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Billy Graham: I know where I’m going

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“Daddy thinks the Lord will allow him to live to 95,” said Franklin Graham recently. It was not a prophecy but a hope, Franklin explained, that he would live to see the beginning of a Christian renewal, a genuine heaven-sent […]


Egypt’s Christians weep as rioters target their churches, homes, businesses … and children

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Christian nuns are paraded through the streets like prisoners of war. Scores of churches and Christian schools smolder in vandalized ruins. Christian children are being gunned down on the street. “The words are heavy to put together this morning,” writes an […]


Focus on the Family’s President Says It’s Time to “Refocus”

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 It’s tough out there in the culture wars and Jim Daly has the battle scars to prove it. But does the top executive of Focus on the Family believe he can ever successfully declare a truce with forces that seem […]


Who should be allowed to pray for Obama?

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It seems preposterous, but there’s a major debate over who is worthy to invoke the presence and blessing of the Almighty on the leaders of this land we love! So, who is qualified to pray for the President of the […]

ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour: Not your ordinary Christmases

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Christmas has unique memories for international journalist Christiane Amanpour, the ABC News Global Affairs Anchor. As a small child, she remembers wonderful times, “my family with a Christmas tree and presents and a family gathering.” But her father was Muslim. Her mother […]

Mixing Bibles, bars and beer, missionaries head for the pubs

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Theology at the Pub is a popular weekly event in Melbourne, Australia, aimed at “amateur theologians aged between 18 and 40 and any clergy who wish to enjoy a drink or two with anyone younger than the average parishioner.” In Norfolk, […]

Have Americans lost their faith … or just their trust in the old “mainline” churches?

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Do Americans have less faith in God? Or is their crisis of faith in the professional bureaucracies claiming to represent Him — particularly in the old, historic “mainline” denominations — the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Disciples of Christ, Methodists and what remains of […]

Is Iran about to drag us into Armageddon?

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Should we be worried that Iran is about to tip the entire world into World War III?  Are some folks reading far too much into all of today’s saber-rattling? Are they drawing wild conclusions from popular interpretations of Bible prophecy […]

Bestselling novelist Frank Peretti’s “Illusion” is a love letter to Barbara, his wife for 40 years

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If there’s a message in bestselling author Frank Peretti’s new book Illusion, it’s a thank-you card, he says, or maybe a romantic note to his wife – as well as a celebration of marriage. “It’s a tribute,” he says from […]

Washington Post: Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Faces Potential Execution Today

posted by Jordan Sekulow

From Jordan Sekulow’s blog Religious Right Now at The Washington Post’s “On Faith”: Just days after Iran released two Americans accused of spying, an Iranian court has upheld the apostasy conviction and executionsentence of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Pastor Youcef will be […]

British wish faith was more visible in their communities

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Nearly half of British adults would like to see more demonstrations of faith in their local communities, according to a poll. The survey was conducted by the Congregational & General Insurance Co., which said that out of 1,000 British adults, 44 per cent […]

Facts & Trends magazine: Five big changes for American churches

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“Discerning future trends can be difficult if not risky,” writes Thom Rainer in the summer 2011 edition of Facts & Trends magazine. “If we miss a trend, we risk missing opportunities because we had our resources directed elsewhere.” “I am thus […]

Jerusalem Post: Washington is not clear regarding Palestine’s UN rejection says Abbas

posted by Corine Gatti

President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas said that the US has not been clear on whether they will reject Palestine UN bid to become a state in September based on the pre-1967 lines. A report from the Jerusalem […]

NBC apologizes to Congress for censoring “under God” out of pledge

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By JACK JENKINS Religion News Service WASHINGTON — NBC has issued a formal apology to more than 100 members of Congress for omitting the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance during a patriotic montage that aired last month. The […]

Christian Leaders Send Letters to Obama on Iran’s Human Rights Violations

posted by Corine Gatti

Christian leaders on behalf of an estimated 25 million Americans sent letters to President Obama urging him and other dignitaries to take immediate steps to stop violating human rights, supporting terrorism and developing a nuclear program. A press release issued […]

Prime time TV actually features a normal Christian offering thanks, praying with friends

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The character Lourdes chats with 11-year-old Matt, a fellow survivor   After decades of portraying Christians as hypocrites, crazies and bigots, Sunday night on prime-time TV, a main character actually prayed over her meal, then led others in a prayer […]

Atheist blogger: Georgia License Plates Will Not Have ‘In God We Trust’ on Them

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Hemant Mehta, writing on “The Friendly Atheist” blog, reports that: “Church and State will remain separate on Georgia’s license plates thanks to all of you. Earlier this week, I mentioned that Georgia was having an online vote to decide it’s new license plate. […]

Wife prays for an angel, football player lifts car off trapped husband

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“God, bring an angel to my side,” prayed the desperate, screaming wife as she struggled to lift a car off of her husband’s chest. “Help me!” In the parking lot of the Bull’s Den Cafe near the University of South […]

Critics push Obama to change faith-based hiring rules

By LAUREN MARKOE c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) A group of clergy and lawmakers is trying to overturn a nearly decade-old policy that allows faith-based organizations that receive federal funds to hire and fire employees on the basis […]

Orthodox basketball player allowed to cover her arms

By MICHELE CHABIN c. 2011 Religion News Service JERUSALEM (RNS) The international basketball federation has decided to permit an Orthodox Jewish basketball player to cover her arms during competitions in accordance with her religious beliefs. FIBA made the decision several […]

Commentary: Muzzled by Mammon

By TOM EHRICH c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) “Leave politics to the politicians,” an irate churchgoer said after his pastor waded into political issues. “Don’t write about something you know nothing about,” an irate reader said when a Christian […]

Commentary: Be sure to read the warning labels

By A. JAMES RUDIN c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) It’s hard to escape the barrage of TV ads that praise the benefits of various medications and then conclude with a rapid-fire list of the drug’s potentially harmful side effects. […]

Van Impe leaves TBN over ‘Chrislam’ remarks

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Jack Van Impe, a popular End Times broadcaster, has ended his decades-long run on Trinity Broadcasting Network after a dispute over naming ministers that he accuses of mixing Christian and […]

Commentary: Jesus is still surrounded by too many men

By Cathleen Falsani c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Pop quiz: Name three women leaders in evangelical Christianity. Not including women known primarily as partner to their better-known husbands. And just to make it interesting, let’s say they have to […]

After controversy, Baptists affirm belief in ‘eternal’ hell

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Southern Baptists on Wednesday (June 14) called hell an “eternal, conscious punishment” for those who do not accept Jesus, rebutting a controversial book from Michigan pastor Rob Bell that questions […]

