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Irish Police Arrest Seven in Plot to Kill Swedish Cartoonist

posted by mconsoli

LONDON (RNS) Police in Ireland say they have arrested seven suspects in an alleged plot to murder a Swedish cartoonist for depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog. Drawings by Lars Vilks triggered widespread anger by Muslims […]

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German Catholics to Investigate Abuse Charges

posted by mconsoli

BERLIN – Catholic authorities in Germany announced two major abuse investigations Wednesday – one into the renowned choir once led by Pope Benedict XVI’s brother and another more general look into what everyone, including the pope, knew about the sexual […]

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Reform Rabbis Shift to Acceptance on Intermarriage

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) In a major shift, Reform rabbis have publicly acknowledged intermarriage as a “given” that calls for increased outreach and understanding, rather than a threat to Jewish identity that must be resisted at all costs. The Central Conference of American […]

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Pope’s Brother Admits Striking Students, Denies Knowledge of Abuse

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The elder brother of Pope Benedict XVI admitted striking members of the German boys’ choir that he led for three decades, but denied knowing that some of the boys were victims of clerical sex abuse. “I must […]

Supreme Court to Weigh Limits of Kansas Church’s Hate Speech

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday (March 8) to decide whether the father of a fallen soldier can sue religious protesters for picketing at his son’s funeral with signs that read “Thank God for dead soldiers.” The […]

Bishops of Hiroshima, Nagasaki Seek Nuclear Ban

posted by mconsoli

TOKYO (RNS/ENI) The Roman Catholic bishops of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — the only cities in the world that were leveled by atomic bombs — are urging world leaders to abolish nuclear weapons. Nagasaki Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami and Hiroshima Bishop […]

Ore. Parents Get 16 Months in Son’s Faith-Healing Death

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A judge sentenced two Oregon parents to 16 months in prison on Monday (March 8), calling their decision to not seek medical care for their 16-year-old son a “crime that was a product of an unwillingness to respect the […]

Pope to Meet Top German Bishop to Address Abuse

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Pope Benedict XVI will meet with the head of Germany’s Catholic bishops on Friday (March 12) to discuss allegations of widespread sexual abuse of children in the pope’s homeland. Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, president of the German bishops’ […]

Pope’s Brother’s Choir Faces Abuse Claims

posted by mconsoli

BERLIN – An ever-widening sexual abuse scandal involving Germany’s Roman Catholic Church spilled into the heart of Pope Benedict XVI’s homeland Friday when a former member of a boy’s choir led for 30 years by his brother claimed he was […]

Abortion Coverage Dispute Divides House Democrats

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON – On the other side of the obstacle course that President Barack Obama must clear to get his health care overhaul, a final trapdoor is lurking: the divisive politics of abortion. The issue pits House Democrats against each other […]

Dutch Anti-Islam Politician Creates Stir in UK

posted by mconsoli

LONDON – Dutch anti-Islam maverick Geert Wilders took his cinematic assault on the Quran to Britain’s House of Lords on Friday, sparking heated debate inside the chamber and angry protests outside. The invitation to London, and Wilders’ stunning political gains […]

Christians, Muslims Agree to Pursue Peace

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) Christian and Muslim leaders from the U.S., the Vatican and the Middle East have issued a “plan of action” to address religious freedom and peace-building after a three-day summit at Washington National Cathedral. The group’s two-page statement committed […]

Atheist Group Offers Porn in Exchange for Sacred Texts

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The sign on the campus of the University of Tex-San Antonio was bound to get attention: “Trade in holy text 4 porn.” The annual event sponsored by the Atheist Agenda student group, “Smut for Smut,” sparked enough protest and […]

D.C. Bishop OKs Civil Marriages for Gay Couples

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) One day after the District of Columbia legalized gay marriage, the city’s Episcopal bishop said priests may preside over and bless same-sex civil marriages, but cannot use the denomination’s marriage rites. “We are of equal value in the […]

Muslim Scholar Issues “Fatwa” Against Al-Qaeda Terrorism

posted by mconsoli

London (dpa) – An influential Muslim scholar with a large following in Britain Tuesday issued a fatwa – or Islamic religious ruling – which condemned global terrorism and branded suicide bombers as the “heroes of hellfire.” The proclamation by Pakistan-born […]

Allegations of False Testimony in 2007 Trial of Polygamous Sect Leader Surface

posted by mconsoli

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an allegation of dishonest testimony about medical records of the state’s key witness during the 2007 criminal trial of FLDS polygamous sect prophet Warren S. Jeffs. According to a sheriff’s report, the investigation […]

Jews, Muslims Worry Body Scanners Violate Religious Laws

posted by mconsoli

By OMAR SACIRBEY (RNS) Canadian lawyer Kerry Gearin is planning to fly to Washington, D.C., this summer for a conference on Islamic family law, but the full-body scanners being deployed in some U.S. airports make her wonder if she’ll be […]

Are Atheists and Liberals Smarter?

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Are people with high IQs more likely to be liberal, atheist and monogamous? They are, according to a recently published paper by Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In a controversial […]

Faith-Based Alliance Seeks Health Care for Working Poor

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Noemi Rasgado and Antoinette Hamilton are in the same boat. Both are sick and both work. But neither makes enough to afford health insurance, forcing them to go without health care as the clock ticks down toward an emergency. […]

For Traveling Jews, No More Wandering Alone in the Wilderness

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Andre Ufferfilge figures he probably could have found a couch to crash on in Israel through friends of friends, but he instead found a home-cooked kosher meal and acceptance for his traditional Jewish lifestyle. Before he left his university […]

D.C. Catholic Charities Drops Spousal Benefits in Gay Marriage Dispute

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Archdiocese of Washington’s social service branch will stop offering benefits to spouses of new employees in a bid to balance the District of Columbia’s new same-sex marriage law with Catholic opposition to homosexuality. Edward Orzechowski, president and […]

Interfaith Group Urges Renewed Attention on Sudan

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Interfaith leaders urged Congress on Tuesday (March 2) to refocus attention on Sudan as the troubled nation in eastern Africa faces a “critical juncture” after being torn by years of conflict. As the attention of the public and Congress […]

Judge Urges Counseling for Parents of Teen Convert

posted by mconsoli

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A judge urged an Ohio couple to stick with counseling toward a reconciliation with their teenage daughter, who ran away to Florida last year claiming she would be harmed for converting from Islam to Christianity. Rifqa Bary’s […]

Pope: I Pray for Chile Quake Victims

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged the survivors of Chile’s devastating quake to be courageous and asked the Catholic church to play a role in relief efforts. The pontiff, speaking first in Italian and then in Spanish, […]

Nation of Islam Leader Says Chile’s Earthquake Signal of ‘What’s Coming’ to America

posted by mconsoli

CHICAGO – Calling this weekend’s earthquake in Chile a divine precursor to his planned speech, controversial Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan predicted on Sunday that America will face its own imminent disaster and must prepare. Delivering a message […]

