has cancer and throws a stone at a possum. “Look […]

Vatican Astronomer Suggests Aliens Do Not Need Salvation

posted by nsymmonds

By Francis X. Rocca Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) Intelligent life may exist on other planets and has no need of redemption through Jesus Christ, the Vatican’s top astronomer said. The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican […]

US Muslim Leader’s Deportation Hearing Continues

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 12, 2008 NEWARK, New Jersey – A deportation hearing for a popular Muslim leader resumed Monday with both sides focusing on a disputed arrest in Israel that is at the heart of the case. Mohammad Qatanani, […]

Vatican Unveils Latin Web Site

posted by nsymmonds

United Press International – May 12, 2008 VATICAN CITY, May 10, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) — The Roman Catholic Church, reflecting the love of Latin by Pope Benedict XVI, has opened a Web site at the Vatican written in the […]

One Year After Father’s Death, Falwell’s Sons Pick Up the Legacy

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks c. 2008 Religion News Service LYNCHBURG, Va. — Nearly a year after his father’s death, the Rev. Jonathan Falwell walks up and down the stage of Thomas Road Baptist Church with a series of briefcases behind […]

Lost in the Holocaust: Experts Plumb Newly Opened Archive

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 8, 2008 BAD AROLSEN, Germany – A mother and child separated. A father’s war wound. An uncle’s name on a list. The unrelated and disparate items are among the discoveries made by 40 Jewish genealogists who […]

Evangelist Franklin Graham Visits China Ahead of Olympics

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 9, 2008 BEIJING – The son of American evangelist Billy Graham said Friday he is opposed to missionary work at this summer’s Beijing Olympic Games. Franklin Graham, also an evangelist, was speaking to reporters Friday during […]

Did Bad Karma Cause the Myanmar Cyclone?

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) After a natural disaster strikes in the United States, the question almost immediately arises: Where was God? Or, did God allow this to happen? Half a world away, as Myanmar digs […]

First International Aid Reaches Myanmar After Cyclone

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 6, 2008 YANGON, Myanmar – International aid began to trickle into Myanmar on Tuesday, but the stricken Irrawaddy delta, the nation’s rice bowl where 22,000 people perished and twice as many are missing, remained cut off […]

Chinese Orchestra Performs for Pope in Landmark Vatican Concert

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 7, 2008 VATICAN CITY – The China Philharmonic Orchestra performed for Pope Benedict XVI in a landmark concert Wednesday that could indicate warming relations between Beijing and the Vatican. Benedict called it a “truly unique event” […]

Israel’s 60th a Dream Realized for Some, Dashed for Others

posted by nsymmonds

By Michele Chabin c. 2008 Religion News Service JERUSALEM — When Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary starting Wednesday (May 7) night, the event will touch people of different faiths in very different ways. Jews and Christian Zionists around the world […]

Evangelicals Say Faith is Now Too Political

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 2, 2008 Conservative Christian leaders who believe the word “evangelical” has lost its religious meaning plan to release a starkly self-critical document saying the movement has become too political and has diminished the Gospel through its […]

China Agrees to Second Round of Talks with Dalai Lama’s Envoys

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 5, 2008 SHENZHEN, China – After a day of meetings, the Dalai Lama’s representatives left China on Monday with a solid offer from Beijing for more talks in an apparent sign of a gradual rapprochement after […]

Watchdog Panel Issues Religious Freedom Recommendations

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) A federal watchdog panel said Friday (May 2) that 11 countries should be named “countries of particular concern” for their records on religious freedom, including three that are not currently on […]

Visit Prompts Speculation on NY Cardinal’s Replacement

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – May 1, 2008 NEW YORK – Whatever impressions Pope Benedict XVI took away from his long weekend in New York may influence a big, upcoming decision – picking a successor to Cardinal Edward Egan as archbishop. Speculating […]

Methodists Decline to Act Against Transgender Clergy

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke c. 2008 Religion News Service FORT WORTH, Texas — Efforts to remove a transgender pastor from ministry in the United Methodist Church died quietly here this week at the denomination’s General Conference. The failure to enact a […]

Northwestern Pulls Honorary Degree for Jeremiah Wright

posted by nsymmonds

By Jonathan Rubin Religion News Service (RNS) Northwestern University has retracted an honorary degree offer to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Barack Obama’s embattled former pastor. “In light of the controversy around Dr. Wright and to ensure that the celebratory […]

Texas Officials Looking at Possible Abuse Among Boys of Polygamous Sect

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 30, 2008 AUSTIN, Texas – Texas officials told legislators Wednesday that they are investigating the possible sexual abuse of some young boys taken from a polygamist sect’s ranch, as well as broken bones among other children. […]

Pope Meets with Islamic Scholars from Iran

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 30, 2008 VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI met Wednesday with a group of Islamic scholars from Iran following their talks with a Catholic delegation on issues apparently related to recent tensions between Muslims and Christians. […]

Muslims, Jews, Atheists Cite Concerns About National Day of Prayer

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks and Nicole Neroulias Religion News Service (RNS) A Muslim advocacy group is partnering with a Jewish online organization that has called for “inclusive” observances of the National Day of Prayer on Thursday (May 1). “Contact your […]

Pagans Find a Sometimes Uneasy Home Among Quakers

posted by nsymmonds

By MATTHEW STREIB c. 2008 Religion News Service BALTIMORE — When his partner died in 2004, Kevin-Douglas Olive reached a crossroads in his faith. Even though he had been a Quaker for almost two decades and put his trust in […]

Dalai Lama Cautiously Welcomes China’s Offer for Talks with His Emissary

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 26, 2008 DHARMSALA, India – The Dalai Lama welcomed China’s offer to meet his envoy but said the two sides needed a meaningful discussion about how to resolve the problems that triggered riots in the Tibetan […]