Israel sees slow but growing acceptance for gay Orthodox

By MICHELE CHABIN c. 2011 Religion News Service TEL AVIV, Israel (RNS) Though never short on spectacle, this year’s annual gay pride festival was even more colorful with a parade float, sponsored by Google, representing the country’s religious gay and […]

Temple weddings leave some on outside, hurting inside

By PEGGY FLETCHER STACK c. 2011 Salt Lake Tribune SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) You see them on Temple Square nearly every day, pacing nervously or strolling aimlessly, staring down at the tulips or up at the spires. They are parents, […]

Evangelicals wade into circumcision debate

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) The National Association of Evangelicals is siding with Jews and Muslims in opposition of a proposed ban on infant male circumcision in San Francisco. “Jews, Muslims, and Christians all trace […]

Americans see room to disagree but remain faithful to religion

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Significant majorities of Americans say it is possible to disagree with their religion’s teachings on abortion and homosexuality and still remain in good standing with their faith. The findings, […]

Religious art: fig leaf or full frontal?

By PEGGY FLETCHER STACK c. 2011 Salt Lake Tribune SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) The Rev. France Davis doesn’t want any nude Adam-and-Eve figures at his Calvary Baptist Church — even if they were painted by the famed Michelangelo himself. Davis […]

Religious Leaders Call a Strike On Tobacco

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Religious leaders are hoping to hit a home run in a campaign to get Major League Baseball players to ban tobacco use on fields and dugouts of the national pastime. […]

Study suggests ‘born-again’ believers have smaller brains

By YONAT SHIMRON c. 2011 Religion News Service DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) For decades, mainline Protestants have been beset by bad news: declining numbers, aging membership, waning cultural influence. A new study from Duke University Medical Center, however, gives these Protestants […]

Feature: Bob Dylan’s Religious Mystique Endures

By RON CSILLAG c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Through the 1960s, Bob Dylan was hailed as a prophet, first of folk music, then of rock ‘n’ roll — at least by those who forgave him the heresy of having […]

Muslims Wait for Signs of Change from Obama

By OMAR SACIRBEY c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Officially, President Obama was talking to the Muslim world in his State Department speech on Thursday (May 19), but U.S. Muslims were equally interested in how their faith will be treated […]

Exhibit Highlights Hinduism’s ‘Blue-Skinned Savior’

By BOB SMIETANA c. 2011 Religion News Service NASHVILLE (RNS) In Hindu tradition, Lord Vishnu shows up in many forms. There’s Prince Rama, who killed the demon Ravana; Vamana the dwarf; Parashurama the vengeful; and Matsya the great fish. Then […]

Commentary: True Reform Would Start with ‘I’m Sorry’

By KIM MICHELE RICHARDSON c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) The Vatican has given the world’s Catholic bishops one year to set policies for handling allegations of child abuse, including reporting to police where required by local law. And on […]

Amnesty International Chides Vatican for Abuse

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) Amnesty International has criticized the Vatican for falling short of its commitments to protect children from sex abuse. “The Holy See did not sufficiently comply with its international […]

Mormons, Baptists Assist in Tornado Cleanup

By GREG GARRISON c. 2011 Religion News Service BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) Mormon missionaries are often unwelcome guests when they knock at local front doors wearing white dress shirts and holding a Book of Mormon. But after a tornado, when Mormon […]

Churches Asked to Share Pulpits with Muslims

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Religious and human rights activists are asking U.S. churches to invite Jewish and Muslim clergy to their sanctuaries to read from sacred texts next month in an initiative designed to […]

Vatican Says Latin Mass Shouldn’t Divide Catholics

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican on Friday (May 13) broadened access to the old Latin Mass with a new rule that gives the Vatican the power to overrule bishops who fail […]

Holocaust Conviction Began in Cleveland

By JOHN CANIGLIA c. 2011 Religion News Service CLEVELAND (RNS) The case that led to John Demjanjuk’s conviction in Germany on Thursday (May 12) was laid out 10 years ago in a Cleveland courtroom, where lawyers sparred over his wartime […]

Abuse Pits Church Honesty Against Lawyers’ Caution

By PETER EISLER c. 2011 USA Today VIENNA, Va. (RNS) When officials at Vienna Presbyterian Church decided to acknowledge the church’s failures in handling reports of sexual abuse by a youth ministries director, they thought it might upset some in […]

Russian, Greek Orthodox Leery of ID Cards

By SOPHIA KISHKOVSKY c. 2011 Religion News Service MOSCOW (RNS/ENInews) Russian and Greek Orthodox leaders are objecting to plans in both countries to introduce electronic identity cards intended to streamline bureaucracy. Church officials are demanding close study of the cards, […]

Immigration Pits Mormons Against Hierarchy

By PEGGY FLETCHER STACK c. 2011 Salt Lake Tribune SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) For decades, Mormon conservatives have believed their politics matched the positions of their church: opposing abortion, the Equal Rights Amendment and same-sex marriage, for example. But now […]

Obama Rallies Hispanic Christians on Immigration

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama assured Hispanic Christians on Thursday (May 12) that he hears their pleas for immigration reform, calling it a “moral imperative” that requires action from the pews and […]

Church of England Says Attendance is Growing at Cathedrals

By TREVOR GRUNDY c. 2011 Religion News Service CANTERBURY, ENGLAND (RNS/ENInews) In a challenge to conventional wisdom that church attendance is plummeting across Britain and Western Europe, the Church of England says attendance at its 43 cathedrals grew 7 percent […]

After Seminary, ‘Lost Boy’ Headed Back to Sudan

By MATT VANDE BUNTE c. 2011 Religion News Service GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) It has been more than two decades since Deng Alier fled war in his homeland. Now, armed with a master’s degree in educational ministry, the former “Lost […]

Jesuit to Become Chaplain of the House

By NANCY HAUGHT c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) A Jesuit will be sworn in as the 60th chaplain of the House of Representatives on May 25, when he will become the first member of his order and second consecutive […]

Muslims Hope Bias Ends with bin Laden’s Death

By ALEXI FRIEDMAN and DAN GOLDBERG c. 2011 Religion News Service PATERSON, N.J. (RNS) Hours after Osama bin Laden’s death was announced, the American Arab Forum received a phone call. The person on the line was looking for Aref Assaf, […]

After Court Gives OK, Christians Mark National Day of Prayer

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Supporters marked the 60th annual National Day of Prayer on Thursday (May 5), just weeks after a federal appeals court dismissed a suit that challenged the law creating the […]