White House Faith-Based Council Adopts Recommendations

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) After a year’s work, a White House advisory council on faith-based programs adopted dozens of recommendations on Friday (Feb. 26) on everything from church-state separation to fighting poverty and promoting fatherhood. The 25-member advisory council also called for […]

Under New Rules, Mo. Church with Gay Pastor Readmitted to ELCA

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A Missouri bishop has lifted the public censure of a church that hired a lesbian priest in 2000 — believed to be a first since the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination removed a ban on gay clergy last summer. Bishop […]

Sweat Lodge Guru Attorneys Argue Against $5M Bail

posted by mconsoli

PRESCOTT, Ariz. – An Arizona judge said Wednesday that he will modify the conditions of release for a motivational speaker charged with manslaughter, but will wait to issue a written order on the matter later this week. Attorneys for James […]

Pieces of Rare Biblical Manuscript Reunited

posted by mconsoli

JERUSALEM – Two parts of an ancient biblical manuscript separated across centuries and continents were reunited for the first time in a joint display Friday, thanks to an accidental discovery that is helping illuminate a dark period in the history […]

Chaplains Keep Wary Eye On Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell Repeal

posted by mconsoli

c. 2010 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) As Congress and the Pentagon grapple with a proposal to allow gays to serve openly in the military, some chaplains — especially evangelicals — worry the change will infringe on their religious beliefs. […]

Study: Catholic Students More Prone to `Hook Up’ at College

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Women at Catholic colleges engage more frequently in sexual “hook ups” than women at secular colleges, a new study shows, and researchers suspect alcohol may be the reason. The study defines a “hook up” as “a physical encounter between […]

Black Churches Team Up to Tackle Problems Facing Black Men

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The leaders of three black Methodist denominations are joining together — for the first time in 45 years — to address unemployment, crime and other problems that disproportionately affect black men. “`When people talk about us being in […]

Photographer Had Rare Access to Fundamentalist Mormons

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) This month’s National Geographic magazine cover story “The Polygamists” offers a rare look inside the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a polygamous off-shoot of the mainstream Mormon Church. The story wouldn’t have been the same without […]

Lutherans Seeing Fallout Over Gay Clergy Issue

posted by nsymmonds

Until a few weeks ago, the Rev. Gail Sowell was pastor at two Lutheran churches in the small Wisconsin town of Edgar. That was before members of both congregations jumped headfirst into the simmering debate over gay clergy in the […]

Jewish Groups Agree to Civility Despite Differences

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) Jewish agencies have resolved to handle internal disagreements over Middle East policy, health care reform and other polarizing issues calmly and respectfully, while banding together to confront what one leader called “a growing, global campaign to delegitimize Israel.” About […]

ACLU Files Suit Over USAID’s Abstinence Programs

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against the U.S. Agency for International Development for not providing information about “religiously infused” abstinence programs the agency has funded. The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday (Feb. 18), follows a […]

Clergy Seek IRS Probe of D.C. Boarding House

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) A group of 13 Ohio clergy is asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a Washington boarding house used by conservative members of Congress that claims a tax exemption as a church. The C Street Center, a red […]

Black Churches Team Up To Tackle Problems Facing Black Men

posted by mconsoli

The leaders of three black Methodist denominations are joining together — for the first time in 45 years — to address unemployment, crime and other problems that disproportionately affect black men. “`When people talk about us being in an economic […]

Dalai Lama Gets His Own Official Twitter Page

posted by mconsoli

Twitter’s founder says the Dalai Lama laughed at the thought of using the social networking service. But the Tibetan spiritual leader now has an official Twitter site – and more than 68,000 followers. Twitter founder Evan Williams posted a message […]

Dalai Lama Doesn’t Fault Obama for Low-Key Meeting

posted by mconsoli

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The Dalai Lama says he doesn’t fault President Obama for his low-key reception in Washington because he recognizes that the president must juggle ties to the Tibetan spiritual leader with concerns about angering China. The Dalai […]

Israel Adds West Bank Shrines to Protected Sites List

posted by nsymmonds

JERUSALEM (RNS) A decision to include two West Bank shrines in a list of Jewish heritage sites slated for preservation has been praised by religious and right-wing Jews and scorned by Palestinians and their supporters. Speaking at a Sunday (Feb. […]

The Economy’s Immoral and People are Angry, But then What?

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) Ever since the Great Recession began in the fall of 2008, Christians and other faith leaders have criticized the speculative excess and greed that led to the crisis. A consensus on what to do about it, however, has yet […]

Wife of Televangelist Benny Hinn Files for Divorce

posted by nsymmonds

ORANGE, Calif. – The wife of televangelist Benny Hinn has filed for divorce from the high-profile pastor, whose reputation as an advocate of prosperity gospel has attracted millions of followers and criticism from lawmakers and watchdog groups over his lavish […]

EEOC Settles Claim Between UPS, Rastafarian

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Shipping giant UPS will pay $46,000 in damages to a Rastafarian employee who was fired after he refused to cut his hair or trim his beard, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday (Feb. 17). According to the […]

Only 5 of Top 25 U.S. Churches Report Membership Growth

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) U.S. membership has increased in the Catholic Church — the nation’s largest Christian body — but the No. 2 Southern Baptist Convention, along with most mainline protestant denominations, reported continuing decline, according to new figures released by the National […]

Dissidents Unveil New Rival North American Lutheran Church

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) Saying they’re done with efforts to reform the nation’s largest Lutheran body, dissidents unveiled blueprints Thursday (Feb. 18) for a rival denomination, the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The new body, which will hew to a more traditional line […]

Muslim Women to Mosque: Tear Down this Wall

posted by aroan

(RNS) The walls that segregate Muslim men from women inside many American mosques took a long time to go up, and it could be a long time before they come down. On Saturday (Feb. 20), Fatima Thompson will find out […]

Critics Pleased as Obama Meets with Dalai Lama

posted by aroan

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama met with the Dalai Lama on Thursday (Feb. 18), four months after critics questioned his commitment to human rights when Obama declined a one-on-one meeting with the exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Religious freedom advocates hailed […]

Catholics Ask Pope to Suspend Sainthood for Pius XII

posted by aroan

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Catholic historians and theologians are urging Pope Benedict XVI to suspend the sainthood process for the controversial World War II pontiff, Pius XII, until further research clarifies Pius’ record during the Holocaust. “Holy Father, we implore you, […]

Wiccan Chaplain Battles for State Recognition

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A volunteer Wiccan chaplain is headed to a federal appeals court in an attempt to get California to hire prison clergy outside five religious categories. Supported by interfaith scholars and church-state separationists, the Rev. Patrick McCollum argues that the […]