Rev. Wright Again in Center of Dem. Contest

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 28, 2008 WASHINGTON – As Democratic front-runner Barack Obama sought to diminish race as a “determining factor” in the 2008 presidential contest, his former pastor said on Monday that the heated controversy over some of his […]

Reunited Russian Orthodox to Celebrate Joint Easter

posted by nsymmonds

By Nicole Neroulias 2008 Religion News Service NEW YORK — A child of Soviet refugees, the Rev. Andrei Sommer never thought his breakaway church would ever break bread with the Russian Orthodox Christians who remained faithful to Orthodox leaders in […]

Top UCC Leaders Defend Obama’s Church

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke Religion News Service (RNS) Top leaders of the United Church of Christ are supporting Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, which has been under fire for sermons delivered there by Sen. Barack Obama’s former pastor. The Rev. […]

Descendants of Mormon Leader ID Burial Site, Find No Remains

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 23, 2008 RUDY, Ark. – Descendants of an early Mormon leader who was killed in Arkansas 151 years ago say archaeologists found no “identifiable human remains” when they dug up his grave in an attempt to […]

United Methodists Expect Debate Over Homosexuality

posted by nsymmonds

The Dallas Morning News – April 22, 2008 DALLAS – For more than 30 years, the United Methodist Church has been trying to show that a denomination divided against itself on homosexuality can still stand. The latest test begins Wednesday […]

Kenneth Copeland Seeks IRS Review

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) One of the ministries that has refused to cooperate fully with a financial investigation by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has invited the Internal Revenue Service to conduct an inquiry of its […]

S.C. Governor Considers Abortion Bill

posted by nsymmonds

Tulsa World – April 18, 2008 COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A bill awaiting the South Carolina governor’s signature would require abortion providers to ask women whether they want to see ultrasound images of their fetuses before the procedure. As part […]

Dalai Lama Urges Environmental Protection

posted by nsymmonds

By Geoff Larcom and Jo Mathis Religion News Service ANN ARBOR, Mich. (RNS) He takes showers rather than baths, and he turns out the lights when he leaves the room. Those are small examples of how each of us can […]

Benedict Praised as Candid, But Visit’s Impact Unclear

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 21, 2008 NEW YORK – Pope Benedict XVI’s U.S. visit left behind the impression of a compassionate and candid leader who has made a successful transition from professor to pope. But it’s uncertain whether the pontiff’s […]

Some Jews Feel Pinch of Rising Passover Prices

posted by nsymmonds

By Jonathan Rubin 2008 Religion News Service Passover is a time of celebration for Jews, but this year an old foe — expensive Passover prices — is putting a damper on the festivities for some Jewish families. Rising corn and […]

Obama Reassures Jewish Leaders on Hamas, Wright

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 16, 2008 PHILADELPHIA – Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday criticized former President Jimmy Carter for meeting with leaders of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas as he tried to reassure Jewish voters that his candidacy isn’t a […]

Bush Welcomes Pope and Says US is Open to His Message

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 16, 2008 WASHINGTON – An enthralled South Lawn crowd of more than 9,000 sang “Happy Birthday” to Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday – twice – and President Bush said that the first papal White House visit […]

Papal Visit Provokes Array of Protests

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 14, 2008 NEW YORK – Pope Benedict XVI may not see them or hear them, but aggrieved Roman Catholic activists hope his U.S. visit this week will help them draw attention to issues ranging from the […]

Clinton, Obama Focus on Faith at Forum

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 14, 2008 GRANTHAM, Pa. – Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that the potential for life begins at conception as she and presidential rival Sen. Barack Obama answered questions about faith and religion in both […]

Dalai Lama Fears More Chinese Force

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 13, 2008 SEATTLE – The Dalai Lama said Sunday that Tibet cannot make any more concessions to China and called for a reduction of Chinese aggression in his former homeland. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader denied […]

Envoy: Pope’s UN Speech Can’t Address All Issues

posted by nsymmonds

Newsday, Melville, N.Y. – April 11, 2008 Apr. 11–Pedophile priests, Darfur, Iraq, global warming, poverty and a decline in the number of Catholics in the United States are all burning issues Pope Benedict XVI could address during his visit to […]

Poll Says Bible is America’s Favorite Book

posted by nsymmonds

By Brittani Hamm Religion News Service (RNS) The Bible is the favorite book of all time for American adults, regardless of demographic group, according to a new 2008 Harris Interactive Poll. Researchers said it’s rare to find such consensus among […]

Evangelical Leaders Endorse Race ‘Reconciliation Referendum’

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks Religion News Service (RNS) Several prominent evangelical leaders have endorsed “A Reconciliation Referendum” that says Sen. Barack Obama’s recent address on race did not go far enough, and pushes church leaders to speak up more about […]

US Evangelicals March Through Jerusalem

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 7, 2008 JERUSALEM – American televangelist John Hagee led several hundred flag-waving followers across Jerusalem on Monday, a colorful display of the growing alliance between Christian evangelicals and Israel. Hagee, who calls himself a Christian Zionist, […]

Authorities Get Little Information from Children Taken from Texas Polygamist Compound

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 7, 2008 SAN ANGELO, Texas – Authorities struggled Monday to persuade children to give them any information about the goings-on inside a breakaway Mormon compound in west Texas built by a jailed polygamist leader. Investigating a […]

Forgot to Pack Your Bhagavad Gita? Nashville Hotel Has You Covered

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) At one hotel in Nashville, Tenn., when you feel like a bit of religious reading before bedtime, you’ll have more than a Gideon Bible to choose from. The Hotel Preston recently […]