Canadian Bishop Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography

By RON CSILLAG c. 2011 Religion News Service TORONTO (RNS) A former Roman Catholic bishop in Nova Scotia has pleaded guilty to trying to import child pornography after he was arrested in 2009 returning from a trip to Thailand. Appearing […]

Commentary: Torture Didn’t and Doesn’t Make Us Safer

By LINDA J. GUSTITUS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Immediate claims by supporters of the Bush administration’s torture program that Osama bin Laden was found and killed based on information obtained through torture leaves one almost breathless. Disregarding the […]

Wheaton Alumni Rally around Gay Students

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Gay and supportive alumni of Wheaton College have formed a new organization following a recent chapel series at the flagship evangelical school on “Sexuality and Wholeness.” More than 400 signatories […]

Reformed Denominations Join to Plant Churches

By PAUL R. KOPENKOSKEY c. 2011 Religion News Service GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church are joining together after they split more than 150 years ago to launch a church planting project […]

Feature: Minister Moms Split Between Pulpit and Potty Training

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Every now and then, the Rev. Amy Butler will find herself having to do a little simultaneous parenting and preaching from her pulpit at Calvary Baptist Church in downtown […]

Muslims Confront Government over Travel Woes

By JAMES EWINGER c. 2011 Religion News Service PARMA, Ohio (RNS) Government officials told Arab-Americans and Muslims that some post-9/11 security measures are easing, and acknowledged that Muslims are often subject to a higher degree of discrimination in travel. The […]

Vatican Praises Bloggers as Church’s ‘Public Opinion’

By ALESSANDRO SPECIALE c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) The pope may not be ready to start a blog or a Twitter account, but the Vatican is taking note of the unruly world of the blogosphere, recognizing its […]

Feature: Economic Bell Tolls for Nation’s Church Steeples

By CATHY LYNN GROSSMAN c. 2011 USA Today (RNS) Atop the tiny, white-columned 1842 church where Glen Likens was baptized, where he married his wife, where their children were baptized, where they still worship on Sundays, the steeple is rotting. […]

Justices Sidestep Catholics’ Case against San Francisco

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) The Supreme Court on Monday (May 2) declined to hear a Catholic group’s appeal accusing San Francisco supervisors of violating the Constitution when they disparaged the Catholic Church’s opposition to […]

Commentary: Osama bin Laden Is Dead. Discuss

By CATHLEEN FALSANI c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Late Sunday night, while perusing Facebook, a friend on Facebook updated her status to announce that Osama bin Laden was dead. It took a few seconds to confirm the news on […]

Study Links Reliance on God with Reliance on Treatment

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Cancer patients who consider the length of their lives to be “in God’s hands” are more willing than others to spend money on treatments that might extend their lives, a […]

Is It OK to Cheer Osama bin Laden’s Death?

By KEVIN ECKSTROM c. 2011 Religion News Service (This story was reported by Daniel Burke, Adelle M. Banks, Nicole Neroulias, Omar Sacirbey and Alessandro Speciale.) WASHINGTON (RNS) Jesus said “love your enemies.” If only he had said how we should […]

John Paul Put One Step Below Sainthood

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) The late Pope John Paul II, who elevated unprecedented numbers of Catholic saints and blesseds during his 26-year reign, joined those ranks himself on Sunday (May 1), when […]

Unitarians Drop Jefferson’s Name from Southeast Group

By YONAT SHIMRON c. 2011 Religion News Service DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) To many Americans, Thomas Jefferson is a symbol of liberty and religious freedom, the architect of American democracy and a standard bearer for progressive politics. But to members of […]

The Opus Dei Film that Isn’t Really about Opus Dei

By NICOLE NEROULIAS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Would you rather see a movie about a sinner or a saint? The marketing team for the new Roland Joffe film, There Be Dragons, is going for a little of both. […]

John Paul’s Casket Unearthed for Beatification

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) The casket of the late Pope John Paul II was exhumed Friday (April 29), in preparation for the late pontiff’s beatification ceremony on Sunday. John Paul’s casket was […]

Jews, Evangelicals Search for Ways to Discuss Israel

By DEBRA RUBIN c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) American Jews and evangelicals need a formal mechanism to discuss their differences and similarities on support for Israel, leaders from both sides said Thursday (April 28) at the American Jewish […]

Naming Saints Isn’t an Easy or Quick Process

By KIM LAWTON c. 2011 Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly NEW YORK (RNS) Pope John Paul II will move one step closer to sainthood when he is beatified during an elaborate Vatican ceremony on Sunday (May 1). While the Roman Catholic […]

Panel Cites Egypt for Religious Freedom Violations

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) A religious freedom watchdog panel has added Egypt to its list of the worst violators of religious liberty, citing attacks on Coptic Christians that occurred surrounding the downfall of […]

Plans for Interfaith Seminary Shelved

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) When leaders of the nation’s oldest seminary and a Unitarian Universalist theological school began to dream of building a new partnership, they planned to create a futuristic model of religious […]

Commentary: (Should Be) Coming to a Theater Near You

By CATHLEEN FALSANI c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) This fall a film based on Donald Miller’s bestselling spiritual memoir, Blue Like Jazz, is expected to hit theaters nationwide. In many ways, Miller’s book is an unlikely subject for a […]

Gingrich Talks of Journey to Catholicism

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Tilting toward a run at the presidency, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich traced his spiritual journey from Southern Baptist to Roman Catholic at a Catholic prayer breakfast here on Wednesday […]

Methodists Give $50,000 for Massacre Memorial

By CHRIS HERLINGER c. 2011 Religion News Service NEW YORK (RNS/ENInews) The United Methodist Church is making good on a pledge to support a learning center at the Western site of an 1864 massacre of Native Americans led by a […]

Churches Form ‘Circle of Protection’ Around Poor

By NICOLE NEROULIAS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Catholic, evangelical, mainline Protestant, black and Latino Christian leaders have formed a “Circle of Protection” against U.S. cuts to poverty-fighting programs, gearing up for a high-stakes budget battle when Congress reconvenes […]

Miracles Claimed from Late Pope’s Intercession

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) Jesse was just 10 days old in November 2009 when he was diagnosed with Herpes simplex, a virus often lethal to a newborn child. Doctors at Children’s National […]

U.S., Canadian Anglicans Await Royal Wedding Festivities

By PIET LEVY c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) An ocean away from the pomp and circumstance of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials on Friday, parishioners at Grace Anglican Church in Brantford, Ontario, will host their own royal festivities, […]

Spotlight on Abortion Activist Makes Catholics Nervous

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Anti-abortion activist Lila Rose has shared the stage with Sarah Palin, seen her exploits extolled on Fox News and drawn comparisons to heroic Gentiles who sheltered Jews during the Holocaust. […]