Haiti Judge to Free Some Detained US Missionaries

posted by mconsoli

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A Haitian judge said some of the 10 U.S. missionaries arrested on charges of child kidnapping would be released Wednesday, nearly three weeks after they were caught trying to take a group of children out of the […]

Vatican Putting Wartime Archives on Internet

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican plans to make some of its World War II archives available on the Internet soon to calm down the controversy over Pope Pius XII’s actions during the Holocaust. The Vatican’s newspaper announced the plan, saying […]

Obama Names Envoy to Muslim Nations

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday (Feb.16) officially introduced the Obama administration’s new special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, 31-year-old White House lawyer Rashad Hussain. Hussain is the American-born son of Indian Muslim immigrants; he […]

Pope Condemns ‘Heinous Crime’ of Sexual Abuse

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI concluded an unprecedented two-day crisis management session with Ireland’s Catholic bishops on Tuesday (Feb. 16), denouncing the sexual abuse of children as “not only a heinous crime but also a grave sin.” Benedict and […]

Clinton Prosecutor Kenneth Starr Named Baylor President

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel whose long-running probe led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, has been named the new president of Baylor University, the world’s largest Baptist university. Starr, who has been the dean of the […]

Dalai Lama Says He’s Happy to Meet Obama this Week

posted by mconsoli

DHARMSALA, India – The Dalai Lama says he is happy about meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington later this week. The Tibetan spiritual leader left for New Delhi on Tuesday from the northern Indian town of Dharmsala where he […]

For Some, AA’s ‘Higher Power’ is Step in Wrong Direction

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) By the end of January, plenty of New Year’s resolutions have been broken. For those who have ignored pledges to hit the gym every day, or stay away from “American Idol,” a broken resolution is little more than an […]

As Olympics Begin, a Prayer for Snow

posted by mconsoli

Toronto (RNS/ENI) As the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, open on Friday (Feb. 12) many are focused on praying for the athletes, for the community hosting the event, and, just as passionately, for snow. The British Columbia cities of […]

Episcopal Head Reflects on Devastated Haiti Diocese

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The most populous diocese in the Episcopal Church doesn’t sit along the Eastern seaboard; it’s not a notch on the Bible Belt; and it lies nearly 3,000 miles from California’s golden shores. Actually, it’s in Haiti, a fact that […]

Canada’s Housing Agency Approves Islamic Mortgages

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A report for Canada’s national housing agency says Shariah-compliant mortgages would pose no legal problems. Neither would other Islamic financial products, states the 88-page study, done for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. “Islamic financial products should not present […]

Poll: Young Catholics Anti-Abortion, Pro-Pluralism

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Young American Catholics largely support their church’s teachings against abortion and euthanasia, while taking a relativistic attitude to religion and morality in general, according to a new poll. According to a poll released on Thursday (Feb. 11), two thirds […]

White House Faith Office Answers Critics

posted by mconsoli

The White House’s faith-based office is defending itself against critics who complain that not much has changed since president bush was in office. In recent weeks, the complaints against the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships have mounted. The 25-member […]

Archbishop of Canterbury Laments `Chaos’ Over Women, Gays

posted by mconsoli

LONDON (RNS) Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams warned Anglican clergy on Tuesday (Feb. 9) that their debate about female and gay bishops is causing “chaos” that must be resolved if the Church of England is to be unified. In a […]

U.S.-Islam Summit Comes at Delicate Time

posted by mconsoli

2010 Religion News Service (RNS) “Talk with as many people as you can. Talk vertically, talk laterally.” That’s the advice of the Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, for attendees of the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar. […]

Irish Sex Abuse Victims Ask Church for $1 billion

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Irish victims of clerical sex abuse have asked Pope Benedict XVI for over $1.37 billion in compensation, in a letter that the head of Ireland’s Catholic Church will hand-deliver to the pope next week. Cardinal Sean Brady […]

FLDS has New President, but Is Jeffs Still Their Prophet?

posted by mconsoli

Feb. 6–A new president has been called to lead a controversial polygamous sect, replacing jailed leader Warren S. Jeffs in that post. Wendell Nielsen, 69, is now president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and of […]

No Consensus for Obama Advisers on Tricky Church-State Issues

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The 25-member council advising the White House on faith-based issues has voted on two contentious issues for religious charities that receive government funds. By a vote of 13-12, the council members said the government should require houses of worship […]

Vatican Official Calls for ‘Ecumenical Catechism’

posted by mconsoli

A senior Vatican official called on Monday (Feb. 8) for “an ecumenical catechism” setting forth the common beliefs of the Catholic and major Protestant churches. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, announced the proposal […]

Baptist Leaders Urge Obama to Help Haiti Missionaries

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Southern Baptist leaders have appealed to President Obama to assist in the release of 10 American missionaries charged with kidnapping children in Haiti. “We do not know all of the facts of this case, but we are concerned that […]

Leading U.S. Catholic Bishop Denounces Gay Group

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The top U.S. Catholic bishop has denounced a Maryland-based gay ministry that has advocated on behalf of same-sex marriage, saying the group “confuses the faithful” and does not speak on behalf of the church. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, […]

On Free Jewish Trips to Israel, Love Is In the Air

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) When Jodie Arbesman and Dan Williams flew to Tel Aviv with hundreds of other college students 10 years ago, they looked forward to a fun, free trip offered by a new program for Jewish young adults. They had no […]

NCC Head Challenges Goldman Sachs on Bonuses

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The head of the National Council of Churches is challenging investment giant Goldman Sachs to use half of its $20 billion bonus pool to help rebuild Haiti after its devastating earthquake. Haiti’s entire gross domestic product (the basic measure […]

Vatican Drops Condoms-AIDS Study

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican office responsible for health care matters said Friday (Feb. 5) that it had stopped work on a long-expected study of condoms and AIDS, and that “nothing serious” had been done on the project. “There was […]

Colts Coaches, Players Carry Deep Faith Into Super Bowl

posted by mconsoli

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (RNS) It’s easy to see why, if there are no atheists in foxholes, there are also few on a field where huge, strong men collide at tremendous speeds. Football players who gather at midfield to pray together […]

Attorney: 10 US Baptists Charged with Child Kidnap

posted by nsymmonds

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Ten members of a U.S. missionary group who said they were trying to rescue 33 child victims of Haiti’s devastating earthquake were charged with child kidnapping and criminal association on Thursday, their lawyer said. Edwin Coq said […]

Obama Challenges Evangelicals on Uganda, Citizenship

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) President Obama chided conservative religious and political leaders at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday (Feb. 4), condemning an anti-gay bill in Uganda and challenging them not to question his faith or his citizenship. “We may disagree about gay marriage, […]

Obama, Dalai Lama to Meet in February

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON – The White House says President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama will meet at the White House this month. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs confirmed to reporters Thursday that the meeting would be in February but didn’t specify a […]

