COMMENTARY : Between a Rock and a Hard Place

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The atheists who claim they just want organized religion to let them alone cannot seem to let organized religion alone. Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have replaced the old lump of coal in our Christmas stocking with books that denounce religion and advocate atheism. New York Times columnist Nicholas […]

10 Minutes With … Phyllis Tickle

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Every few months, it seems Phyllis Tickle is at it again, with a new book on the cycles of prayer _ called the Daily Offices, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Divine Hours or, as Tickle calls it, “Fixed-Hour Prayer.” The idea is stopping every three hours for scripted […]

GUEST COMMENTARY: Always Winter and Never Christmas

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) As I recently watched “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” with my sons, I reached a disturbing conclusion: The White Queen of Narnia is taking over the world. People who have read the book or seen the film know that, when the enchanted realm […]

In a Year Dominated by Elections, Americans Voted Against the Status Quo

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Elections, the late columnist Franklin P. Adams once said, “are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.” And whatever Americans were voting for in 2006, it seems clear that what they were voting against was the status quo. Episcopalians, for […]

What’s a Jew to Do on Christmas Eve?

c. 2006 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ Round midnight last Christmas Eve, Joshua Neuman killed any doubts he had about the success of Heebonism 2005, the party-like-you-mean-it bash his Jewish cultural magazine throws every Dec. 24. About 1,500 sweat-drenched scenesters were mobbing the dance floor and he was squished into a corner with a […]

Islamic Hajj Has Been Marred by Tragedy

c. 2006 Religion News Service DECEMBER 1975: A fire sparked by an exploding gas cylinder sweeps through a tent city at Mina, a desert location east of Mecca where hundreds of thousands of pilgrims camp on their way to perform rites at Mount Arafat and Jamarat. Some 200 pilgrims die. NOVEMBER 1979: Saudi militants opposed […]

Saudis Build in Flexibility to Keep Hajj Safe

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) If God cuts you some slack, Saudi Arabians officials are telling Hajj pilgrims, you’d better take it. That’s the message for the estimated 2.2 million Muslims arriving for Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that begins Friday (Dec. 29), as part of a safety campaign intended to prevent stampedes […]

For Muslims, Hajj is an Immensely Spiritual Journey

c. 2006 Religion News Service PORTLAND, Ore. _ Before local Muslims begin their pilgrimage to Mecca, Amr Khalifa works to prepare them in two ways: for an intimate encounter with Allah, or God, and a very public one with millions of their fellow believers. “Every action has an intention behind it,” Khalifa tells a group […]

GUEST COMMENTARY: Discord in the Heartland

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) You don’t generally think of Nebraska as a hotbed of controversy, Catholic or otherwise. Lately, however, what began as a relatively minor imbroglio has boiled over into wider Catholic circles. Ten years ago, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., said Catholics who belonged to any of 12 organizations, including […]