John Paul’s Blood to be Split Between Italy, Poland

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) A small quantity of blood from the late Pope John Paul II will be exposed as a holy relic during his beatification on Sunday (May 1), the Vatican […]

Former N.J. Governor Denied Episcopal Ordination

By PEGGY McGLONE c. 2011 Religion News Service NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey — who famously announced he was “a gay American” when he resigned in 2004 — will not be ordained into the Episcopal Church […]

Church-State Ties on Full Display at Royal Wedding

By TREVOR GRUNDY c. 2011 Religion News Service CANTERBURY, England (RNS) When Prince William and Kate Middleton walk down the aisle at Westminster Abbey on Friday (April 29), Britain’s unique and historic ties between church and state will be on […]

Transit Worker Fired for Burning Quran Gets Job Back

By GINGER GIBSON AND CHRIS MEGERIAN c. 2011 Religion News Service TRENTON, N.J. (RNS) The New Jersey Transit employee fired for burning pages of the Quran at the site of a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero will get his […]

Believers Warn Neighbors of Impending Doom on May 21

By KATHLEEN O’BRIEN c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Give these billboards credit: They don’t hedge their bet. Judgment Day is coming May 21, 2011 — not sometime this decade, not sometime this year, but precisely on May 21. The […]

Mormon Men Delaying the Walk Down the Aisle

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) John Evans is in no hurry to get married. The 25-year-old returned LDS missionary lives with his parents, works full time, takes night classes toward an English degree and, with law school looming, is building up […]

Supreme Court Limits Prisoners’ Right to Sue

WASHINGTON (RNS) Prison inmates who are deprived of their religious rights cannot sue states for monetary damages, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday (April 20). Inmate Harvey Leroy Sossamon III said a Texas state prison illegally prevented him from attending […]

Love Lost and Found on Opposite Sides of Border

BARTA’A, Israel (RNS) Fatmeh Kabaha spent most of her life surrounded by her brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews in a small Palestinian village just minutes from the border that separates the Palestinian territories from Israel. Six years ago, she […]

Study: Congregations Slowly Recovering From Recession

(RNS) The recession was a double-barrel blow to American congregations: directly hurting their budgets while also stretching them thin due to increased needs for counseling, emergency housing and other social services. But the worst seems to be over, according to […]

Scholar Challenges Thursday Date of Last Supper

LONDON (RNS) A top British scientist claims his biblical, historical and astronomical research shows Christians have been observing Jesus’ Last Supper on the wrong day of the week. Cambridge University Professor Colin Humphreys says Jesus’ final meal with his disciples […]

Cookbook Preserves Treasured Recipes from the Holocaust

(RNS) The last time Regina Finer’s mother cooked the soft, dense potato dumplings called kluskies, Regina couldn’t have been more than 12. It was the same year the Nazis took Finer’s parents from their home in the Warsaw ghetto — […]

Poll: Americans See Clash Between Christianity, Capitalism

(RNS) Are Christianity and capitalism a marriage made in heaven, as some conservatives believe, or more of a strained relationship in need of some serious couples’ counseling? A new poll released Thursday (April 21) found that more Americans (44 percent) […]

Beatification of Nazi Martyrs Divides Lutherans, Catholics

LUEBECK, Germany (RNS) Residents of this north German city have long taken pride in four native sons — three Catholic priests and a Lutheran pastor — who were beheaded in quick succession on Nov. 10, 1943 by the Nazi regime. […]

British Man Sentenced to 70 Days for Burning Quran

LONDON (RNS) A British former soldier has been jailed for burning a copy of the Quran in front of shoppers in England — an act the judge described as “theatrical bigotry.” Andrew Ryan was sentenced to 70 days for setting […]

Bishops Defend Criticism of Top Theologian

WASHINGTON (RNS) Under fire for criticizing a popular theologian, the U.S. Catholic bishops said they must occasionally assume the role of referee and rule wayward thinkers out of bounds. “Once ideas are written and published by a theologian, they must […]

Obama Invokes Christian Beliefs at Easter Prayer Breakfast

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama on Tuesday (April 19) said Jesus’ death and resurrection on Easter “puts everything else in perspective,” at a White House event that showcased his increasing comfort with discussing his faith. Using the kind of personal religious […]

Senate Confirms Religious Freedom Ambassador

WASHINGTON (RNS) A New York minister will soon fill the Obama administration’s long-vacant position to oversee international religious freedom after the Senate voted to confirm the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook for the post. Thursday’s (April 14) voice vote positions Cook […]

Commentary: A New Leader for Challenging Times

NEW YORK (RNS) The heady days of American congregational expansion are over. The nation’s largest Jewish group, the 1.5 million-member Union for Reform Judaism, is now confronting the same stagnant or even declining membership trends that have become routine for […]

Russian Jehovah’s Witness Cleared on Extremism charges

MOSCOW (RNS/ENInews) A Jehovah’s Witness on trial in Siberia was found innocent on Thursday (April 14) of charges of “inciting religious hatred and enmity,” in a case that was seen as a litmus test of Russian religious freedom. Aleksandr Kalistratov […]

Evangelicals Named to Ministry Watchdog Panel

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability has announced members of a commission to advise a Capitol Hill review of financial reform of religious groups. Secularists, however, say the panel’s all-evangelical leadership will be unable to police other evangelicals. […]

Pope Appeals to China over Naming of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican on Thursday (April 14) lamented China’s interference with the Roman Catholic Church, and reaffirmed Pope Benedict XVI’s willingness to negotiate with Beijing on the appointment of bishops. A message to Chinese Catholics, published by the […]

Feds Join Suit over Reading Policy in S.C. Prison

WASHINGTON (RNS) Bibles cannot be the only reading materials allowed in jail, the U.S. Department of Justice said in joining a lawsuit against a South Carolina detention center on Tuesday (April 12). The original suit, filed by the American Civil […]

Feature: Catholic Schools Help Swell Ranks of Easter Converts

WASHINGTON (RNS) With less than two weeks to go, fifth-grader Simone Marshall ticked off what she was looking forward to most as she awaited the Easter Vigil where she would officially become a Roman Catholic. “I cannot wait to get […]

Activists Want National Holiday for Good Friday

WASHINGTON (RNS) A small band of Christians is planning a rally in Washington, D.C., in a bid to make Good Friday a national holiday. Organizer Sharon Jones, a New York-based missionary, recalled growing up observing the holiday in her native […]