Self-Help Speaker Charged in Sweat Lodge Deaths

posted by mconsoli

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Months after authorities focused a homicide investigation on James Arthur Ray, the motivational speaker was indicted on manslaughter charges that could land him in prison and topple his self-help empire. Ray was arrested Wednesday in Prescott, Ariz., […]

Clergy Blast Supreme Court Ruling on Election Spending

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) A coalition of religious leaders from a variety of faiths on Wednesday (Feb. 3) blasted the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows large corporations unlimited financial support of candidates during elections. The group of more than 200 leaders, many […]

Ore. Parents Guilty in Son’s Faith-Healing Death

posted by mconsoli

OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) Jurors sent a clear signal Tuesday (Feb. 2) that parents who rely solely on faith healing to treat their children face prison if a child dies. Jeffrey and Marci Beagley were found guilty of criminally negligent […]

Calif. Church Gets into the Game With Super Bowl Doritos Ad

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) As debate swirls around Tim Tebow’s anti-abortion views being aired in a $2.5 million Super Bowl ad, a church in Pasadena, Calif., is taking a completely different tack. A commercial created by Mosaic, a congregation that’s home to many […]

Graham Tops List of Most Influential Preachers

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) The Rev. Billy Graham was named by U.S. pastors as the country’s most influential living preacher, according to a recent survey by LifeWay Research. The study, conducted last November, interviewed more than 1,000 Protestant pastors by telephone. The participants […]

Gay Groups Pressure Obama Over Prayer Breakfast

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Progressive religious leaders on Tuesday (Feb. 2) unveiled plans to hold a multi-city event to protest Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast because of its sponsor’s alleged ties to an anti-gay bill in Uganda. The alternative American Prayer Hour will […]

China Says Opposes Obama Meeting with Dalai Lama

posted by nsymmonds

BEIJING – Any meeting between President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama would harm bilateral relations, China warned Tuesday while repeating Beijing’s refusal to discuss Tibet’s status with the spiritual leader’s envoys. An Obama meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader […]

Haiti Says Baptists May Be Tried In US

posted by mconsoli

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti’s prime minister said Monday it’s clear to him that the 10 U.S. Baptists who tried to take 33 children out of his quake-ravaged country without permission “knew what they were doing was wrong.” But Prime Minister […]

Murdered Abortion Doctor’s Church Prays for Peaceful Sanctuaries

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Wichita, Kansas, church where abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was shot to death reacted to the guilty verdict Friday (Jan. 29) in the killing by praying that houses of worship be places of peace. “While these proceedings will […]

Germany Proposes Formal Education for Imams, Islamic Scholars

posted by mconsoli

BERLIN (RNS) German political and religious leaders appear mostly supportive of a proposal to provide training for imams and other Islamic scholars at German universities. The recommendation, issued Friday (Jan. 29) after two years of study by the German Council […]

Air Force Builds Worship Space for Wiccans

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado will set aside a worship space for followers of “Earth-centered” religions such as Wicca and Druidism, according to an Air Force news release. A stone circle atop a hill on the base […]

Man Convicted of Murdering Kan. Abortion Provider

posted by mconsoli

WICHITA, Kan. – Jurors swiftly convicted an abortion opponent of murder Friday for shooting to death one of the only doctors to offer late-term abortions in the U.S., a killing the gunman claimed was justified to save the lives of […]

Muslim Advocates Decry Councilwoman Facebook Post

posted by mconsoli

LANCASTER, California – Muslim advocates are demanding an apology from a California city councilwoman for posting anti-Muslim comments on her Facebook social networking page. Muslim organizations in California on Friday called on Lancaster Councilwoman Sherry Marquez to apologize for a […]

As Future Looks Uncertain, Exhibit Celebrates Nuns’ Colorful Past

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) Ever since the first Catholic nuns set out for America nearly 300 years ago, their sisterhood has been besieged by pirates, attacked by Nativists, bullied by lumberjacks, swarmed by mosquitoes, harangued by bishops, robbed by bandits, hemmed in […]

Author Worries Online Communities are Hurting Real Ones

posted by mconsoli

Religion News Service PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) When it comes to Facebook, Jesse Rice sees an immensely popular social networking site that’s great for sharing photos and keeping in touch with friends. He also sees something that encourages attitudes and behaviors […]

As Testimony Ends in Proposition 8 Trial, Both Sides Figure They Won

posted by mconsoli

Jan. 28–SAN FRANCISCO — The Proposition 8 trial ended on Wednesday, having provided an unprecedented glimpse into the social conflict over whether same-sex couples should have the right to marry and serving as the first stage of a prolonged legal […]

Faced With Scandal, Haggard’s Wife Tells Why She Stayed

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Under similar circumstances, many women would have kicked their husbands to the couch. Or the curb. But for Gayle Haggard, the gay sex-and-drug scandal that toppled her husband’s ministry was simply ” the mountain we had to go over.” […]

After Quake, Haiti Missionaries Ask: ‘Why (Not) Me?’

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Having survived a devastating earthquake during a 10-day mission trip to Haiti, Freedom Gassoway now savors every minute she spends at home with her family in Beaverton, Ore. But for this 33-year-old mother of two, some of life has […]

Pope Commemorates 65th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

posted by mconsoli

Vatican City (dpa) – Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday recalled the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, and event which revealed “the unprecedented cruelty,” of the Nazi Holocaust. The 82-year-old pontiff made the remarks […]

Book Traces the Long Strange Trip of Drug-Induced Spirituality

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) If the word “psychedelic” conjures up images of San Francisco or Woodstock, there’s much more to learn from journalist Don Lattin’s mind-blowing guided tour of the colorful people who gave birth to America’s psychedelic era in an unlikely place: […]

Doctor Testifies for Parents in Faith-Healing Death

posted by nsymmonds

OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) When their son became ill, Jeffrey and Marci Beagley were confronted by several symptoms that would concern any reasonable parent but gave no indication that death was imminent, a pediatrician told jurors on Monday (Jan. 25). […]

Polish Bishop, Under Fire from Jews, Steps Back from Statement

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A Polish Catholic bishop who has been denounced for calling the Holocaust a “Jewish invention” distanced himself from the statement on Tuesday (Jan. 26), saying that he had been misunderstood. In an interview published Monday (Jan. 25) […]

Usher Testifies He Saw Kan. Abortion Doc’s Slaying

posted by mconsoli

WICHITA, Kan. – An usher testified Monday that he watched the man accused of killing prominent abortion provider Dr. George Tiller approach the doctor in church, put a gun to his head and pull the trigger. Gary Hoepner, who like […]

Panel to Favor Partial Ban on Full Veil in France

posted by mconsoli

PARIS – A parliamentary panel will recommend on Tuesday that France ban face-covering Muslim veils in public locations such as hospitals and schools, but not in private buildings or on the street, the group’s president said. The decision appeared to […]