Civil War-Era Law Pertains to Episcopal Dispute, Judge Rules

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks Religion News Service (RNS) A Virginia court has ruled that a Civil War-era law applies to a property dispute between the state’s Episcopal diocese and 11 congregations that have seceded from it. The statute in question, […]

Vatican Responds to Jewish Concerns Over Prayers for Conversion

posted by nsymmonds

By Francis X. Rocca Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) A new prayer for the conversion of the Jews reflects no change in the Catholic Church’s commitment to “reconciliation” with the Jewish people, the Vatican said Friday (April 4), seeking […]

Ministry Launches ‘Adopt a Terrorist’ Prayer Campaign

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks Religion News Service (RNS) An Army Reserve chaplain has decided to do his individual part in the war on terror: He’s co-founded an Internet ministry to pray for terrorists. “Adopt a Terrorist for Prayer” was launched […]

Study: Theology Impacts Protestant Bank accounts

posted by nsymmonds

By Britanni Hamm 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Lisa Keister has scanned the Bible and found nearly 2,000 verses in the New Testament that touch on the topic of money. It’s those very verses that may be keeping many conservative […]

Parents Plead Not Guilty in Daughter’s Death

posted by nsymmonds

By Jessica Bruder Religion News Service OREGON CITY, Ore. — A couple who tried to heal their dying daughter with prayer walked hand in hand into a crowded courtroom Monday and pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and criminal […]

John Paul II Had ‘Supernatural Qualities’

posted by nsymmonds

United Press International – April 2, 2008 VATICAN CITY, Apr 2, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) — Speculation regarding the sainthood of the Pope John Paul II escalated Wednesday as Pope Benedict XVI attributed the late pontiff with “supernatural qualities.” Eulogizing […]

Turner, Churches Work to Fight Malaria

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – April 1, 2008 NEW YORK – Ted Turner formed a $200 million partnership Tuesday with Lutherans and Methodists to fight malaria, apologizing for his past criticism of religion as he announced the effort. Turner, 69, said he […]

Court Agrees to Take Religious Group’s Free Speech Case

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 31, 2008 WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has agreed to consider a free speech case in which a church wants to place a religious monument in a park. Officials in Pleasant Grove City, Utah, asked the […]

MLK’s Generation of Pastors Makes Way for New Vision

posted by nsymmonds

By Greg Garrison and Val Walton 2008 Religion News Service BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — They were pastors and civil rights leaders who broke the back of unjust segregation laws and set in motion the transformation of America into a more racially […]

Report on John Paul II Sainthood Ready

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 31, 2008 VATICAN CITY – The church official spearheading the cause to make Pope John Paul II a saint said Monday he has finished a roughly 2,000-page draft of a report supporting the late pontiff’s canonization. […]

Archaeologists Start Stonehenge Dig

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 31, 2008 LONDON – Some of England’s most sacred soil was disturbed Monday for the first time in more than four decades as archaeologists worked to solve the enduring riddle of Stonehenge: When and why was […]

Muslims More Numerous Than Catholics

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 30, 2008 VATICAN CITY – Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world’s largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday. “For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken […]

Factory Delay Means No Matzo Crackers for Passover

posted by nsymmonds

By Beth Fitzgerald Religion News Service NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) When Passover begins on April 19 and Jewish families gather for the traditional seder meal, they can expect this question: “What happened to the Tam Tams?” The bite-sized matzo crackers are […]

Muslim World Denounces Dutch Film Portraying Islam as Time Bomb

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 28, 2008 AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – A Dutch legislator’s film that portrays Islam as a ticking time bomb aimed at Western democracy prompted denunciations from Muslim capitals and street protests in Pakistan, but a restrained reaction from […]

Obama’s Ex-Pastor Cancels Speeches

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 26, 2008 DALLAS – The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, presidential candidate Barack Obama’s controversial former pastor, canceled plans Wednesday to receive an award at a summit on black churches. The Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth announced […]

Bush Tells China Leader of Tibet Concern

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 26, 2008 WASHINGTON – President Bush called China’s President Hu Jintao on Wednesday and raised concerns about the crackdown in Tibet, joining a growing chorus of international protests about Beijing’s tough tactics. The White House said […]

Figuring Out Pennsylvania Catholic Vote Critical for Clinton, Obama

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 26, 2008 SCRANTON, Pennsylvania – Understanding Pennsylvania’s rich Catholic tradition and responding to it is an article of faith for Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama as the April 22 primary looms in the still […]

US Death Toll in Iraq War Hits Grim Milestone

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 23, 2008 BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on Sunday, the military said, pushing the overall American death toll in the five-year war to at least 4,000. The grim milestone came […]

Court Allows Inmates to Get Abortions

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 24, 2008 WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from a county sheriff who objects to transporting jail inmates for elective abortions. An Arizona sheriff wanted the justices to allow him to enforce […]

Rice Urges China Talks With Dalai Lama

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 24, 2008 WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday urged China to consider a new policy to address Tibetans’ grievances and to start talks with the Dalai Lama. A Chinese dialogue with the […]

Message of Obama’s Provocative Pastor was Forged in the Civil Rights Movement

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 18, 2008 DENVER – The provocative sermons of Barack Obama’s pastor come out of a tradition of using the black church to challenge its members and confront what preachers view as a racist society. Yet while […]

Ill. High Court Considers Pharmacy Rules About Contraception

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 18, 2008 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A group of pharmacists asked the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday to throw out a rule that forces them to dispense emergency contraception despite moral objections, claiming it amounts to illegal […]

In New Delhi, Tibet’s Parliament in Exile Protest Chinese Crackdown

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 19, 2008 DHARMSALA, India – The Dalai Lama asked Tibetan activists to end their confrontational march to Tibet on Wednesday while exiles pressed ahead with peaceful protests in northern India and New Delhi. The Tibetan spiritual […]

