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Beliefnet News Archives

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 […]

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Evangelicals see declining influence in U.S.

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Are U.S. evangelicals losing their influence on America? A new poll released Wednesday (June 22) from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life seems to say just that, with […]

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Leaving God out of Pledge tees off Ohio congressman

By SABRINA EATON c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) NBC’s decision to edit the word “God” from the Pledge of Allegiance during last weekend’s coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament has teed off an Ohio congressman, who wants […]

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Churches call for U.S. to pull out of Afghanistan

By JACK JENKINS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) As President Obama prepared plans to bring a limited number of U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, a group of 40 religious leaders called for the president to “bring the war […]

Religious order vows to end paddling at New Orleans school

By GORDON RUSSELL c. 2011 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The religious order that runs the last remaining Catholic school in the country to use corporal punishment says it will no longer allow the practice, putting it in line […]

Conservatives want senator to resign after affair

By JONATHAN TILOVE c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) The president of the Christian conservative Family Policy Network sent Sen. David Vitter, R-La., a letter Monday (June 20) calling on him to follow the lead of former Rep. Anthony […]

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 […]

Pawlenty’s prominent pastor not a political pawn

By G. JEFFREY MacDONALD c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) When GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty goes to church, he knows he’ll hear a 27-minute sermon — never longer, never shorter. But whether he’ll hear a biblical endorsement of the […]

Report: Mercedes to unveil new eco-friendly popemobile

By NIELS SORRELLS c. 2011 Religion News Service BERLIN (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI has a lot of ground to cover when he heads back home to Germany this September, but thanks to a new popemobile from Mercedes, at least 30 […]

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 […]

Church of England to allow gay bishops — sort of

By AL WEBB c. 2011 Religion News Service LONDON (RNS) The Church of England has issued a set of “legal guidelines” that pave the way for openly gay clergy to become bishops — so long as they are and promise […]

Lesbian minister to face Methodist church trial

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) United Methodists will begin a trial Tuesday (June 21) against a Wisconsin minister who’s accused of breaking church rules by celebrating a same-sex marriage and being in a lesbian relationship. The […]

All Southern Baptist eyes on black New Orleans pastor

By BRUCE NOLAN c. 2011 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Even before the Southern Baptist Convention elected the Rev. Fred Luter to national office, there was already widespread speculation that Luter is poised to become the denomination’s first African-American […]

Oregon strips faith-healing parents of legal defenses

By STEVE MAYES c. 2011 Religion News Service PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed a new law that removes the remnants of Oregon’s legal protection for parents who rely solely on faith healing instead of traditional medical care […]

Left-leaning Christians to rally around ‘Wild Goose’

By YONAT SHIMRON c. 2011 Religion News Service DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) It’s summer. It’s hot. It’s the South. That must mean it’s time for an old-fashioned camp meeting. Next week (June 23-26), the bygone staple of the tent revival will […]

Bishops leave abuse policies largely intact

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service BELLEVUE, Wash. (RNS) The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday (June 16) overwhelmingly voted to maintain current church policies on the sexual abuse of children, making only minor tweaks to policies that […]

Black churches push prostate cancer awareness

By B. DENISE HAWKINS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Thomas A. Farrington isn’t looking for cards or a tie this Father’s Day. What he really wants, he says, is for other black men sitting in the pews with a […]

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 […]

Baptists support legalization but not ‘amnesty’

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Southern Baptists adopted a resolution Wednesday (June 15) that supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants but clearly states they reject “amnesty.” After heated debate at their annual meeting […]

Bishop calls Ala. immigration law nation’s ‘meanest’

By GREG GARRISON c. 2011 Religion News Service (BIRMINGHAM) A new Alabama law that makes it a crime to offer rides to undocumented immigrants is the “meanest” immigration law in the country, according to a United Methodist bishop and respected […]

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 […]

Bishops open meeting to review sex abuse rules

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service BELLEVUE, Wash. (RNS) The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops began a review of church sex abuse policies here on Wednesday (June 15), bypassing several recent reports that raise questions about whether the rules […]

Vatican tries to revive Eucharistic adoration

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) For seven centuries, Eucharistic adoration — praying before an exposed consecrated Communion host — was one of the most popular forms of devotion in the Roman Catholic Church, […]

Goshen College silences national anthem (again)

By JACK JENKINS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Goshen College will no longer play The Star-Spangled Banner at sporting events, school leaders announced, reversing last year’s decision to allow the use of the national anthem for the first time […]