Zen Master: Vietnam Must Grant Religious Freedom

posted by mconsoli

HANOI, Vietnam – One of the world’s most famous Zen masters made a plea Monday for religious freedom in his homeland, saying Vietnam’s communist leaders have lost touch with their revolutionary ideals and Buddhist traditions. Thich Nhat Hanh, who helped […]

Opening Statements Begin in Abortion Slaying Trial

posted by mconsoli

WICHITA, Kan. – Jurors in the trial of the man charged with shooting Dr. George Tiller will hear from witnesses who saw the abortion provider gunned down at his church, listen to the 911 call made moments later and see […]

Huge Islamic Gathering Begins in Bangladesh

posted by mconsoli

TONGI, Bangladesh – Tens of thousands of Muslims began streaming to the banks of the River Turag north of the Bangladesh capital Friday for the start of a three-day Islamic gathering that will likely attract three million devotees for a […]

Military Contractor to Pull Bible Verses on Weapons

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A Michigan military contractor said Thursday (Jan. 21) it will remove encoded scripture references on weapons it builds for U.S. military after a firestorm of complaints arose from both believers and atheists. “Trijicon has proudly served the U.S. military […]

Nearly Half of Americans Admit to Anti-Muslim Bias

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Close to half of Americans admit to harboring prejudice against Muslims and negative feelings about Islam, a new study from the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies shows. The level of anti-Muslim prejudice — 43 percent of Americans admitted feeling […]

Evangelicals Stake Lewis’ Claim on Liberal Mass. Turf

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) At the point where Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts come together, and about a mile from a forest called Satans Kingdom, Northfield, Mass., isn’t exactly what you’d call a hotbed of either conservatives or evangelicals. Yet when a new […]

Trial Opens in Oregon Faith-healing Death

posted by aroan

OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) As Neil Beagley lay dying on his grandmother’s bed, his parents did not take him to a hospital or call 9-1-1 or make any lifesaving efforts, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday (Jan. 19). “They did nothing […]

At Trial, Gay Man Says ‘Reversal’ Therapy Did Not Change Him

posted by aroan

Associated Press – January 20, 2010 SAN FRANCISCO – A gay man testified Wednesday in a federal same-sex marriage trial that the “reversal therapy” he underwent as a teenager to change his sexual orientation drove him to the brink of […]

Muslim Scholars Critical of US Policy Can Return

posted by aroan

Associated Press – January 20, 2010 NEW YORK – Two prominent Muslim scholars once accused of ties to terrorism are cleared to travel to the United States now that the State Department has concluded they pose no danger to the […]

A Miracle for Haitian Orphans

posted by mconsoli

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — In a place desperately in need of miracles, here’s one: Scores of children about to enter the dining room of a church were spared when dinner was late. Other kids were saved when Seker Dorval, 17, one […]

Egypt Announces Find of Ancient Cat Goddess Temple

posted by mconsoli

CAIRO – Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old temple that may have been dedicated to the ancient Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said Tuesday. The ruins of the Ptolemaic-era temple were discovered by Egyptian archaeologists in the […]

Civil Rights Icon Says King’s Dream Has Been Hijacked

posted by mconsoli

AUBURN, Ala. — The Rev. Joseph Lowery, an icon of the 1960s civil rights movement, cautioned an Auburn University audience not to “sanitize” the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s achievements. Speaking at an event to mark King’s birthday on Friday […]

In Ravaged Haiti, Aid Workers Among the Victims

posted by mconsoli

MIAMI – Haiti’s limitless poverty and hardship have long drawn aid groups and charities from across the world. Now the same people who tried to do good before the earthquake find themselves trapped in the rubble, out of touch with […]

Pope Defends Outreach to Anglicans

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI defended his plan to make it easier for Anglicans to convert to Catholicism, saying that it served the “ultimate purpose” of dialogue between the two denominations. The pope spoke on Friday (Jan. 15), at […]

Court Says Ky. Courthouse Can Keep 10 Commandments

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday (Jan. 14) that a Kentucky county courthouse can keep its Ten Commandments display, overturning a lower court ruling. The “Foundations of American Law and Government Display,” at a Grayson County, Ky., courthouse […]

Mormons Are the Most Conservative, Poll Finds

posted by mconsoli

Mormons are the most conservative, poll finds: Being linked so closely to the GOP presents problems, some say. Jan. 13–On the same day an LDS blog picked powerful Senate Democrat Harry Reid as “Mormon of the Year,” a Gallup poll […]

An Anxious Wait for Word from Haiti

posted by mconsoli

“I’m ok. Can’t call. I’m OK. Start the list.” There was a crack in the Rev. Jeffrey Vamos’ voice when that text message made it out of Haiti and arrived in his parish hall Wednesday (Jan. 13) afternoon. “I’m a […]

Is There Any Common Ground on Abortion?

posted by mconsoli

As the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision nears, anti-abortion activists prepare for the annual March for Life and their counterparts plan religious services to pray for the safety of abortion providers. But, 37 years after the contentious Supreme […]

Pat Robertson: Haiti ‘Cursed’ Since Deal with the Devil

posted by mconsoli

Jan. 14–VIRGINIA BEACH — Broadcaster Pat Robertson offered an explanation Wednesday for the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti: a purported pact with the devil. “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about […]

Muslims Try to Stem Radicalization in an Uphill Fight

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A recent report from Duke University praised U.S. and Canadian Muslim leaders for fighting to keep Islamic radicalism out of their communities by condemning terrorism, self-policing, and becoming active in politics. Within days, in what seemed to confirm the […]

U.S. Groups Mobilize to Assist After Haiti Earthquake

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) U.S. religious groups are mobilizing relief efforts for Haitians devastated by Tuesday’s (Jan. 12) massive earthquake, even as they assess the damage to their local partners and congregations. With many power and phone lines destroyed, U.S.-based aid workers said […]

Pope Meets with Woman Who Attacked Him on Christmas Eve

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI met the woman who toppled him inside St. Peter’s Basilica, accepting her apology and offering his forgiveness for the Christmas Eve incident. Susanna Maiolo, 25, and members of her family met briefly with the […]

Jordan Files Complaint Over Dead Sea Scrolls

posted by mconsoli

TORONTO (RNS/ENI) Jordan has complained to a United Nations agency after Canada refused to seize the Dead Sea Scrolls at a recent exhibit in Toronto. Jordan says the ancient manuscripts, which had been on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority, […]

U.S. Blasts Iran Over Baha’i Trial

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. State Department lambasted Iran on Monday (Jan. 11) for deciding to try seven members of the Baha’i Faith on charges of spying for Israel, and called on Iran to release all religious minorities imprisoned because of […]

Vatican Says ‘Avatar’ is No Masterpiece

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican newspaper and radio station have called the film “Avatar” simplistic, and criticized it for flirting with modern doctrines that promote the worship of nature as a substitute for religion. L’Osservatore Romano and Vatican Radio dedicated […]