Some Jews ‘Uneasy’ with High-Profile Christian Allies

posted by nsymmonds

By Omar Sacirbey c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) In recent years, conservative Christians have emerged as some of the most vocal supporters of the state of Israel — support that many Jewish groups have welcomed at a time when […]

China Vows to Protect Territorial Right Over Tibet as Deadline for Surrender, Leniency Passes

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 17, 2008 BEIJING – China said Monday it would fight to protect its territorial right over Tibet as a deadline for anti-Chinese protesters to turn themselves in and receive leniency passed with no apparent surrenders or […]

Pope Celebrates Memorial Mass for Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Found Dead in Iraq

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 17, 2008 VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI urged Iraqi Christians on Monday to find the strength to keep working for a peaceful future after the death of the kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul. Benedict […]

Obama Pastor’s Fiery Sermons Part of Long Prophetic Tradition

posted by nsymmonds

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2008 Religion News Service WASHINGTON — The outgoing pastor of Sen. Barack Obama’s black megachurch in Chicago has come under fire for sermons that some have called racist, offensive, even dangerous. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright […]

New Book Presents Testimony from Archives of John Paul II’s Beatification Process

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 14, 2008 WARSAW, Poland – A new book released Friday presents testimony from the archives of the late Pope John Paul II’s beatification process, offering a look into how the Polish-born pontiff touched the lives of […]

Protests Turn Violent in Tibetan Capital

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 14, 2008 BEIJING – Protests led by Buddhist monks against Chinese rule in Tibet turned violent Friday, with shops and vehicles torched and gunshots echoing through the streets of the ancient capital, Lhasa. A radio report […]

David Lynch to Fund TM Scholarships

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 14, 2008 DES MOINES, Iowa – David Lynch says his nonprofit foundation will donate $1 million to fund scholarships for students who want to learn a meditation technique taught at the Maharishi University of Management. Lynch, […]

Indiana Voters Send Second Muslim to Congress

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Indianapolis voters on Tuesday (March 11) choose Andre Carson to fill a seat vacated by his late grandmother, making him the second Muslim ever elected to serve in Congress. Like Rep. Keith […]

Palestinians Start Own ‘Birthright’ Program

posted by nsymmonds

By Michele Chabin Religion News Service JERUSALEM (RNS) After seeing how successful Birthright Israel has been in acquainting young Diaspora Jews with Israel and Judaism, a Palestinian group has established Birthright Palestine to help youths of Palestinian descent connect with […]

Polish Priest Wins 2008 Templeton Prize

posted by nsymmonds

By Chris Herlinger c. 2008 Religion News Service NEW YORK — Michael (Michal) Heller, a Polish cosmologist and Roman Catholic priest whose commitment to combining the insights of science and religion stretches back to his youth in war-torn Europe, has […]

NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s Statement

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 10, 2008 Here is the transcript of a statement delivered in New York City on Monday by Gov. Eliot Spitzer following reports linking him to a prostitution ring: — “Good afternoon. “For the past nine years, […]

Missionaries Suspects in Shrine Attack

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 10, 2008 SAN LUIS, Colo. – Photos posted on the Internet showed three Mormon missionaries mocking a Catholic shrine and holding the broken head of a statue of a saint there, a church official said. Costilla […]

Black Pastor in US Fights White Supremacist Store in Building He Claims to Own

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 10, 2008 LAURENS, South Carolina – A black civil rights activist in South Carolina is fighting to close a store that sells Ku Klux Klan robes and T-shirts emblazoned with racial slurs. David Kennedy is confident […]

Vatican Lists New Sinful Behavior

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 10, 2008 VATICAN CITY – A Vatican official has listed drugs, pollution, genetic manipulation and social and economic injustices as new areas of sinful behavior. Sins increasingly manifest themselves as behavior that damages society as a […]

Ark. Diocese Apologizes to Komen Group

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 7, 2008 LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The leader of Little Rock’s Roman Catholic diocese apologized to a national breast cancer organization, saying he made a mistake when he said donations to the group could help fund […]

Israeli Official: Peace Talks Will Go on Despite Jerusalem Attack

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 7, 2008 GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israel on Friday signaled a willingness to move ahead with peace talks despite a deadly attack on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem. But a U.S.-backed Egyptian initiative for a […]

Catholic Bishops Say Sex Abuse Costs Skyrocketed, While Claims Decreased in 2007

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 7, 2008 NEW YORK – The number of sex abuse claims against Roman Catholic clergy dropped for the third consecutive year, but total payouts to victims nearly doubled to reach their highest level ever, according to […]

Huckabee May Be New Face of Religious Right

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks 2008 Religion News Service WASHINGTON — With the race for the Republican presidential nomination now behind him, former candidate Mike Huckabee has many possibilities ahead: Potential vice president to John McCain? GOP adviser? Another run for […]

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks Back On

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 5, 2008 JERUSALEM – Visiting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice persuaded Palestinians to return to peace talks with Israel Wednesday after a brief suspension over a deadly offensive against Gaza militants barraging southern Israel with rockets. […]

Americans Nabbed in Child Porn Ring

posted by nsymmonds

United Press International – March 5, 2008 WASHINGTON, Mar 5, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) — Investigators infiltrated a technologically advanced child pornography ring that resulted in the arrest of 14 U.S. citizens, justice officials said. Officials with the FBI and […]

Encyclopedia Examines Love’s Religious Roots

posted by nsymmonds

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News – March 2, 2008 Mar. 2–Encyclopedia of Love. The title alone sounds like an author’s hot ticket to Oprah or The View. But the new, illustrated reference book, edited by Rollins College professor Yudit Kornberg Greenberg, […]