Crisis pregnancy group reflects Jewish divide on abortion

By DEBRA RUBIN c. 2011 Religion News Service SILVER SPRING, Md. (RNS) Saraleah was 19 and a part-time student when she discovered she was pregnant. She didn’t know how it could have happened — until she flashed back to a […]

Southern Baptists look to minorities to jumpstart growth

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Southern Baptists meeting in Phoenix adopted a plan Tuesday (June 14) to try to boost minorities in their top leadership posts as they face continuing reports of stagnant baptism rates […]

Religious freedom envoy condemns religious intolerance

By PETER KENNY c. 2011 Religion News Service GENEVA (RNS) The Obama administration’s new envoy for international religious freedom told a U.N. commission on Tuesday (June 14) that government, political, religious and business leaders must stand ready to condemn hateful […]

Catholic University ends mixed-gender housing

By JACK JENKINS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) The Catholic University of America will phase out co-ed dormitories later this year, President John H. Garvey said Monday (June 13), in a bid to crack down on drinking and […]

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, […]

With an eye on China, Vatican issues new bishops’ policy

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) Catholics forced to participate in ordinations of bishops without the pope’s approval may be exempt from the usual penalty of automatic excommunication, the Vatican said on Friday (June […]

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, […]

Principal at paddling school vows to remain in job

By BRUCE NOLAN c. 2011 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The embattled president of the nation’s last Catholic school to employ corporal punishment said he plans to remain on the job in spite of a weekend order that abruptly […]

Muslim cabbie fights ticket over religious cap

By KEN LEISER c. 2011 St. Louis Post-Dispatch ST. LOUIS (RNS) Taxi driver Nabeel Langrial was chatting with another cabbie last summer when an enforcement agent for the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission stopped to tell him his hat did not conform […]

Feds rule against a second Catholic college

By G. JEFFREY MacDONALD c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) For the second time this year, a federal regulator has rejected the First Amendment arguments of a Catholic college and cleared the way for the school’s adjunct faculty to unionize. […]

Commentary: Advice for the gentleman from New York

By CATHLEEN FALSANI c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) New York Rep. Anthony Weiner’s cybersex scandal is an opportunity for schadenfreude born in late-night-talk-show-monologue heaven. Oh, Anthony. What a spectacular shande, he of the unfortunately appropriate surname. So many jokes, […]

Ore. couple convicted in faith-healing trial

By STEVE MAYES c. 2011 Religion News Service OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) After just an hour of deliberation, jurors on Tuesday (June 7) unanimously found two members of a faith-healing church guilty of felony criminal mistreatment for not seeking medical […]

Egyptians want advice, not rule, of clerics

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Four months after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a new Gallup survey says a majority of Egyptians want religious leaders to advise the nation’s officials but they […]

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 […]

Judge hears monks’ suit over right to build caskets

By RAMON ANTONIO VARGAS c. 2011 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Wearing a monk’s robe, Abbot Justin Brown climbed into the witness box on Monday (June 6) and said the only people who ever opposed his abbey’s bid to […]

Asian bishops say abuse isn’t just ‘a problem of the West’

By HISASHI YUKIMOTO c. 2011 Religion News Service TOKYO (RNS/ENInews) Roman Catholic bishops from across Asia will hold a summit on “The Impact of Pedophilia” in the Catholic Church, saying abusive priests are not simply “a problem of the West.” […]

For evangelicals, Bachmann ‘speaks our code’

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour warned several hundred Christian conservatives gathered here last week (June 3-4) not to expect a “perfect candidate” to emerge from the field of Republican presidential contenders. […]

Feature: Ministry repairs kids’ bikes and lives

By MORGAN JAREMA c. 2011 Religion News Service GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) The doors of The Motion Initiative have just opened along a stretch of industrial buildings and already Thomas Fish can’t walk more than a few steps without being […]

Irish Abuse Probe Finishes ‘First Phase’

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) A Vatican investigation of clerical sex abuse in Ireland has finished its “first phase,” the Vatican announced on Monday (June 6), but a published report of its findings […]

Book says MacArthur flooded Japan with post-war religion

By SUZANNE McGEE c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS/ENInews) A new book on post-war Japan says Gen. Douglas MacArthur sought to fill the country’s “spiritual vacuum” with religious and quasi-religious beliefs, from Christianity to Freemasonry, as an antidote to communism. […]