Islamic Society of North America Taps Educator for Executive’s Job

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Islamic Society of North America, one of the most visible Muslim organizations in the United States, has appointed Chicago lawyer and youth leader Safaa Zarzour as its next secretary general. Zarzour’s appointment comes on the heels of several […]

Pope Laments Slow Pace in Tackling Climate Change

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Lamenting “economic and political resistance” to dealing with climate change, Pope Benedict XVI on Monday (Jan. 11) called on the world’s nations to reach an agreement on the matter by the end of 2010. The pope’s statement […]

Buddhists Say You Aren’t What You Eat, but How

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) With his round cheeks and ample belly, the Buddha may rank somewhere close to sumo wrestlers on most Americans’ list of go-to sources for healthy eating tips. But the ever-present image of a fat and happy Buddha owes more […]

N.J. Senate Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Bill

posted by mconsoli

TRENTON, N.J. (RNS) The New Jersey state Senate on Thursday (Jan. 7) voted down a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, prompting a promise from gay-rights advocates to take their campaign to the courts. The final tally, 20-14 with three abstentions, […]

Tensions Linger as Pope Readies for Synagogue Visit

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) When Pope Benedict XVI visits Rome’s main synagogue next Sunday (Jan. 17) to mark Italy’s 21st annual Day of Jewish-Christian Reflection, the setting alone will reflect a momentous event in Jewish-Catholic relations. The Great Synagogue of Rome […]

Hume Says Anti-Christian Bias Fueled Tiger Woods Backlash

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) Fox News analyst Brit Hume, who was both widely praised and criticized for suggesting that golfer Tiger Woods should embrace Christianity to find true “redemption,” said he fell victim to widespread media bias against Christianity. “Instead of urging […]

National Yiddish Book Center Gets Surprise $3 Million Bequest

posted by mconsoli

AMHERST, Mass. (RNS) The National Yiddish Book Center has received an unexpected gift of $3 million from comedy writer Mickey Ross, who died in May without any known connection to the one-of-its-kind library. The gift from Ross, who worked on […]

Muslims Say New Security Rules Unfair, Ineffective

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) American Muslim leaders are criticizing new airport security guidelines they say unfairly profile Muslims. More importantly, they say, the new rules are ineffective. Muslims leaders say the measures, introduced by the Travel Security Administration on Sunday (Jan. 3) after […]

Professor’s Research Suggests Not Sparing the Rod

posted by mconsoli

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) While timeouts and other disciplinary methods are encouraged by some child psychologists, a Calvin College psychology professor says her research shows corporal punishment forms more well-adjusted people later in life. Marjorie Gunnoe says the study finds […]

Accused US Holocaust Museum Gunman Dies

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON – The 89-year-old white supremacist charged in a deadly shooting at Washington’s Holocaust museum died Wednesday in North Carolina, where he’d been held while awaiting trial, authorities said. James von Brunn died at a local hospital in North Carolina, […]

Dobson Plans New Radio Ministry

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Religious broadcaster James Dobson will leave the “Focus on the Family” radio program in late February but will continue on the airwaves through a new ministry. Officials at the Colorado-based ministry that Dobson founded three decades ago say they […]

Black Churches Team with Hospitals to Push Better Diets

posted by mconsoli

For Deborah Taylor, keeping her body fit and eating well is a way of honoring her Lord. So when Taylor, a financial assistant for University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center, heard of the hospital’s Body & Soul program for black churches […]

Pioneering Feminist Mary Daly Dies at 81

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Mary Daly, a self-described post-Christian, radical feminist theologian known for pioneering women’s studies and battling administrators at Boston College, died Sunday (Jan. 3) at age 81. Daly’s death was announced by Mary E. Hunt, director of the Women’s Alliance […]

Mass. College Bans Head Coverings that Block Face

posted by mconsoli

BOSTON – A Massachusetts pharmacy college instituted a ban on clothing that obscures the face, including face veils and burqas, weeks after a Muslim alumnus who is also the son of a professor was charged with plotting terror strikes. The […]

U.S. Postal Service to Honor Mother Teresa with 2010 Stamp

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Postal Service plans to honor Mother Teresa with a stamp this year in recognition of her humanitarian work. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun who died in 1997 will join the late actress Katharine Hepburn, athletes of […]

American Evangelicals’ Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push

posted by mconsoli

Human rights advocates say a conference with three Americans helped set the stage for a bill to execute homosexuals. Last March, three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here […]

CAIR Condemns Attempted Bombing, Warns Against Profiling

posted by mconsoli

NEW YORK (RNS/ENI) A prominent Muslim-American advocacy group has condemned the attempted bombing of a U.S.-bound flight on Christmas Day by a Nigerian Muslim, but has also warned of the dangers of “profiling” Muslims and others in the name of […]

Reform Rabbis Decry Discrimination at Western Wall

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Reform rabbis have resolved to protest attacks on religious freedom in 2010 by supporting women who seek to worship equally with men in Jerusalem and Muslims who want to build minarets in Switzerland. The Central Conference of American Rabbis, […]

Evading Vietnam Police, Monks Head Underground

posted by mconsoli

HANOI, Vietnam – Followers of a famous Buddhist monk have abandoned the temple in southern Vietnam where they had sought sanctuary and are on the run from police, who have been pressuring them for months to break up their monastic […]

In a Jerusalem Hospital, ‘Enemies’ Bond

posted by mconsoli

Marya and Orel, a Palestinian Muslim and an Israeli Jew, both 8, have become friends in Alyn Hospital. But it is almost more powerful to observe their parents, the ones who grasp the conflict that put them there. He can […]

At Church Cafe, Eat What You Want and Pay What You Can

posted by mconsoli

HIGHLAND PARK, N.J. (RNS) At A Better World Cafe, it’s not exactly “all you can eat.” It’s more like whatever you can pay. The new church-affiliated restaurant is offering customers an innovative new dining option: choose the size of your […]

FLDS Asks High Court to Put Brakes on Trust Case

posted by mconsoli

Dec. 30–A polygamous sect is asking the Utah Supreme Court for emergency relief after a lower court judge ordered documents sealed in a property trust dispute and refused to hear sect members’ objections to the sale of trust assets. In […]

US Appeals Court Nixes Vatican Bank Holocaust Suit

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY – An American appeals court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by Holocaust survivors who alleged the Vatican bank accepted millions of dollars of their valuables stolen by Nazi sympathizers. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco […]

Pope’s Attacker Treated

posted by mconsoli

Vatican court will judge the woman who launched a Christmas Eve assault on Pope Benedict XVI “within a few weeks”. The 25-year-old woman, identified as Susanna Maiolo, leapt over a security barrier and knocked the Pope to the ground at […]