Study Says Darwin was Wrong About Chickens

posted by nsymmonds

United Press International – February 29, 2008 SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 29, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) — A research team in Sweden said Charles Darwin was wrong about the genetic basis for the yellow skin of some chickens. Greger Larson, a […]

Hagee Endorsement of McCain Has Risks

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – March 3, 2008 SEDONA, Ariz. – Endorsed by an influential Texas televangelist, Republican John McCain endeared himself to one group of voters but risked alienating another with the pastor’s anti-Catholic views. The controversy has been mild so […]

Chaldean Archbishop Kidnapped in Iraq

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 29, 2008 BAGHDAD – Gunmen kidnapped a Chaldean Catholic archbishop Friday in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, police and the church said, in another attack targeting Iraq’s small Christian community. The gunmen killed three people […]

Prominent Muslim Seminary Condemns Terrorism

posted by nsymmonds

By Achal Narayanan Religion News Service CHENNAI, India (RNS) An influential group of Muslim theologians at a prominent Islamic seminary in northern India have denounced terrorism, saying it is goes against the teachings of Islam. The denouncement came during the […]

United Methodists Join Anti-Torture Campaign

posted by nsymmonds

By Brittani Hamm Religion News Service WASHINGTON — The United Methodist Church’s social policy office is circulating a petition that tells President Bush, a fellow church member, that torture is immoral and ineffective. The petition cites the Methodists’ Book of […]

Report: Railway Hasn’t Helped Tibetans

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 27, 2008 BEIJING – China’s railway to Tibet is allowing the government to exploit the region’s natural resources while threatening its Buddhist culture and traditional way of life, an activist group said Thursday. The Washington-based International […]

Thousands Protest Cartoon of Muhammad

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 27, 2008 KHARTOUM, Sudan – President Omar al-Bashir vowed on Wednesday to ban Danes from Sudan and called on the Muslim world to boycott Denmark as tens of thousands of Sudanese chanted slogans denouncing the country […]

Raul Castro Meets with Vatican Official

posted by nsymmonds

Efe – February 27, 2008 Havana, Feb 27, 2008 (EFE via COMTEX) — Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone became the first foreign dignitary to be received by Cuba’s new president, Raul Castro. Bertone and Castro “examined the development […]

Study Finds Americans Fluid in Their Religious Affiliation

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) If you’re Buddhist in the United States, you’re most likely a white convert who lives in the American West. If you’re a Jehovah’s Witness, you’re likely to be a white Southerner, […]

Hindus Thrive as Buddhists Struggle to Pass on the Faith

posted by nsymmonds

By Andrea Useem 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) In a study that highlights the fluidity of religious affiliation in America today, Hindus stand out as the group with the most stable religious identity, while Buddhists struggle hardest to pass the […]

California McDonald’s Aims to Boost Sales with Feng Shui

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 25, 2008 HACIENDA HEIGHTS, California – The only familiar signs at the McDonald’s in this large Asian community are the golden arches, the drive-through and the menu. Gone are the plastic furniture, Ronald McDonald and the […]

Blacks and Whites Merge to Forge New Future

posted by nsymmonds

By Bruce Nolan c. 2008 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS — These old walls have never heard music like this. On Sundays, when morning light fills the vaulted space of the former First United Methodist Church on Canal Street, drummer […]

Christian Leaders Consider ‘Creation Care’

posted by nsymmonds

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News – February 21, 2008 Calling climate change “the civil rights movement of the 21st century,” evangelical Christian leaders gathered at a daylong environmental conference in Longwood, Fla., Thursday. Global warming is “an offense against God,” added […]

Pope Urges Jesuits to Commit to Orthodoxy

posted by nsymmonds

By Francis X. Rocca Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) For the second time in two months, Pope Benedict XVI urged leaders of the Catholic Church’s largest religious order to affirm their commitment to orthodoxy in several controversial areas, including […]

Presbyterian High Court Bars Noncelibate Gay Clergy

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke Religion News Service (RNS) The high court of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has issued a landmark decision that unequivocally bars noncelibate gay and lesbian clergy and halts recent attempts to compromise on ordination standards. Ministerial candidates in […]

Report: Vatican Official Says Future Pope Trip to Cuba is Possible

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 19, 2008 VATICAN CITY – The Vatican’s No. 2 official, on the eve of a trip to Cuba, held out the possibility of a future visit there by Pope Benedict XVI, according to an interview published […]

Voters in Pakistan’s Conservative Northwest Throw out Religious Hard-liners

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 20, 2008 PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Fed up with violence and broken promises, voters in Pakistan’s deeply conservative northwest have thrown out the Islamist parties that ruled this province for five years – a clear sign that […]

Lourdes Anniversary Ushers in Comeback in Devotions

posted by nsymmonds

By David Briggs c. 2008 Religion News Service EUCLID, Ohio — Hundreds of worshippers pack every seat in the chapel of the National Shrine and Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. As the rosary is recited, some kneel in front […]

Conservatives Angry at Changes in AIDS Funding

posted by nsymmonds

By Matthew Streib c. 2008 Religion News Service WASHINGTON — Religious anti-abortion groups are angry over proposed changes in the Bush administration’s global AIDS relief program, which has reportedly provided lifesaving medicine to 1.4 million people worldwide. “The way the […]

Billy Graham Recovering After Surgery

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 14, 2008 ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Evangelist Billy Graham was recovering Thursday from a surgery to update a shunt that controls excess fluid in his brain, a family spokesman said. The 89-year-old Southern Baptist minister was expected […]