Archbishop says he has proof of paddling’s pain

By BRUCE NOLAN c. 2011 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Archbishop Gregory Aymond says he has firsthand accounts from students who said they were injured by paddling at a Catholic high school, challenging school supporters who have filed suit […]

Feature: Tebow details blessed life rooted in faith

By CATHY LYNN GROSSMAN and SEAN LEAHY c. 2011 USA TODAY (RNS) Tim Tebow is a 23-year-old second-year, second-string quarterback on a so-so NFL team. So who’s going to buy his memoirs? What’s to remember? Only … — The play-by-play […]

Clinton defends religious freedom envoy

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended her new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom on Thursday (June 2), calling the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook a bridge-builder who is right […]

Crystal Cathedral goes up for sale

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) The Crystal Cathedral has announced plans to sell its iconic glass-walled church in Southern California to pay back creditors and overcome bankruptcy. Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, daughter of founder […]

Commentary: Harold and me

By DICK STAUB c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) California radio evangelist Harold Camping’s false prophecies about the Rapture and the end of the world, first in 1994 and now again in May 2011, are a bit of deja vu. […]

Adventists in Calif. city lose Sunday mail delivery

By ALBERT SABATE c. 2011 Religion News Service LOMA LINDA, Calif. (RNS) Postal carrier Ruth Gomez had prayed and waited for five years to be transferred to the Loma Linda Post Office so that she could finally put to rest […]

Vatican closes monastery that attracted aristocrats, dancing nun

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican has closed the monastery of a fourth-century Roman basilica on account of “liturgical and financial irregularities” that included performances by a nun who had once been […]

NCR publisher Joe Feuerherd dies at 48

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Joe Feuerherd, the editor-in-chief of National Catholic Reporter, who embodied the weekly newspaper’s fierce independence and liberal tilt, died on Wednesday (May 25) after an 18-month bout with cancer, NCR has […]

Second Catholic priest sworn in as House chaplain

By CHARLES POPE c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) The Rev. Patrick Conroy was sworn in Wednesday (May 25) as House chaplain, making him the first Jesuit to hold the position, and the first candidate forced to navigate around […]

Feature: Christians shatter taboos around talking about money

By G. JEFFREY MacDONALD c. 2011 Religion News Service BEVERLY, Mass. (RNS) No sooner had 29-year-old Graham Messier joined a small group at his church earlier this year than he found himself breaking an American taboo: talking about how much […]

Same-sex relations, marriage receive record approval

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Nearly two-thirds of Americans say gay or lesbian relations between consenting adults should be legal, the highest percentage ever recorded by Gallup. Researchers found that 64 percent of American adults […]

Katrina volunteers keep coming, even if they have to pay

By BRUCE NOLAN c. 2011 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS (RNS) A Methodist hurricane-recovery ministry that funneled nearly 68,000 hammer-wielding volunteers into metro New Orleans until it essentially ran out of money has reinvented itself — by asking volunteers to […]

Commentary: The (real) coming Judgment Day

By TOM EHRICH c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) If you are reading this, then you apparently didn’t qualify for the Rapture on May 21. Or Judgment Day predictors need better math. Either way, last Saturday belonged to God, not […]

Messiah alumni rally around gay students

By IVEY DEJESUS c. 2011 Religion News Service GRANTHAM, Pa. (RNS) Alumni at evangelical Messiah College have launched an online petition urging the conservative Christian school to change its policies toward gay and lesbian students. The petition has collected hundreds […]

Muhammad Ali pleads for prisoners’ release

By LAUREN MARKOE c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali joined other prominent Muslim Americans on Tuesday (May 24) to plead for the release of two American hikers who have been imprisoned in Iran for nearly […]

Vatican to weigh condoms in fighting AIDS

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) The morality and effectiveness of using condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS will be on the agenda at a Vatican conference this weekend (May 27-28), six months after comments by […]

Evangelist says Rapture date was off by five months

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Radio evangelist Harold Camping, who predicted the Rapture would occur on May 21, now says his calculations were off by five months. The 89-year-old president of the Family Radio network […]

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: How Didst the KJV Come to Be?