New Merton Book Stirs Up Controversy

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Rarely has a romance seemed so star-crossed. He was 51, she 25. She was a pretty, petite student-nurse; he was stocky and bald, with a wandering intellect and a boisterous laugh. He was also the most celebrated Catholic monk […]

15 Titles to Nourish your Soul

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The holiday season and the New Year — often full of stress, drama and emotional baggage — is a fine time to consider spiritual issues. The 15 titles listed here touch on topics ranging from church architecture to the […]

Second Irish Bishop Resigns in Wake of Abuse Report

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) An Irish Catholic bishop implicated in a recent report on clerical sex abuse resigned on Wednesday (Dec. 23), making his the second such resignation in less than a week. In a statement announcing the move, Bishop James […]

Docs in Fatal Sweat Lodge Case Show Past Problems

posted by mconsoli

PRESCOTT, Ariz. – Documents released Monday by Arizona authorities investigating a fatal sweat lodge ceremony show that serious medical problems occurred at past events led by self-help guru James Arthur Ray. Three people died after the Oct. 8 sweat lodge […]

Israel to Build 700 Apartments in East Jerusalem

posted by mconsoli

RAMALLAH, West Bank – Israel announced Monday it is building nearly 700 new apartments for Jews in east Jerusalem, where Palestinians hope to set up the capital of a future state. The U.S., Palestinians and the European Union condemned the […]

Economic Squeeze Produces a New Kind of Seminarian

posted by mconsoli

NEWTON, Mass. (RNS) When Newton, Mass. artist Paula Rendino needed fresh inspiration last year (2008), she sought her muse in an unlikely place: seminary. Art school would have been “too boring,” Rendino explained. She yearned to bring fresh depth to […]

Book Finds That Religious Toys Are More than Child’s Play

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) On the first day of her introductory religion class at Merrimack College just north of Boston, professor Rebecca Sachs Norris put her students to work at having some fun. She assigned teams of three or four students to play […]

Blasts kill 26 Iraqis Before Solemn Shiite Holiday

posted by mkress

Baghdad–Bombs hit Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad and a central Iraqi city Thursday, killing at least 26 people and wounding dozens more, in the latest attack in the lead-up to Ashoura, the sect’s most solemn annual rite. The blasts raised fears […]

In Bethlehem, Holiday Cheer Edges Out Gloom

posted by mkress

Bethlehem, West Bank–Thousands of pilgrims from around the world descended on the traditional birthplace of Jesus on Thursday, greeted by choruses, scout troops and rock bands for the most upbeat Christmas celebrations this Palestinian town has seen in years. But […]

First Jesus-era House Discovered in Nazareth

posted by mconsoli

NAZARETH, Israel – Just in time for Christmas, archaeologists on Monday unveiled what may have been the home of one of Jesus’ childhood neighbors. The humble dwelling is the first dating to the era of Jesus to be discovered in […]

Ex-President Carter Offers Apology to Jews

posted by mconsoli

ATLANTA – Former President Jimmy Carter is offering the Jewish community an apology for any of his “words and deeds” that may have upset them. Carter writes in an open letter to the Jewish community this week that he hopes […]

Abortion Looms as Possible Block to Health Bill

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON – The way abortions are covered under health care reform is a major obstacle to finalizing the legislation, even though the House and Senate both agree that no federal money should be used. The stumbling block is whether insurance […]

Covenant to Bind Anglicans Sent Out to Churches

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The final draft of a document aimed at mediating disputes between liberals and conservatives in the global Anglican Communion was sent on Friday (Dec. 18) to its 38 provinces for approval. The Anglican Communion, which is the world’s third-largest […]

Calif. County Orders Religious Symbols Removed

posted by mconsoli

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – California’s Sonoma County has ordered officials to remove angels, stars and other religious symbols from Christmas trees in county buildings over concerns they violate the Constitution. County Administrator Chris Thomas issued the order Monday to managers […]

Pope Says Visit to Holocaust Memorial ‘Upsetting’

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI on Monday described a visit to Israel’s Holocaust memorial as a disturbing encounter with hatred, days after his decision to move the controversial World War II-era pope closer to sainthood angered Jewish groups. The […]

Churches Blast Copenhagen Summit for Lack of Agreement

posted by mconsoli

GENEVA (RNS/ENI) Faith groups have expressed disappointment and anger over the outcome of the United Nations talks on climate change that have ended in Copenhagen, pledging to continue to press for climate justice. “With a lack of transparency, the agreement […]

Oral Roberts Remembered as Charismatic Leader

posted by mconsoli

TULSA, Okla. – Evangelist Oral Roberts was remembered Monday as a charismatic leader who deftly used television to spread the message of Christianity throughout the world. Thousands packed an arena at Oral Roberts University for the memorial service for the […]

Jews Angry After Pope Moves Pius XII Closer to Sainthood

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Jewish leaders warned of new strains in Catholic-Jewish relations after Pope Benedict XVI moved his controversial wartime predecessor, Pope Pius XII, one step closer to possible sainthood. Benedict signed a decree on Saturday (Dec. 19) recognizing Pius’ […]

Report: Near 70 percent of Nations Face Religious Restrictions

posted by aroan

WASHINGTON (RNS) About one-third of the countries in the world have high restrictions on religion, exposing almost 70 percent of the globe’s population to limitations on their faith, new research shows. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life based […]

Irish Bishop Resigns Over Sex Abuse Scandal

posted by aroan

VATICAN CITY (RNS) An Irish Catholic bishop criticized in a recent report on clerical sex abuse apologized to victims on Thursday (Dec.17), the same day the Vatican announced his resignation. “I humbly apologize once again to all who were abused […]

Survey: Two-thirds of Protestant pastors consider Islam ‘dangerous’

posted by aroan

(RNS) Two out of three Protestant pastors believe Islam is a “dangerous” religion, according to a new survey from a Southern Baptist-affiliated research group. The survey of more than 1,000 Protestant clergy by LifeWay Research, released Monday (Dec. 14) found […]

Obama’s Muslim Outreach Named Top Religion Story of 2009

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) President Obama’s speech to the Muslim world has been ranked by the nation’s religion journalists as the top religion story of the year. The June speech in Cairo, in which the president quoted from the Quran and said America […]

Clergy Unite On a Common Message: Thou Shalt Be Civil

posted by mconsoli

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) It’s gotten ugly out there in the public square — on television, at public meetings, on the Internet. Whether it’s health care reform specifically, or politics generally, people seem to demonize each other, shout each other down […]

Pope Says Environment as Great a Threat as Terrorism

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Neglect of the natural environment is as great a threat to peace and prosperity as global terrorism, Pope Benedict XVI said in his most extensive ecological statement to date, released by the Vatican on Tuesday (Dec. 15). […]

Evangelist Oral Roberts dies in Calif. at age 91

posted by nsymmonds

TULSA, Okla. – Oral Roberts, a pioneer in televangelism who founded a multimillion-dollar ministry and a university that bears his name, died Tuesday. He was 91. Roberts died of complications from pneumonia in Newport Beach, Calif., according to his spokesman, […]

Richard Cizik Discusses His Work at Climate Summit

posted by aroan

Rev. Richard Cizik is attending the Climate Summit in Copenhagen. In an interview with Odyssey Networks, he describes what he hopes will come of his visit. Video courtesy of Odyssey Networks  

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Speaks at Climate Summit

posted by aroan

At the United Nation’s Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke. During a press conference, he said what he would say to President Obama about global warming. Video courtesy of Odyssey Networks.