Pope Benedict XVI Puts Sister Lucia on Fast Track to Possible Sainthood

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 13, 2008 VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has put Sister Lucia – the last of three shepherd children who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary during 1917 apparitions in Fatima – on a fast-track […]

Artists Present an Uncensored View of Mormon History

posted by nsymmonds

By Menachem Wecker c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Like many religious institutions, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) has commissioned countless works of art to educate believers and non-believers about its history and doctrines. Now, […]

Danish Newspapers Reprint Controversial Prophet Muhammad Cartoon

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 13, 2008 COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Leading Danish newspapers reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a gesture of solidarity Wednesday after police revealed a plot to kill the creator of the caricature that sparked deadly riots […]

Lourdes Celebrates 150th Anniversary of Virgin Mary Vision

posted by nsymmonds

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) – February 11, 2008 Paris (dpa) – More than 50,000 Catholic pilgrims took part in a Mass on Monday at the Catholic shrine in the southern French city of Lourdes to celebrated the 150th anniversary of the […]

Abortion Foes Put Grand Jury on Case

posted by nsymmonds

Chicago Tribune – February 12, 2008 (MCT) WICHITA, Kan. – The latest skirmish in the abortion wars is being fought, not on the sidewalk outside a clinic, but in the ornate jury room of a 19th Century courthouse. Kansas is […]

Jews Worried Again as Methodists Mull Divestment Plan

posted by nsymmonds

By Rachel Pomerance 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The United Methodist Church is poised to become the next U.S. church to consider divesting from Israel, a topic so controversial that it prompted the Presbyterian Church (USA) to backpedal on its […]

Gary Bauer Endorses McCain

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 11, 2008 ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Republican John McCain challenged the notion he is struggling to rally conservative critics as he picked up the endorsement Monday of evangelical leader Gary Bauer. “We’re doing fine. We’re doing fine,” […]

Calif. Rep. Tom Lantos Dies

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 11, 2008 WASHINGTON – Rep. Tom Lantos, who as a teenager twice escaped from a Nazi-run forced labor camp in Hungary and became the only Holocaust survivor to win a seat in Congress, has died. He […]

Gay Mormons Seek Meeting With New Leader

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 10, 2008 SALT LAKE CITY – A group of gay Mormons is seeking an unprecedented meeting with the new church president and his counselors, hoping to begin a conversation and find ways to address the concerns […]

Court: Neb. Electric Chair Not Legal

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 8, 2008 LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday that electrocution is cruel and unusual punishment, outlawing the electric chair in the only state that still used it as its sole means of execution. […]

Archbishop in Storm of Protest Over Sharia Remark

posted by nsymmonds

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) – February 8, 2008 London (dpa) – A call by the Archbishop of Canterbury to introduce elements of Islamic sharia law in Britain continued to come in for furious criticism Friday, with one former government minister describing […]

Creation Museum Founder Says Evolution Fuels Racism

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 8, 2008 LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The founder of a popular Kentucky Christian museum that rejects evolution says in a new book that Darwin’s theory fuels racism and genocide. Ken Ham, who opened the Creation Museum last […]

Local Buddhists Greet New Year with Ancient Spiritual Traditions

posted by nsymmonds

The Wichita Eagle, Kan. – February 7, 2008 Feb. 7–Before the colorful Dragon Dance, the passing out of “lucky money” and the shooting of fireworks in celebration of the lunar new year, members of the Phap Hoa Temple gathered in […]

Muslims Say Obama’s Denials Come Up Short

posted by nsymmonds

By Omar Sacirbey 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Muslim Americans and political observers heralded the 2006 elections as a sort of debutante’s ball for the Muslim voter, when anger and organizational heft pushed unprecedented numbers of Muslim citizens to vote […]

Romney, in Ending Candidacy, Takes Shot at Europe and France

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 7, 2008 WASHINGTON – Republican Mitt Romney, in a speech Thursday ending his presidential candidacy, said Europe faces “demographic disaster” because of moral and religious failings, and warned that United States should not become “the France […]

Beatles Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Dies

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 6, 2008 THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a guru to the Beatles who introduced the West to transcendental meditation, died Tuesday at his home in the Dutch town of Vlodrop, a spokesman said. He […]

Critics Unsatisfied After Pope Tweaks Prayer for Jews

posted by nsymmonds

By Francis X. Rocca 2008 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY — With his decision last July to liberalize use of the Old Latin Mass, Pope Benedict XVI sought to appease traditionalists disaffected by recent changes to Catholic worship. But in […]

Evangelicals Still in Flux After Super Tuesday

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks 2008 Religion News Service WASHINGTON — The day after Super Tuesday, when so much was supposed to become so clear, evangelicals are as divided — and sought after — as they were the day before. “There […]

Chicago’s New Episcopal Bishop, National Leader Speak Up for Gay Clergy

posted by nsymmonds

Chicago Tribune – February 4, 2008 Feb. 4–Chicago’s new Episcopal bishop and the church’s national leader sent a clear message Sunday about where they stand on gay clergy, a smoldering issue that threatens to tear apart the denomination. Wrapping up […]

Monson Named New Mormon Church President

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 4, 2008 SALT LAKE CITY – Thomas S. Monson, a leader who became known for his folksy storytelling as he ascended through church ranks, was introduced Monday as the 16th president of The Church of Jesus […]

Clinton Closes Baptist Meeting with Renewed Push for Unity

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks 2008 Religion News Service ATLANTA — Former President Bill Clinton closed out an historic meeting of Baptists Friday (Feb. 1) with a call to redouble efforts to help the poor and a renewed push to heal […]

Beatles’ Maharishi Retreats Into Silence

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 29, 2008 THE HAGUE, Netherlands – It was 1967 and the Indian meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, dressed in white with long flowing black hair and a gray beard, beamed as he stood surrounded by four […]