Budget Foes, Unsatisfied, to Continue Fast through Easter

WASHINGTON (RNS) The congressional budget compromise reached last week did not go far enough for some progressive Christian leaders who have vowed to continue their liquid-only fast in hopes of a “better budget.” Sojourners founder Jim Wallis and Ambassador Tony […]

Filipino Churches Divided over Hero’s Burial for Marcos

MANILA, Philippines (RNS/ENInews) Filipino church leaders are divided over a proposal to give the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial. In late March, a resolution was endorsed by 193 lawmakers urging President Benigno Aquino III to allow the burial […]

Feature: At Interfaith Families Group, A Rabbi Does the Easter Sermon

SILVER SPRING, Md. (RNS) On the second night of Passover, Rabbi Harold White will lead a traditional seder dinner with matzoh and bitter herbs and all the trimmings. Five days later, he’ll deliver the sermon on Easter Sunday. That’s what […]

Anglicans Tighten Rules to Prevent Sham Marriages

LONDON (RNS) Couples suspected of using their wedding vows as a ruse to skirt immigration laws will be required to meet strict identity checks and face greater scrutiny under new Church of England guidelines to stop sham marriages. The guidelines […]

Synagogue Bombing Suspect Nabbed in Cleveland

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (RNS) The man suspected of bombing a synagogue in Santa Monica, Calif., on April 7 was arrested in Cleveland Heights Monday (April 11). Ron Hirsch, 60, was arrested by the Cleveland Heights Police Department about 7 p.m. […]

Judge Says Monks Can Fight for Right to Sell Caskets

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Monks at St. Joseph Abbey near Covington, La., can sue for the right to sell handcrafted caskets without a license from the Louisiana Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, a federal judge has decided. U.S. District Judge […]

Vatican Sets Oct. 22 As John Paul II’s Feast Day

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Masses in honor of the late Pope John Paul II will be celebrated every Oct. 22 starting this year, but only in Rome and Poland for now, the Vatican announced on Monday (April 11). The decree establishing […]

Journalist Claims to Find Nails from Jesus’ Cross

JERUSALEM (RNS) An Israeli-Canadian journalist believes he may have tracked down two of the iron nails used to crucify Jesus to the cross. Or at least objects that “could be” the long-lost relics. While researching a segment for the History […]

Scholar Challenges Widely-Held Beliefs about the Bible and Sex

(RNS) Is the Bible good for your sex life, but bad for a sex ed class? A Boston biblical scholar challenges widely held beliefs about the Bible and sex in her new book, arguing Scripture cannot and should not be […]

Catholic Bishops Report Seven Abuse Cases during 2010

WASHINGTON (RNS) U.S. Catholic bishops announced Monday (April 11) that sexual abuse accusations against Catholic clergy increased in 2010, and auditors found 57 dioceses do not follow church guidelines on child protection. The number of clergy accused of abuse increased […]

Brooklyn Rabbi Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

TRENTON, N.J. (RNS) Of all those targeted in what became the biggest FBI sting operation in New Jersey history, Rabbi Mordchai Fish was among the most secretive. He changed cell phones constantly, worried aloud about electronic bugs and had cash […]

Long-Lost Letter Sheds Light on Lincoln’s Faith

(RNS) On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, a long-lost letter has surfaced that describes President Abraham Lincoln’s belief in God. The Raab Collection of Philadelphia plans to sell a recently discovered letter […]

Jews Craft Their Own Answers with DIY Passover Options

(RNS) As newlyweds, Cokie and Steve Roberts wanted to host a Passover seder that could be enjoyed by her devout Catholic family, his secular Jewish clan, and friends from a range of backgrounds. Faced with limited options for interfaith families […]

Diver Searches for St. Paul’s Shipwreck

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (RNS) Even long before the times of Jesus and the Apostle Paul, Malta was the rocky knob at the western edge of the Roman Empire, the place where the leftovers of the Mediterranean Sea washed up and dug […]

Jewish Group Gives Passover Cheer for Beck’s Exit

(RNS) A Jewish organization is celebrating Passover two weeks early, proclaiming freedom from Glenn Beck’s television show. Jewish Funds for Justice, a social advocacy nonprofit, has taken credit for the polarizing personality’s pending exit from Fox News. The group waged […]

Vatican Paper Praises Fertility Ethics of Films

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The official Vatican newspaper has praised two recent Hollywood movies for showing the ethical downsides of sperm donation. In the lead article in the Saturday (April 9) edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Carlo Bellieni writes in When Cinema […]

Evangelicals Most Likely to Support Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON (RNS) A slim majority of evangelicals favor government shutdown over a budget compromise, according to new research by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The U.S. government will shutter all non-essential services at midnight, Friday […]

Feature: Excommunicated Church Thrives Despite Censure

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (RNS) At Spiritus Christi Church, the choir sings the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun” — a song about a brothel. Surely, such a tune for a sacred service would never […]

Obama, Karzai Blast Florida Quran Burning

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai blasted the recent burning of a Quran at a Florida church and the deadly riots that followed during a video teleconference meeting on Wednesday (April 6). Both leaders “deplored” the desecration […]

Pope Mourns Deaths of Libyan Refugees

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday (April 7) lamented the “tragedy” of a growing number of African migrants who have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe. In the most recent incident, a boat carrying […]

Court Rules for Pharmacists on Morning-After Pill

(RNS) Pharmacists with religious objections to “morning-after” emergency contraceptives cannot be compelled to sell the product, an Illinois Circuit Judge ruled Tuesday (April 5). The Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act was passed in 1998 to shield health care […]

Ground Zero Cross on the Move Again

NEW YORK (RNS) The Cross at Ground Zero was one of thousands of I-beams used to construct the iron skeletons of the World Trade Center towers. This one fell from the fiery, apocalyptic heavens during the 9/11 terror attacks and […]

Feature: Think You’ll Need Last Rites? Better Plan Ahead

CLEVELAND (RNS) In days long gone, Roman Catholic priests regularly made deathbed house calls, even in the middle of the night with little notice, to pray over the dying and anoint them with holy oils. The candlelight ritual, popularly known […]

Court Says Adventist Postmen Can’t Get Saturday Off

(RNS) Neither snow nor rain nor Saturday Sabbaths should keep a Missouri mailman from his appointed rounds, a federal appeals court has ruled. Seventh-day Adventist Hosea Harrell argued he was the victim of religious discrimination when the U.S. Postal Service […]

‘Emotionally Drained’ Bishop Gets Early Retirement

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the early resignation of an “emotionally drained” bishop in Australia whose diocese has been the focus of several prominent sex-abuse scandals. The Vatican announced on Monday (April 4) that Bishop Michael John […]