Archbishop of Canterbury Condemns Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) After weeks of intense pressure from Episcopal gay rights groups, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has condemned the “shocking severity” of proposed anti-gay laws in Uganda. The spiritual leader of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion also said that “I […]

Accused Parents Say Son’s Faith-Healing Death Was No Crime

posted by mconsoli

PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) Two parents charged with criminally negligent homicide in the faith-healing death of their teenage son will ask a judge to dismiss the charges because they followed the advice of state child welfare workers. Attorneys for the couple, […]

Jewish Leaders Scramble for White House Invite

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) When is a Hanukkah party more than just a Hanukkah party? When it is hosted by the White House, and viewed as emblematic of the Obama administration’s relationship with American Jews. The White House cut the size of […]

Pope Outraged and Shamed by Irish Clergy’s Abuse

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI expressed “outrage,” “shame,” and “profound regret” over revelations of large-scale child abuse by Irish Catholic priests, the Vatican said on Friday (Dec. 11). The Vatican’s statement came after Benedict met with Ireland’s two leading […]

Obama Wishes Jews Worldwide a Happy Hanukkah

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says Hanukkah’s lessons should inspire everyone to be thankful for what they have. The eight-day celebration, beginning at sunset Friday, commemorates the rededication of the temple by Jewish rebels known as the Maccabees after their […]

Green Advocates Go Blue in Seeking to Cleanse World’s Waters

posted by mconsoli

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The green movement is going blue for many groups of different faiths that consider it a religious duty to protect the world’s bodies of waters. While water advocacy is a fairly recent phenomenon for some religious groups […]

Lesbian Bishop Aware but Undaunted by Controversy

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Since becoming the first lesbian to be elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church on Saturday (Dec. 5), the Rev. Mary Glasspool has been hailed as a gay rights pioneer and maligned as the straw that will finally break […]

Obama Says ‘Holy War’ Can Never Be a ‘Just War’

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) In a speech bemoaning the necessity of war and the potential for peace, President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize Thursday (Dec. 10) by declaring that “no holy war can ever be a just war.” In his 36-minute […]

Christians Dabble in Eastern, New Age Beliefs

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The vast majority of U.S. residents may be Christian, but nearly a quarter of them delve into a range of Eastern or New Age beliefs, a new study shows. Asked about their supernatural experiences, significant minorities of American […]

Irish Bishops Debate Resignations Over Child Abuse

posted by mconsoli

DUBLIN – Ireland’s Catholic bishops privately debated Wednesday whether any of their number should resign in the wake of a damning investigation that blamed five of them for helping conceal child abuse by Dublin-based priests. Two of the bishops said […]

Episcopal Church Membership Drops by 3 Percent

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Domestic membership in the Episcopal Church dropped by 3 percent in 2008, continuing a decline in which the denomination has lost almost 200,000 American members since 2004, according to Episcopal researchers. The Episcopal Church now counts slightly more than […]

Mormon Senator Pens Hanukkah Tune ‘For the Jewish people’

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The latest Hanukkah tune is coming from an unexpected place this year: the halls of Congress and the pen of a conservative Mormon senator. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is the co-writer of a revamped Hanukkah song that debuted […]

Anglican Panel Urges Episcopalians to Reject Lesbian Bishop

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) An international Anglican commission on Tuesday (Dec. 8) urged Episcopalians to exercise “gracious restraint” by not confirming the election of a lesbian as a bishop in Los Angeles. The Rev. Mary Glasspool was elected a suffragan (assistant) bishop by […]

Faith-Based Objections to Vaccines May Threaten Common Good

posted by mconsoli

ST. LOUIS (RNS) Most of the world’s religions share some version of the golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated. That notion was important to the theology of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church of […]

Swiss Aren’t Only Ones to Resist Mosque Construction

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) When Switzerland recently voted to ban the construction of minaret towers at mosques, some observers interpreted it as an expression of European xenophobia that would never find a home in multicultural America. But to say it couldn’t happen here […]

Second Gay Bishop Poses Stark Choice for Episcopal Church

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) After years of warnings from Anglican leaders, Saturday’s (Dec. 5) election of a lesbian bishop poses a stark question for the Episcopal Church: Does it want to continue to be a full member in the global Anglican Communion, or […]

Jewish Group Persuades Grad Students to Stay in New Orleans

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A few months ago, Galia Aharoni was well into her final year of law school at Tulane University and going back and forth about whether to stay in New Orleans or take her law degree to the West Coast […]

Christian Group that Excludes Gays Headed to Supreme Court

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday (Dec. 7) to hear the case of an evangelical Christian group that was prevented from being recognized as a campus organization at a California law school because it excluded gays and lesbians. […]

Texas Tycoon Uses Bible to Drill for Oil in Israel

posted by aroan

Founder of Zion Oil John Brown is a true believer. So much so that he has moved his oil rig to Israel to dig for oil where he says Biblical prophecy tells him to and is hoping to hit it […]

Vatican, Russia Agree to Full Diplomatic Ties

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Pope Benedict XVI agreed Thursday (Dec. 3) to establish full diplomatic relations between Russia and the Holy See, a step likely to be seen as healing decades of mutual suspicion and tension. […]

Patel is First Muslim to Win Grawemeyer Award

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of the community service group Interfaith Youth Core, has become the first Muslim to win the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Religion from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the University of Louisville. Patel, […]

New Audio Jewish Bible Available for the Blind

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) An audio version of the modern edition of the Jewish Bible is being made available for free to the blind. The Jewish Publication Society spent more than a year recording 60 hours of the JPS Tanakh, in a project […]

Documents Show Ex-Conn. Bishop Downplayed Abuse

posted by mconsoli

HARTFORD, Conn. – Recently retired New York Cardinal Edward Egan expressed skepticism over sexual abuse allegations against priests when he was a Connecticut bishop a decade ago, saying he found it “marvelous” that so few priests had been accused over […]

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Former Muslim Wants to See Change
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posted 9:08:12am Apr. 10, 2015 | read full post »

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

Billy Graham: I know where I'm going
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posted 10:02:01am Oct. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Are All These Christians' Complaints of Persecution Just So Much Empty Whining?
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posted 2:41:26am Oct. 07, 2013 | read full post »

How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
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posted 2:53:48pm Sep. 27, 2013 | read full post »

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