Denmark’s National Library to Archive Original Prophet Muhammad Cartoons

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 30, 2008 COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Denmark’s National Library plans to archive the original Prophet Muhammad caricatures that sparked violent protests across the Islamic world two years ago, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. Despite objections from some Muslim […]

Presbyterians Test New Rules on Gay Clergy

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke Religion News Service (RNS) Minnesota Presbyterians have voted to restore the ordination of an openly gay man who has refused to pledge celibacy, the latest test of revamped pastoral guidelines in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Paul Capetz, […]

Economy Trumps Evangelicals in GOP Race

posted by nsymmonds

United Press International – January 28, 2008 MIAMI, Jan 28, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) — The economy overshadows other conservative social issues in the Republican U.S. presidential campaign as religion fades from prevalence, pollsters say. The evangelical base makes up […]

New Head of Jesuits Meets with Pope at Vatican

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 26, 2008 ROME – The new leader of the Jesuits met Saturday with Pope Benedict XVI and told him the religious order would study the pontiff’s invitation to confirm their “total” adhesion to Catholic teaching, including […]

Mormon Church President Mourned in Utah

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 28, 2008 SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s leaders and believers mourned the death of Gordon B. Hinckley, the humble head of the Mormon church who added millions of new members and labored long to burnish the […]

Archbishop, Saint Louis Basketball Coach Trade Barbs Over Abortion Rights

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 24, 2008 ST. LOUIS – A Roman Catholic archbishop’s call this week for Saint Louis University to discipline its popular basketball coach for publicly supporting abortion rights has put the Jesuit school in a bind. If […]

Religious Leaders Urge Bush to Redeem ‘Shameful’ Legacy

posted by nsymmonds

By Matthew Streib Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Catholic and evangelical social justice leaders on Thursday (Jan. 24) urged President Bush to use his upcoming State of the Union address to turn around what they called his faltering moral legacy. […]

Creationists Launch Scientific Journal

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke Religion News Service (RNS) Answers in Genesis, the Christian ministry that founded the $27 million Creation Museum in Kentucky last year, has now launched an online technical journal to publish studies consistent with its biblical views. The […]

Holocaust Museum Founder Lerman Dies

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 23, 2008 PHILADELPHIA – Miles Lerman, who fought against the Nazis in Poland and later helped found the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., has died. He was 88. Lerman’s wife, Rosalie, confirmed Wednesday that […]

LA Archdiocese Offices Sold for $31M

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 22, 2008 LOS ANGELES – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has sold its 12-story administrative headquarters building to help pay last year’s $660 million settlement with people alleging sex abuse by clergy, a spokesman […]

Truck Hijackings Imperil Darfur Food Aid

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 23, 2008 KHARTOUM, Sudan – A surge of truck hijackings threatens to cut off food rations for more than 2 million people in Darfur, the World Food Program said Wednesday, after 22 of its vehicles were […]

Museum Provides Detail From Nazi Archive

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 18, 2008 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is offering to help survivors and their families navigate a vast Nazi archive that promises to document their persecution and provide clues to the fate of loved […]

Episcopal Bishop Keeps Her Cool in the Hot Seat

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) For a woman sitting on a very warm seat, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, seems remarkably cool. Even those who disagree with her progressive leadership agree that […]

Financial Strain a Factor in Abortions

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 18, 2008 NEW YORK – In American pop culture, the face of abortion is often a frightened teenager, nervously choosing to terminate an unexpected pregnancy. The numbers tell a far more complex story in which financial […]

Jews Denounce Muslim Rumors Aimed at Obama

posted by nsymmonds

By Matthew Streib Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Several Jewish leaders have come to the defense of presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama against rumors that he secretly espouses radical Muslim beliefs. In a joint letter, leaders of nine Jewish groups […]

Presbyterians Vote on Lesbian Clergy

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 16, 2008 RICHMOND, Calif. – A Presbyterian deacon who has twice been denied ordination because of her sexual orientation can move forward with her bid to join the clergy. The regional body of the Presbyterian Church […]

Some Worry Habitat for Humanity Dispute Might Stall Katrina Recovery

posted by nsymmonds

By Bruce Nolan 2008 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS — A months-long effort by Habitat for Humanity International to retool relations with its 1,600 local affiliates has raised concerns in Habitat’s productive operation here, where volunteers have built more than […]

New Louisiana Governor’s Conversion Reflects Fluid Nature of Hinduism

posted by nsymmonds

By Robert Travis Scott 2008 Religion News Service CHANDIGARH, India — When Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal converted to Catholicism during high school and college, he took a momentous step away from his inherited faith of Hinduism, the prevalent religion of […]

Spiritual Growth Nurtured Within

posted by nsymmonds

USA Today – January 14, 2008 Two weeks into the New Year, life in the USA is largely back to normal. That means time is scarce, stress is high and an ordinary day — filled with chatter and other noise […]

UCC Head Denounces Political “Attacks” on Obama’s Church

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke 2008 Religion News Service (RNS) Efforts to portray Sen. Barack Obama’s Chicago church as racist and anti-American are “absurd, mean-spirited and politically motivated,” said the Rev. John Thomas, head of the United Church of Christ. Thomas, the […]

Bush: US Should Have Bombed Auschwitz

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 11, 2008 JERUSALEM – President Bush had tears in his eyes during an hour-long tour of Israel’s Holocaust memorial Friday and told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the U.S. should have bombed Auschwitz to halt […]

Chances of Pope-Patriarch Meeting Gain

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 10, 2008 BERLIN – Chances of a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the Russian Patriarch Alexy II at a neutral location are improving, a top official in the Russian Orthodox Church was quoted as telling […]

