Tag Archives: religion news

Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup: Romney does less bad, Springsteen’s Catholicism, Orthodox abuse

By David Gibson
Religion News Service

As the Jewish victims in the French school shooting were being buried in Israel,police in France laid siege to the house of the suspect, a 24-year-old Islamic militant claiming ties to Al Qaeda.

French Jews and Muslims grapple for answers.

Mitt Romney won big in Illinois last night, and did less bad with conservatives and evangelicals than he has before. He did a lot better than the first Mormon to run for president did in Illinois, a state he didn’t leave alive.

So Romney’s good now, right? Please? CBN’sDavid Brody is already warning Mitt that he has to do more to win evangelical hearts and minds or it’ll be a “hold your nose” vote in the fall: “A standard evangelical turnout won’t do the trick for Romney.”

Illinois was considered a “must win” for Rick Santorum to remain viable. So now it’s on to Santorum’s next “must win,” Louisiana – which he could actually win, despite attempting todistance himself from the rather controversial remarks of Pastor Dennis Terry at a Baptist church service Santorum attended.

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Monday’s Religion News Roundup: Obama still a Muslim, Gingrich ditches “GCB,” Doonesbury on abortion

By Dave Gibson
Religion News Service

American officials in Afghanistan are bracing again for another backlash, this time following the massacre of at least 16 Afghan civilians, mainly children and women, by a U.S. Army sergeant.

The incident follows the accidental burning of a Koran and other religious texts by U.S. personnel, which led to outrage and violence.

A suicide car bomber attacked a Catholic church Sunday in the middle of Mass in the Nigerian city of Jos, killing at least 10 people. The latest attack, perhaps by the Islamic sect Boko Haram, sparked retaliatory violence later Sunday.

The war correspondent Marie Colvin, who was killed by Syrian forces while covering the carnage there, will be laid to rest today after a funeral Mass at St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church in Oyster Bay, Long Island.

Just before she was killed in Homs on Feb. 22, the 56-year-old Queens native spoke of watching a baby boy dying and hoping the horror might “move people to think, why is this going on?”

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Monday’s Religion News Roundup: Oscar religion; queasy Santorum; Bevilacqua shredding

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

Wikipedia Commons Photo

Not much religion at the Oscars last night (unless you count celebrity worship).

The documentary about the woman who kissed Elvis and then became a nun did not take home the golden idol. She did have a cute line, though.

“Believe me, this is much different than being in a monastery,” Mother Dolores said in a red-carpet interview before the awards ceremony. I dearly hope no one asked who she was wearing.

In the foreign film category, Iran’s “A Separation” bested Israel’s “Footnote” and several other films, which Iran state TV portrayed as a defeat of Zionism.

Speaking of Oscars, “Boys Town” founder Father Edward Flanagan, who was played by Spencer Tracy in a Academy Award-winning movie of the same name, is officially a candidate for sainthood.

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Tuesday’s Religion News Roundup: St. Valentine’s Day edition

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

You may know that St. Valentine was a martyred Roman cleric, but did you know what he was arrested and imprisoned for? Secretly marrying Christian couples.

Speaking of prison, ah, um, marriage (kidding honey!) Washington state became the seventh state (including D.C.) to legalize gay marriage.

Louisville’s Catholic bishop explains that the church doesn’t allow destination weddings because a “let’s have fun” ceremony would set the wrong tone for a marriage. “This lifelong promise needs to be made in a sacred space,” says Archbishop Joseph Kurtz.

The Morality Police in Malaysia are spending V-day raiding hotel rooms and arresting couples caught illegally celebrating the holiday. The couples have been charged with “close proximity.” If only that law could be enforced on the DC Metro.

The U.S. Catholic bishops are not “Obama haters” said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, who added that there’s a “glimmer of hope” an arrangement suitable to the hierarchy could be made on the contraception mandate.

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Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup: Romney wins, Shariah ban loses, a rooftop “sexperiment”

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

Is it all over now but the counting?

As you probably already know, Mitt Romney crushed it in New Hampshire yesterday, becoming the first non-incumbent to win Iowa and the Granite State since our modern primary process began in 1976. Ron Paul finished second with about 23 percent of the vote.

The NYT says South Carolina will provide a bigger test for Romney because of its many conservative evangelicals and Tea Partiers.

“For most Christians, Mormonism is an issue and he has a hurdle here that he’s going to have to jump over and navigate around if he can,”Franklin Graham told the Old Grey Lady.

Romney actually won a plurality of evangelicals (30 percent) in N.H. Santorum came in second with 23 percent of the evangelical vote, but won just 8 percent of Catholics, in one of the more interesting entrance/exit poll findings.

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Faith Response to Osama bin Laden’s Death Voted No. 1 Religion Story of the Year

Wikipedia Photo

COLUMBIA, MO — The death of Osama bin Laden—which spurred discussions among people of faith on issues of forgiveness, peace, justice and retribution was voted the No. 1 Religion Story of 2011 by the nation’s leading religion journalists.

The 2011 survey of Religion Newswriters Association (RNA) members marks the 30thyear the professional organization of religion beat specialists has conducted the poll.

Faith-based groups reacted to the terrorist leader’s death with renewed sympathy for victims’ families, scriptural citations justifying the demise of evil, and hopeful prayers for peace among the nations.