Young Mormons Advised Not to Delay Marriage

(RNS) Single Mormon men who are postponing marriage should get to it right away, church President Thomas S. Monson said Saturday (April 2) at an all-male priesthood session of the church’s 181st Annual General Conference. Monson acknowledged there may be […]

Deadly Afghan Riots Blamed on Quran Burning at Fla. Church

(RNS) The Florida pastor who presided over the recent burning of a Quran said the United Nations must protect Afghans from deadly riots, even as he denied responsibility for inspiring them. At least eight U.N. aid workers and four others […]

Hajj Suit Raises Host of Questions

WASHINGTON (RNS) In 2008, Safoorah Khan, a math teacher in Illinois, asked for 15 days of unpaid leave (19 days including weekends) to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, an obligation for all Muslims. The local school board refused, but the […]

Museum to Feature Treasure Trove of Biblical Artifacts

WASHINGTON (RNS) A new multimillion-dollar, high-tech, interactive museum of the Bible was announced Thursday amid 130 artifacts of the Good Book at a private exhibition at the Vatican Embassy. The exhibit was a sample of Jewish, Roman Catholic and Protestant […]

Faith-Healing Ore. Couple Released from Prison

OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) Two members of a controversial Oregon City church that rejects medical treatment were released from prison Wednesday (March 30) after serving time in the faith-healing death of their teenage son. Jeffrey and Marci Beagley were convicted […]

Catholic Bishops Censure Feminist Theologian’s Book

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops condemned a book by Sister Elizabeth Johnson, a prominent feminist theologian, charging that her attempts to forge new understandings of God depart from traditional Catholic theology. The bishops’ Committee on Doctrine on […]

Excommunicated Priest Now Faces Expulsion

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The Rev. Roy Bourgeois, the Louisiana native and peace activist who was excommunicated three years ago for publicly supporting women’s ordination, now faces expulsion from his religious order and from the priesthood. Bourgeois and Mike Virgintino, a […]

Will Romney’s Faith Hurt His Campaign?

A 2008 campaign manager for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney tells the National Journal that the former Massachusetts governor’s religious roots are a stumbling block towards his race to the White House. Carl Forti, Romney’s deputy campaign manager and political director […]

Report: Small Churches Feeling Financial Squeeze

(RNS) Almost all U.S. churches witnessed a change in the financial giving they received in 2010 compared to 2009, with smaller churches feeling the squeeze but larger churches faring relatively better, according to a new report. Only 12 percent of […]

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to Read KJV Bible over Holy Week

LONDON (RNS/ENInews) William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre will mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible with a cover-to-cover reading between Palm Sunday and Easter Monday. Twenty actors will take part in the reading, which is scheduled to take 69 […]

Feature: For Mormons, What Does ‘Follow the Prophet’ Really Mean?

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) Mormon President Thomas S. Monson, his two right-hand men and 12 apostles will take to the podium at this weekend’s (April 2-3) General Conference and offer sermons that many Mormons will treat like faxes from God. […]

In Senate Muslim Hearings, a Decided Change in Tone

(RNS) It was billed as the first-ever congressional hearing on the civil rights of American Muslims. But it played more like an Act II than a premiere. In many ways, the hearing led by Senate Democrats on Tuesday (March 29) […]

Coalition Works to Protect Religious Employees

WASHINGTON (RNS) A coalition of religious and civil liberty groups is pushing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to stop employers from segregating “visibly religious employees from customers and the general public.” In a March 25 letter submitted to the EEOC, […]

Supreme Court to Weigh Churches’ Employment Rights

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Supreme Court agreed Monday (March 28) to consider whether a teacher who was fired from a religious school is subject to a “ministerial exception” that can bar suits against religious organizations. The case involves an employment dispute […]

Feature: More U.S. Colleges Adding Muslim Chaplains

(RNS) When Jainal Bhuiyan attended Cornell University, he and his fellow Muslim students were mentored and led in religious prayers by a collection of Muslim professors, graduate students and staff. “That was our network that filled the void,” said Bhuiyan, […]

Feature: Fasting and Praying for the Poor

(RNS) Faced with an unjust rule of Persian king who threatened the very lives of her Jewish people, the Jewish heroine Queen Esther called on the faithful to fast and pray for their rulers to have a change of heart. […]

Bishops Push Back on Allowing Gay Couples in Housing

WASHINGTON (RNS) U.S. Catholic bishops are urging federal housing officials not to adopt proposed rules that would bar groups that receive federal funds from discriminating against gays, lesbians or transgender persons in housing programs. The Department of Housing and Urban […]

Commentary: Is This about American Muslims or America?

(RNS) Lately, Congress appears to be obsessed with Muslims. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is holding hearings Tuesday (March 29) on “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims,” and Chairman Peter King has announced a second set of hearings on “Radicalization […]

Supporters March to Keep Paddling at Catholic School

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) More than 500 students, parents and other supporters of St. Augustine High School marched Saturday (March 26) on the offices of Archbishop Gregory Aymond to oppose his call for an end to the school’s policy of using […]

U.N. Passes Religious Freedom Resolution

WASHINGTON (RNS) U.S. officials praised a United Nations council for a new statement on religious freedom that sidestepped a divisive debate sponsored by Islamic countries over the “defamation of religions.” The U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday (March 24) approved […]

Chaplains Offered Exit Plan as Gay Training Starts

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Army has started training chaplains on the repeal of the ban on openly gay military members, saying those who are unable to follow the forthcoming policy can seek a voluntary departure. “The Chaplains Corps’ First Amendment freedoms […]

Tennessee Amends Anti-Shariah Bill

(RNS) Tennessee lawmakers are rewriting a bill that described Islamic law as a threat to U.S. security and seemed to equate peaceful Muslim practices with terrorism. State Sen. Bill Ketron and House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, both Republicans, offered […]

Study Suggests Young Adults Can Get Fat at Church

(RNS) Thou shalt not serve pizza? Young adults who regularly attend religious activities are 50 percent more likely to become obese when they reach middle age than their nonreligious peers, a new study shows. Based on their findings, researchers at […]

TSA, Airlines Tread Carefully on Religious Expression

(RNS) Air travelers want to feel safe, and federal security officials want to make sure they actually are safe. If only it were that simple. Misunderstandings over religious expression have led to recent incidents that prompted apologies from airlines. On […]

Poll: Most Americans Don’t Blame God for Disasters

(RNS) We may never know why bad things happen to good people, but most Americans — except evangelicals — reject the idea that natural disasters are divine punishment, a test of faith or some other sign from God, according to […]