By PEGGY FLETCHER STACK c. 2011 Salt Lake Tribune (RNS) The King James Bible, translated from ancient Greek and Hebrew in 1611, is, by virtually all accounts, the most awe-inspiring work of English prose ever written. Over the past four […]

Couple faces trial as Ore. cracks down on faith healing

By STEVE MAYES and JEFF MAPES c. 2011 Religion News Service OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) A couple whose reliance on faith healing threatened their daughter’s eyesight will go on trial this week, one day after state lawmakers moved to strip […]

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 […]

Mormon Embrace of KJV Didn’t Come Early, or Easy

By PEGGY FLETCHER STACK c. 2011 Salt Lake Tribune (RNS) Though many early Mormon texts and speeches mirror the English prose of the King James Bible, it was not always the Mormons’ only authorized version of Holy Writ. In fact, […]

Chances Are Thou Keepest a KJV in Thy House

By CATHY LYNN GROSSMAN c. 2011 USA Today (RNS) If thou hast a Bible in the house and readeth it at least once a month, chances are strong it’s the majestic King James Version of the Bible in Elizabethan English, […]

Star Trek’s Spock Describes His Jewish Roots

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service ROCKVILLE, Md. (RNS) The V-shaped hand sign that made actor Leonard Nimoy famous as Mr. Spock may have seemed to be from a planet far away. But the “Star Trek” star […]

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 […]

Bishops at Center of Abuse Scandal, and Potential Reform

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) A sweeping new report on the clergy sex abuse scandal compares the Roman Catholic Church to police departments, with similar hierarchies, moral authority and isolated working environments. And because the […]

It’s The End of The World as They Know It, and Atheists Feel Fine

By YONAT SHIMRON c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Harold Camping’s campaign to warn Christians that the rapture is coming on Saturday (May 21) may have won him a band of followers, especially among those who have reportedly quit jobs […]

Israel Removes Land Mines from Site of Jesus’ Baptism

By JUDITH SUDILOVSKY c. 2011 Religion News Service QASR EL YAHUD, West Bank (RNS/ENInews) Pilgrims are flowing back to the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism on the Jordan River as Israel removes 40-year-old land mines and makes improvements to the […]

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 […]

Hawking Says Heaven Is for ‘People Afraid of the Dark’

By AL WEBB c. 2011 Religion News Service LONDON (RNS) Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s most eminent scientists, says the concept of heaven is “a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” In an interview with London’s […]

Vatican Gives Bishops One Year to Set Abuse Policies

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) The world’s Catholic bishops have one year to set national policies on clerical sex abuse of minors, the Vatican said on Monday (May 16), but such policies may […]

Billy Graham Returns Home from Hospital

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Evangelist Billy Graham returned home Sunday (May 15) after a five-day hospital stay for pneumonia. Graham, 92, has regained strength after treatment with antibiotics, according to his doctors at Mission […]

Dalai Lama, Nobel Laureates Tussle (Gently) over Violence

By DAVID GIAMBUSSO c. 2011 Religion News Service NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) The Dalai Lama says peace in the world begins with peace in oneself. Some of his fellow Nobel laureates, however, aren’t convinced. “It isn’t that I’m just an angry […]

Commentary: John Paul II, The Jewish Saint

By A. JAMES RUDIN c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) When the Vatican beatifies someone and places the person just one step away from sainthood, it usually attracts scant attention among Jews because it is correctly perceived as an internal […]

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 […]

Dalai Lama Brings Peace Message to New Jersey

By DAVID GIAMBUSSO c. 2011 Religion News Service NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) The Dalai Lama has a message for Newark: Peace does not come easily, but the strategy for attaining it is simple. Flanked by blue orchids, Buddhist monks and a […]

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 […]

Bill Would Strengthen Role of Religious Freedom Envoy

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) New legislation proposed by a leading congressional watchdog would push the State Department to make international religious freedom a greater priority. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., introduced a bill on Wednesday […]

A Quiver Full of Controversy

By CATHLEEN FALSANI c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) When Meg Moseley gave birth to her third child 20 years ago, doctors cautioned her against having any more babies, fearing that another difficult pregnancy might jeopardize her life. So Moseley […]

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 […]

Graham’s Doctor Says Condition Has Stabilized

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Billy Graham’s doctor confirmed Thursday (May 12) that the 92-year-old evangelist has pneumonia, but said he is doing well. Graham was taken Wednesday to Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., where […]

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 […]

Even After Win, Gay Clergy Likely to Remain Limited

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) Gay and lesbian advocates celebrated a landmark victory on Tuesday (May 10) when the Presbyterian Church (USA) entered the expanding ranks of Christian denominations that allow openly gay, partnered clergy. The […]