Earlier in the year, New York U.S. Rep. Peter King, (R-N.Y), chaired a series of controversial hearings in the House alleging radicalization among U.S. Muslims. Meanwhile, U.S. Senate hearings centered on crimes against Muslims. The hearings were voted the No. 2 religion story of 2011.

The complete Top 10 Religion Stories of 2011, in order from first to tenth are:

1. The death of Osama bin Laden spurs discussions among people of faith on issues of forgiveness,peace, justice and retribution.

2. Lively congressional hearings are held on the civil rights of American Muslims. In the House hearings focus on alleged radicalism and in the Senate on crimes reported against Muslims.

3. Catholic Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City. Mo. is charged with failure to report the suspected abuse of a child, becoming the first active bishop in the country to face criminal prosecution in such a case.

4. The Catholic Church introduces a new translation of the Roman Missal throughout the English–speaking world, making the first significant change to a liturgy since 1973.

5. Presbyterian Church (USA) allows local option on ordination of partnered gay people. Church defections over the issue continue among mainline Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Episcopalians.

6. Pope John Paul II is beatified—the last step before sainthood—in a May ceremony attended by more than million people in Rome.

7. California evangelist Harold Camping attracts attention with his predictions that the world would end in May and again in October.

8. A book by Michigan megachurch pastor Rob Bell, “Love Wins,” presenting a much less harsh picture of hell than is traditional, stirs discussion in evangelical circles. Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention rebut it.

9. The Personhood Initiative, designed to outlaw abortion by declaring a fetus a person, fails on Election Day in Mississippi, but advocates plan to try in other states. Meanwhile, reports show the number of restrictions adopted throughout the country against abortion during the year are far more than in any previous year.

10. Bible translations make news, with celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version; criticism, notably by Southern Baptists, about gender usage in the newest New International Version; and completion of the Common English Bible.

For the other 12 religion stories that did not end up in the Top 10, see below.

In recent years, RNA has named a Religion Newsmaker of the year. In the 2011 vote, however, three of the people on the five-person ballot comprised a virtual three-way tie, with less than one vote separating each of them.

Harold Camping, a radio evangelist whose end-of-world predictions won followers and scoffers, had the most votes for newsmaker, with Pope Benedict XVI just one point behind. The Pope was cited for his efforts to improve Jewish relations, beatify John Paul II, and his triumphal return to his German homeland.

Less than one vote behind the pope was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose prayer service, and advertisements raised religious issues to the forefront during the pre-primary season of the presidential race.

Because no one individual stood out in the voting, RNA is not naming a 2011 Religion Newsmaker of the Year.

The Top 10 results are based on an online survey of more than 300 journalists with a response rate near 30 percent. Voting was conducted online from Dec. 10-13, 2011.

The Religion Newswriters Association is the world’s premier association dedicated to helping journalists write about religion with balance, accuracy and insight. Founded in 1949, the association is headquartered at the Missouri School of Journalism. For more information about RNA and its resources, visit http://www.RNA.org.

The remaining religion stories, ranked 11 through 22, are listed below:

11. Nationwide religious services, many of them interfaith, mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with some preachers noting lectionary readings on forgiveness.

12. Majority-Christian Southern Sudan achieves its independence from Northern Sudan after years of trying. Worldwide church leaders, especially in Africa, receive some credit for the outcome and they pledge continued support to the new nation.

13. Faith groups play a leading role in disaster response after tornadoes in Alabama and Missouri, and after earthquakes, tsunami and floods in Japan, New Zealand and Thailand.

14. The irreverent satire “The Book of Mormon,” about a pair of non-traditional missionaries to Uganda, wins nine Tony awards on Broadway, including best musical.

15. Fundamentalist Mormon leader Warren Jeffs is sentenced to life imprisonment in a high–profile trial for sexually assaulting teen-age girls.

16. Hopes for an end to Pakistan’s blasphemy law are dashed when two leading advocates of religious conciliation, Salman Taseer and Shahbazz Bhatti, are assassinated two months apart.

17. Nine Buddhist monks and one nun burn themselves to death during the year in protest of China’s crackdown on Tibet, which United Nations members protest in a resolution against China.

18. The sale of the famed Crystal Cathedral for $57.5 million to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, Calif., is approved by bankruptcy court. Earlier, founder Robert Schuller is removed as a voting member of the church’s board.

19. Pope Benedict XVI strengthens relations with Jews by declaring Jews as a whole were not collectively responsible for Christ’s death. ­­­

20. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a key church-state case, rejects a challenge to an Arizona tuition-credit program criticized for benefiting religious institutions. The court also hears arguments in a Michigan landmark case regarding church exemptions to certain federal employment laws.

21. National religious leaders lobby Washington politicians on behalf of the poor during the summer budget process. A dozen are arrested, but none is prosecuted.

22. Death claims two evangelical icons, Pentecostal David Wilkerson, 79 (in a car accident in Texas) and Anglican John R.W. Stott, 90 (in London).

Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup: Holiday tree; mini Stonehenge; Christmas weapons

As bitter winter advances, religious communities from Portland to New York are opening their doors to Occupy protesters.

How many “Christmas among the Occupiers” stories do you think we’ll see this year?

Christmas, by the way, is on a Sunday this year. The vast majority of churches (91 percent) plan to hold some sort of worship service, according to Lifeway Research.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee says that anyone upset that he calls the blue spruce erected in the Statehouse a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree should hush up and go feed the poor.

Speaking of charity, donations are inching up, but it could take years to return to pre-recession levels, USA Today reports.

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