N.J. Rejects Request to Close Probe Into Civil Unions Flap

posted by nsymmonds

By Robert Schwaneberg Religion News Service (RNS) New Jersey officials have refused to end an investigation of whether a Methodist group in Ocean Grove violated the rights of two lesbian couples by rejecting their applications to rent a seaside pavilion […]

Police Say Church Fires Set by Pair of Satanists

posted by nsymmonds

By Tom Gordon and Stan Diel Religion News Service LADONIA, Ala. (RNS) An intruder did more than torch the pulpit and scorch the sanctuary ceiling at Woodland Baptist Church on Friday (Jan.4). He scattered frozen treats, pickles and popcorn kernels, […]

Grassley Says Two of Six Ministries Not Cooperating

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Bank 2008 Religion News Service WASHINGTON — Two of the six ministries with finances under investigation by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, have been unwilling to cooperate, citing privacy rights and questioning Grassley’s focus on groups that preach […]

Scientists Call Evolution and Faith Compatible, but Separate

posted by nsymmonds

By Daniel Burke 2008 Religion News Service (RNS) A top panel of U.S. scientists has published a new book asserting that belief in the theory of evolution and religious faith “can be fully compatible,” and that creationism has no place […]

Supreme Court Divided Over Death Penalty Case

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 7, 2008 WASHINGTON – Supreme Court justices indicated Monday they are deeply divided over a challenge to the way most states execute prisoners by lethal injection, which critics say creates an avoidable risk of excruciating pain. […]

Court Upholds Texas Moment of Silence

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 4, 2008 AUSTIN, Texas – Texas schoolchildren will continue to pray or meditate during a daily minute of silence after a federal court threw out a challenge to the state law. The ruling issued Thursday stems […]

Pope Asks for Prayers for Abusive Clergy

posted by nsymmonds

United Press International – January 7, 2008 VATICAN CITY, Jan 7, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) — Pope Benedict XVI spoke at the Vatican calling for daily prayer to rid the Catholic Church of “grave situations” involving the sexual activity of […]

Iowa Offers Lessons

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 4, 2008 DES MOINES, Iowa – After all the campaigns’ sophisticated media tactics and high-tech maneuvering, Iowa voters offered the presidential candidates a version of Politics 101: In this state, stick to the basics. “This couldn’t […]

Importance of Teaching Evolution Noted

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 4, 2008 WASHINGTON – Scientific advisers to the government emphasize in a report the importance of teaching evolution in public schools. The report by the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine follows up […]

Christmas Star Gets Its Due on Epiphany

posted by nsymmonds

By Kim Lawton c. 2008 Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly (UNDATED) Christmas, despite what the calendar says, isn’t over. And the star — “star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright” — that shone over Bethlehem won’t go […]

N.H. Rings in New Year with Civil Unions

posted by nsymmonds

United Press International – January 1, 2008 CONCORD, N.H., Jan 1, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) — Twenty-three New Hampshire gay couples became the first in the state to be united in civil union ceremonies just after midnight Tuesday. The couples […]

Episcopal Leader Defends Gay Bishops

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 1, 2008 LONDON – Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says her church has been unfairly singled out for criticism because it is honest about consecrating gay bishops. Jefferts Schori told BBC Radio 4’s “PM” program […]

Vatican: “Historic” Meeting Planned for Spring Between Catholic-Muslim Representatives

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – January 2, 2008 VATICAN CITY – Catholic and Muslim representatives plan to meet in Rome in the spring to start a “historic” dialogue between the faiths after relations were soured by Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 comments about […]

U.N. Looks to Faith Community to Combat Global Warming

posted by nsymmonds

By Kat Glass Religion News Service (RNS) The United Nations is looking to partnerships with the faith community to spearhead the drive against global warming. The U.N. recently linked with the Bath, U.K.-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), pouring […]

Huckabee Counts on Pastors for Iowa Help

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – December 19, 2007 DES MOINES, Iowa – Republican Mike Huckabee, the former Baptist preacher, is depending on more than a leap of faith to win the Iowa caucuses. Leading in polls, Huckabee is determined to make up […]

Book Looks to Bring Eid al-Adha to the Mainstream

posted by nsymmonds

By Tom Feran 2007 Religion News Service CLEVELAND — The biggest holiday of the Muslim year, Eid al-Adha, begins on Dec. 19 (Wednesday) this year. Its proximity to Christmas happens only once every three decades because Muslims use a lunar […]

Some Churches Conflicted Over Kwanzaa

posted by nsymmonds

By Adelle M. Banks Religion News Service (UNDATED) Come each December, high atop the choir loft of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas sit the traditional three purple and one pink Advent candles for several Sundays. But as […]

Dems Lose Fight on Family Planning Aid

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – December 17, 2007 WASHINGTON – Unable to override a promised veto, Democrats have backed down on their insistence that the 2008 foreign aid budget reverse President Bush’s ban on providing aid to family planning groups abroad that […]

Hajj Gets Under Way in Saudi Arabia

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press MECCA, Saudi Arabia – Millions of Muslims from around the world gathered in Mecca Sunday for the start of the annual Islamic hajj pilgrimage, as the Saudi Interior Ministry announced tough security precautions. Men and women draped in […]

Death Penalty Foes Rejoice After NJ Vote

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – December 14, 2007 TRENTON, N.J. – With New Jersey poised to become the first state in four decades to abolish the death penalty, opponents of the practice declared a historic victory and hoped other states would follow […]

Archbishop: No Change Over Gay Bishop

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – December 14, 2007 LONDON – The archbishop of Canterbury said Friday he will not reverse his decision to exclude a gay U.S. bishop from joining other bishops at a global Anglican gathering next year. Archbishop Rowan Williams’ […]

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