U.S. Embassy Condemns Quran Burning at Fla. Church

(RNS) The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan called the burning of a Quran at a small Florida church “abhorrent” as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the act as a “serious setback” to world harmony. U.S. Ambassador Cameron P. Munter tried […]

Vatican Says Gay Opponents Are Victims Too

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A Vatican official told a United Nations body on Tuesday (March 22) that people who openly object to homosexual behavior are at risk of losing their human rights when they are prosecuted or stigmatized for their beliefs. […]

Democrat Announces Alternate Hearings on U.S. Muslims

WASHINGTON (RNS) Barely two weeks after House Republicans held hearings on the threat posed by radicalized American Muslims, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat announced his own hearings on threats to American Muslims’ civil rights. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., made no […]

U.S. Catholics Lead Other Christians on Gay Rights

(RNS) While the Vatican and U.S. bishops maintain a hard-line stand against most gay rights causes, American Catholics are more supportive of gay rights than other U.S. Christians, according to new research released Tuesday (March 22). A report by Washington-based […]

N.Y. Rabbi Tapped to Lead Reform Jews

(RNS) A New York rabbi with a reputation for innovation has been tapped to lead the Union for Reform Judaism, the umbrella group for the country’s Reform synagogues, starting in 2012. Rabbi Richard Jacobs has headed Westchester Reform Temple since […]

Evangelicals Resist Obama’s Childhood Obesity Push

WASHINGTON (RNS) Evangelicals are the only major religious group where a majority opposes the federal government’s efforts to reduce childhood obesity, a Pew Research Center survey shows. Asked if the government should play a significant role in reducing childhood obesity, […]

Methodists Shun the Bottle that No One Wants to Talk About

(RNS) The Rev. James Howell knew he had a problem on his hands when several teenagers arrived at a church dance drunk and had to be taken from the church by ambulance for treatment for alcohol poisoning. Starting in 2009, […]

Pope Neither Condemns, Endorses Libya Attacks

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI voiced “fear and trepidation” about the “disturbing news coming from Libya” in a carefully worded statement that neither endorsed nor condemned U.S. and European attacks against Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Benedict made his […]

Trial Opens in Mass. Black Church Arson Case

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (RNS) After two accomplices pleaded guilty, the sole man to stand trial for torching a black church the night of President Obama’s election was confronted with secretly taped recordings during opening arguments on Monday (March 21). “Gas, straight-up […]

Obama Taps Campuses for Interfaith Service Projects

posted by editor

WASHINGTON (RNS) The White House is hoping to recruit America’s college and seminary students in a nationwide interfaith service campaign that was launched Thursday (March 17). In the next month, the Obama administration will solicit plans submitted by colleges, universities, […]

Court Rejects Mother’s Religious Home-School Arguments

posted by editor

(RNS) The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling on Wednesday (March 16) that orders an 11-year-old girl to enroll in public school instead of being home-schooled by her mother. Although the girl’s mother, Brenda Kurowski, argued that […]

One Nation Under Allah

posted by editor

(RNS) It isn’t a crime to practice Islam in the United States of America. At least, not yet. On Monday (March 14), Missouri state Rep. Don Wells introduced a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at blocking Shariah — the Islamic legal […]

Southwest Airlines Apologizes to Muslim Passenger

posted by editor

(RNS) Southwest Airlines has apologized to a Muslim woman who claims she was removed from a flight from San Diego on Sunday (March 13) because of her Islamic headscarf and South Asian background. “We sincerely apologize for the customer’s inconvenience, […]

Schuller Says He Wouldn’t Have OK’d Church’s Gay Covenant

posted by editor

(RNS) Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller said Wednesday (March 16) he never would have approved a recent covenant that choir members were asked to sign urging them to be Christian and heterosexual. “I have a reputation worldwide of being […]

Priest Forced to Give Up 40 days of Muslim Lent

posted by editor

FERGUSON, Mo. (RNS) The Rev. Steve Lawler should have just given up chocolate or television for Lent. Instead, Lawler, the part-time rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, decided to adopt the rituals of Islam for 40 days to gain a […]

Adventists Grow As Other Churches Decline

posted by editor

(RNS) Rest on the Sabbath. Heed Old Testament dietary codes. And be ready for Jesus to return at any moment. If these practices sound quaint or antiquated, think again. They’re hallmarks of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the fastest-growing Christian denomination […]

Justice Department Backs Sikh Inmate

posted by editor

(RNS) The Justice Department has filed suit against California prison officials on behalf of a Sikh inmate who says his religious freedom was violated when officials punished him for not cutting his beard. Sukhjinder Basra, incarcerated at the California Men’s […]

Anglican Priest Arrested on Marriage Charges

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LONDON (RNS) A Church of England vicar has been arrested in Britain’s second major police investigation in as many years into bogus marriages staged to help immigrants win residents’ visas. The church immediately suspended the Rev. Canon Patrick Magumba amid […]

‘Book of Mormon’ Musical Called Surprisingly Sweet

posted by editor

NEW YORK (RNS) A Ugandan villager in the new Broadway musical from the creators of South Park offers a plaintive love song about paradise — and the object of her yearning is none other than Utah’s capital. “Salvation has a […]

Japanese Look to Ancient Traditions for Strength

posted by editor

(RNS) When uncounted thousands have died in a disaster such as last week’s earthquake and tsunami, where will the Japanese people find spiritual strength? Experts on Japanese culture say they’ll find it in the critical, comforting rituals of religion. They […]

Alaska Airlines Apologizes for Jewish Prayer Mix-Up

posted by editor

SEATTLE (RNS) Alaska Airlines has issued an apology for misinterpreting the devotional behavior of three Orthodox Jewish men on a flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles on Sunday (March 13). The men had strapped on tefillin — black leather […]

Museum Restores Jefferson’s Unique Bible

posted by editor

(RNS) A Smithsonian museum is restoring the Jefferson Bible, a unique volume the third president cut and pasted himself — omitting lots of theology — from portions of the New Testament. Thomas Jefferson assembled the book in 1820 when he […]

From Professorial Pope, A Lengthy Paper Trail

posted by editor

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Any book with an initial printing of 1.2 million copies in eight languages qualifies as a global publishing event, regardless of its author. But the release last week (March 10) of Pope Benedict XVI’s latest tome was […]

Nearly 1,000 Anglicans Converting to Catholicism

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LONDON (RNS/ENInews) More than 900 Anglicans formally expressed a desire to convert to Catholicism at special services held at Westminster Cathedral — including the first Anglicans to join a new branch of the Catholic Church. The annual ceremonies held last […]

Religious Groups Mobilize to Aid Japan

posted by editor

(RNS) As the extent of the death and destruction from the massive disaster in Japan comes into focus, religious relief organizations are sending and supporting teams to assess the damage. Groups such World Vision and Baptist World Aid have teams […]