Navy Suspends Policy to Allow Gay Weddings

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Navy reversed course Tuesday (May 10) on plans to allow chaplains to officiate at same-sex marriage ceremonies once the military’s ban on openly gay members is repealed. […]

Abuse Victims Oppose Pick for House Chaplain

By KEVIN ECKSTROM c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) The nation’s leading advocacy group for victims of clergy sexual abuse is opposing an Oregon Jesuit’s bid to serve as House chaplain, saying he failed to follow up on alleged […]

Pastor Says False Navy SEAL Tale Was an ‘Ego-Builder’

By DAN MILLER c. 2011 Religion News Service HARRISBURG, Pa. (RNS) The Navy awards the gold Trident medal to those who have earned the right to be called a SEAL — the same elite fighting squad that shot and killed […]

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 […]

Muslims Battle to be Official Voice of U.S. Islam

By OMAR SACIRBEY c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) As president of the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy, an eight-year-old group that twins conservative and Islamic values, Zuhdi Jasser is no fan of the more visible Council on American-Islamic […]

Update: Jewish Paper Apologizes for Cropping Out Clinton

By MICHELE CHABIN c. 2011 Religion News Service JERUSALEM (RNS) An ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper in Brooklyn has apologized to the White House and State Department after the paper deleted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from a White House photograph […]

Chaplains Say Navy Wedding Policy Confuses a Fraught Debate

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) A recent Navy memo that would permit military chaplains to officiate at same-sex marriage ceremonies upon repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy is creating tension amid an […]

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 […]

Jewish Newspaper Erases Clinton from Photo

By MICHELE CHABIN c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) An ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper in Brooklyn deleted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from a White House photograph of top officials monitoring the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Yiddish-language […]

Study: 2 in 10 Atheist Scientists Are ‘Spiritual’

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) More than 20 percent of atheist scientists consider themselves to be “spiritual,” according to a Rice University study. The findings, to be published in the June issue of the journal […]

Scholars Chase Bible’s Changes, One Verse at a Time

By BRUCE NOLAN c. 2011 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Working in a cluster of offices above a LifeWay Christian Bookstore, Bible scholars are buried in a 20-year project to codify the thousands of changes, verse by verse, word […]

Charges Dropped Against Anti-Obama Protesters

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2011 Religion News Service (RNS) An Indiana prosecutor on Thursday (May 5) dropped trespassing charges against nearly 80 anti-abortion activists who protested President Obama’s 2009 commencement address and honorary degree at the University of Notre Dame. […]

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 […]

BBC Says Muslims Selling Tainted Holy Water from Mecca

By AL WEBB c. 2011 Religion News Service LONDON (RNS) A BBC investigation is claiming that holy drinking water from Mecca is contaminated with arsenic and is being sold illegally to Muslims at shops in Britain. The BBC report on […]

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 […]

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 […]

Bill Would Limit Military Funeral Protests

By KEVIN ECKSTROM c. 2011 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill that would make it harder for protesters from a fringe Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas, to protest outside military funerals. The […]

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. […]

State Department Fires Back at Ambassador

WASHINGTON (RNS) The State Department fired back at a prominent Catholic ambassador who said the agency has a “rigidly narrow” view of foreign policy that neglects the role of religion in world affairs. “I can’t imagine an agency that has […]

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 […]

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 […]

Kmiec’s Gospel Falls Flat in Foggy Bottom

posted by Jennifer E. Jones

(RNS) The State Department has a “rigidly narrow” view of diplomacy that neglects religion’s role in foreign affairs, a prominent Catholic ambassador charged on Sunday (April 17) as he announced his resignation. Other foreign policy experts have another name for […]

Burned Church Nears Completion as Suspect Found Guilty

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (RNS) As a white man surrendered to federal marshals Friday (April 15), workers were rebuilding the pulpit of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ that he was convicted of burning down the night of President Obama’s election. […]

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 […]

Study: Longer Life Spans Mean Less Need for Church

LONDON (RNS) Researchers at two of Britain’s top universities claim that church attendance in many Western nations is falling because people are living longer and therefore have less fear of death. The result, the studies say, is a “graying church.” […]

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 […]

Court Dismisses Challenge to National Day of Prayer

WASHINGTON (RNS) The law calling for an annual National Day of Prayer imposes solely on the duties of the U.S. president, leaving private citizens no legal standing to challenge it, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday (April 14). The unanimous […]

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 […]

