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Beliefnet News Archives

Group Says Park Service Stalling on Religious Displays

(RNS) A national alliance of public employees is accusing the National Park Service of “leadership paralysis” for not addressing questions about religious displays at federal parks. The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility had asked the Park Service last September […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

Ala. Church Bans Employees’ Social Networking with Minors

MOBILE, Alabama (RNS) The Archdiocese of Mobile has told staff and volunteers who work with children that electronic communication with minors must be limited to “providing information related to a ministry or event and not for socialization or other personal […]

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 […]

Showtime Soap Opera Features History’s Bad-Boy Pope

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Modern popes have had their fans and detractors, but few would dispute their reputations for personal virtue. That’s partly why the five most recent pontiffs — including John Paul II, who will be beatified on May 1 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Religious Freedom Envoy Tries for a Second Time

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Obama administration’s nominee to oversee international religious freedom returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday (March 29) in her second bid to charm senators who have doubts about her lack of experience. “The life and professional background I […]

Jews Pressure Facebook over Palestinian Page

(RNS) Facebook shut down a “Third Palestinian Intifada” page and similar groups this week, prompted by complaints from Jewish groups that the content had crossed the line from free speech to violent incitement. The campaign has raised questions about whether […]

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, […]

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 […]

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, […]

Previous Posts

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 churches. [caption id="attachment_12343" align="alignleft" width="48

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, that he would live to see the beginning of a Christian re

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 Out, Murdered in the Kenyan Mall Massacre,” “Judicial

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 id="attachment_12246" align="alignleft" width="480"] Ant

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

Does Sunday Morning Church Really Need All This Glitter, Showmanship and Gimmickry?
What’s wrong with church today? Are we in danger of turning worship into a flashy concert? Of watering down the message so nobody is offended? Of forgetting the simplicity of the Gospel? I grew up with a preacher’s kid. He was a fake following in the footsteps of his flimflamming father who d

posted 11:26:20am Sep. 20, 2013 | read full post »

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