COMMENTARY: Anti-Semitism, all too alive and well

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The late Rev. Edward Flannery, appointed in 1967 as the U.S. Bishops’ first director of Catholic-Jewish relations, wrote that anti-Semitism, the hatred of Jews and Judaism, was history’s “oldest pathology.” Anti-Semitism, he said, must be constantly exposed and vigorously opposed lest it become a global peril that threatens not […]

Why the Dalai Lama Matters

Robert Thurman, an expert on and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, personal friend of the Dalai Lama, and father of Uma, weighs in on why China needs the Dalai Lama. “We are at a moment of great significance for humanity, ” Thurman says here, “at the beginning of this new century, which could be either a […]

Did He or Didn’t He?

There have been mixed reports out of Italy and Russia that former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has either a) converted to Christianity; b) was a closet Christian all along; or c) was not, is not and will not be a Christian. Gorbachev visited the tomb of St. Francis in Assisi and supposedly spent 30 minutes […]

Interview with head of United Church of Christ

It’s been a tumultuous last six weeks or so for the Rev. John Thomas, who heads the United Church of Christ, and his 1.2-million member denomination. There’s the IRS looking into the church’s possibly improper politicking on behalf of UCC-member Sen. Barack Obama, the brouhaha surrounding controversial sermon bits from UCC-pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. All […]

40 years later, King’s legacy back in focus

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) In 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was a brand new pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. From that pulpit, King, with other like-minded pastors and activists, would […]

10 minutes with … John Thomas

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Even by the standards of his frequently controversial church, it’s been an eventful few weeks for the Rev. John Thomas, president and general minister of the United Church of Christ. In February, the UCC announced it was the subject of an Internal Revenue Service investigation over a speech by […]

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service Poll: Pope unknown to most Americans WASHINGTON (RNS) Most Americans hold a favorable opinion of Pope Benedict XVI, but the vast majority confess they don’t know much about the pontiff, according to a new poll. Just weeks before Benedict’s first trip to the U.S. as leader of the Roman Catholic […]

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service GRANDVILLE, Mich. _ The Rev. Rob Bell hops up onto the circular stage in his tennis shoes, his headset microphone in place. “Hi,” he says. “Good morning. If you’re coming in late, we still love you. Make yourself at home.” It’s Sunday morning at Mars Hill Bible Church, and Bell […]

Conversions and conversations

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Just days after a prominent Muslim journalist publicly converted to Christianity, the king of Saudi Arabia called for interfaith dialogue among Muslims, Christians and Jews. Two events: one dangerous, one hopeful. At the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI baptized Magdi Allam, deputy editor of Italy’s […]

RNS Weekly Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service Pope marks Easter with nod to Muslims, China VATICAN CITY _ Easter is the most sacred feast in the Christian calendar, when believers of all denominations celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. But for Pope Benedict XVI, this year’s Easter celebrations were fraught with significance for the Catholic Church’s […]