Jurors Hear Closing Arguments in Church Arson Case

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (RNS) Jurors were urged Monday (April 11) to weigh the overwhelming evidence against a white man who is charged with a federal hate crime for allegedly torching a black church on the evening of President Obama’s election. Michael […]

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 […]

Germans Leaving Catholic Church in Droves

BERLIN (RNS) The number of Germans leaving the Roman Catholic Church rose dramatically in 2010 as Pope Benedict XVI’s homeland wrestled with reports of systematic sexual abuse of minors and attempted cover-ups, according to a study by a German newspaper. […]

Report: Ambassador Spends Too Much Time on Religion

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. ambassador to Malta, who helped rally Catholic support for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, has spent “considerable time” writing on topics beyond the mission of his office, particularly about matters of faith, according to a new State […]

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 […]

Evangelist Testifies in Ex-Bodyguard’s Murder Trial

WATERLOO, Ill. (RNS) Televangelist Joyce Meyer said Wednesday (April 6) she testified “honestly and truthfully” in a closed pretrial deposition in the murder trial of her former bodyguard, Christopher Coleman. But Meyer said she would honor a request not to […]

Feature: Skeletons in the Catholic Church’s Closet

(RNS) In its new Sunday night series, The Borgias, Showtime has found the magic combination for ultimate crowd appeal in a scintillating soap opera about a bad-boy pope. The Borgias follows the quasi-historic story of the Spanish noble family who, […]

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 […]

Embattled Religious Freedom Envoy the New ‘Iron Lady’

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Obama administration’s embattled nominee for religious freedom ambassador is comparing herself to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as she tries for a second time to land the post. “They called Margaret Thatcher the ‘iron lady,”‘ the […]

British Astrophysicist Wins Templeton Prize

(RNS) A British theoretical astrophysicist who has achieved renown for his study of the cosmos and for sounding warnings about the future of humanity has won the $1.6 million 2011 Templeton Prize. Martin J. Rees of Cambridge University, a former […]

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 […]

Millionaire Buys Paintings So Church Can Keep Them

CANTERBURY, England (RNS/ENInews) A self-effacing multimillionaire has become a local hero after buying a series of 17th-century religious paintings and then donating them back to the Church of England in a bid to help boost art tourism. Jonathan Ruffer, 59, […]

Top U.K. Druid Charged with Money Fraud

LONDON (RNS) One of the prominent figures in the revived ancient priesthood of Druidism in Britain has been charged with defrauding the government of 40,000 pounds (about $25,000) in welfare payments over the past eight years. Druid Terry Dobney, the […]

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 […]

Supreme Court Takes Dim View of Church-State Challenges

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Supreme Court on Monday (April 4) rejected a challenge to an Arizona school tuition credit program critics contend was principally benefiting religious institutions. The 5-4 decision, combined with a 2007 ruling rejecting a similar challenge to the […]

Man Denies Author’s Claim that He killed Malcolm X

NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) For 46 years, the chief assassin of slain civil rights icon Malcolm X has been hiding in plain sight in Newark, according to a major new biography of the African-American leader released Monday (April 4). Al-Mustafa Shabazz […]

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 […]

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Former Muslim Wants to See Change
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=348P3ooQUPk   Author and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke at the National Press Club on April 7th and said there needs to be five amendments to Islam. She said “individuals” within Islam today ...

posted 9:08:12am Apr. 10, 2015 | read full post »

Hispanics turning evangelical, Jews secular
Worship service attendance is up in New York City, but down among young adult Jews, according to recent studies. On the other hand, fewer Spanish-speaking teens are attending Catholic mass, but more are showing up at Evangelical ...

posted 3:10:30pm Nov. 05, 2013 | read full post »

Billy Graham: I know where I'm going
“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, ...

posted 10:02:01am Oct. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Are All These Christians' Complaints of Persecution Just So Much Empty Whining?
The headlines are alarming: “Catholic-Owned Company Wins Religious Freedom Court Decision,” “Death Toll Rises to 65 in Boko Haram Attack on Students,” “Little Sisters Catholic Charity Victimized By Obamacare,” “Christians Sought ...

posted 2:41:26am Oct. 07, 2013 | read full post »

How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
So, a crazed gunman opens fire and you’re caught in the middle. How can you survive? Heroes come in all sorts of packages. And they wield all sorts of defensive weapons. Such as guns and Jesus. Sometimes both at the same time. [caption ...

posted 2:53:48pm Sep. 27, 2013 | read full post »

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