Churches in Japan Devastated by Earthquake

posted by editor

TOKYO (RNS/ENInews) Christians in Japan are looking for survivors and assessing damage to church buildings after Friday’s (March 11) devastating earthquake and tsunami. The National Police Agency announced that as of Monday about 1,800 people have died and 2,400 are […]

Christians Question Conventional Wisdom on Divorce Stats

posted by editor

(RNS) It’s been proclaimed from pulpits and blogs for years — Christians divorce as much as everyone else in America. But some scholars and family activists are questioning the oft-cited statistics, saying Christians who attend church regularly are more likely […]

Former Head of Pentecostal Denomination Dies

posted by editor

(RNS) Bishop Chandler David Owens, a former presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ known as an orator and international leader, died Sunday (March 6) at the age of 79. Owens served as leader of the nation’s largest […]

Fed Up with Hollywood, Churches Make Their Own Films

posted by editor

YORBA LINDA, Calif. — This year’s Oscars may have been passed out, but for some churches across the country the major motion picture season is just getting started. Frustrated with the movies Hollywood has been releasing, more and more congregations […]

Pope Links Violence in God’s Name to Antichrist

posted by editor

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Violence committed in the name of God or religion is a “favorite instrument of the Antichrist,” Pope Benedict XVI writes in a new book on the life and teachings of Jesus. “Violence does not build up the […]

Shepherds Lead, But Flocks Diverge on Death Penalty

posted by editor

(RNS) On Ash Wednesday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law abolishing the death penalty in his state, adding the Land of Lincoln to the growing list of 16 states where capital punishment is no longer an option. “It is […]

With All Eyes on Capitol Hill, Muslims Watch Warily

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STERLING, Va. (RNS) They were moved when the first Muslim elected to Congress shed tears for a Muslim who died trying to save others on 9/11. They were irked by accusations from House members and annoyed when fellow Muslims maligned […]

Study Says Engagement Rises with Mosque Attendance

posted by editor

WASHINGTON (RNS) As Congressional hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims get underway, a political science professor says research shows that affiliation with a mosque increases Muslims’ civic engagement. “The more religious American Muslims happen to be, the more they […]

Muslim Cops Put Faith, Lives on the Line

posted by editor

(RNS) When Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca asked Sgt. Muawiya “Mike” Abdeen to set up a liaison unit to local Muslims in 2008, the idea was to build bridges to a community that is often fearful of, or unknown […]

Catholics Try to Lure Lapsed Sheep Back into the Fold

posted by editor

MADISON, N.J. (RNS) A small bucket filled with bottles of cold beer sat on the floor, down the hall from the chapel, as about a dozen young adults lounged around on comfortable couches. They weren’t there to pray or preach […]

Book Exlores Lasting Impact of Vatican II on U.S. Church

posted by editor

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) Colleen McDannell knew the title of her new book, The Spirit of Vatican II: A History of Catholic Reform in America, would be provocative. Modernists talk of the Catholic Church not living up to “the spirit […]

A Political Spectacle that Perpetuates Prejudice

posted by editor

(RNS) House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King is intent on doing a foolish thing that even former President George W. Bush — himself no slouch in fighting terrorism — consistently refused to do. On Thursday (March 10), King will […]

Do You Want Your Jewish Mother Playing Matchmaker?

posted by editor

(RNS) Denice Beckerman is heavily involved in her daughter Amanda’s life. She’s tried several times to set her up on dates and is connected with several of her daughter’s friends on Facebook. “My mom is the typical Long Island Jewish […]

For Second Time, Vatican Keeps Parishes Open

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(RNS) For the second time in recent months, the Vatican has overruled a U.S. bishop’s decision to close churches in his diocese, a rare reversal that Catholic activists hope heralds a new trend. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy has […]

Former Counterterrorism Chief Says Muslims Cooperate

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(RNS) A former FBI counterterrorism director on Tuesday (March 8) rejected allegations by the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee that Muslim Americans don’t cooperate with law enforcement in terror investigations. Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican, will […]

White House Praises Muslims Ahead of Hearing

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WASHINGTON (RNS) Days ahead of a controversial congressional hearing on Islamic extremism, the Obama administration is highlighting the role Muslim Americans play in combating radicalism in their communities. “I am here to talk to you about how our communities — […]

Muslims and Supporters Protest Congressional Hearings

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NEW YORK (RNS) When Anam Chaudhry, 17, sang the national anthem to several hundred protesters in Times Square on Sunday afternoon, she wore a Muslim headscarf, and around her shoulders, another garment: the American flag. “We love this country,” said […]

Christchurch Cathedral Search Reveals No Quake Victims

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNS/ENInews) A complete search of an Anglican cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand turned up no bodies buried in the rubble, despite widespread reports that 20 to 22 people had been trapped inside. ChristChurch Cathedral’s spire collapsed into […]

Being a Pastor is Hard, and Failure Is Easy

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(RNS) Sometimes being a pastor is a real pain. But few pastors want to admit it. J.R. Briggs in trying to change that. That’s why Briggs, a blogger and pastor of the Renew Community in Lansdale, Pa., is organizing the […]

Pakistani Churches Mourn Assassinated Christian minister

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BANGALORE, India (RNS/ENInews) Christian schools across Pakistan shut down on Thursday (March 3) for a three-day protest of the assassination of the country’s Minister for Religious Minorities. The call for the action came at an ecumenical meeting chaired by Archbishop […]

House Republicans Plan to Defend DOMA

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WASHINGTON (RNS) House Speaker John Boehner said on Friday (March 4) that he and fellow lawmakers will defend the Defense of Marriage Act after the Obama administration dropped its support for the law last month. “The constitutionality of this law […]

Bhutanese Protest Tobacco Charge against Buddhist Monk

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NEW DELHI (RNS) Protesters in Bhutan are denouncing the three-year prison sentence of a Buddhist monk charged with violating the small kingdom’s anti-tobacco law. The 23-year-old monk, Sonam Tshering, was the first victim of a ban rooted in the religious […]

‘Of Gods and Men’ Traces Murder and Martyrdom

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(RNS) The Rev. James Martin has seen a lot of religious movies in his life. But the Jesuit priest and author says a new film has sprung to the top of his list. Martin calls Of Gods and Men, a […]

Oregon Debates New Funeral-Protest Bill

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SALEM, Ore. (RNS) A day after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of an anti-gay church to picket funerals, Oregon legislators discussed a bill that would put distance between protesters and mourners. On Wednesday (March 2), the Supreme Court […]

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