Fargo divides day between church, city’s salvation

James MacPherson and Juliana Barbassa/ AP |

FARGO, N.D. — Weary residents of this sandbagged city came together in churches Sunday, counting their blessings that the Red River finally stopped rising and praying the levees would hold back its wrath. A brief levee break that swamped a school warned them of the threat they face in days ahead.

Mexico’s death cult protests shrine destruction

Mark Stevenson/AP |

Leaders of Mexico’s “Death Saint” church are protesting the destruction of more than 30 shrines by authorities in northern Mexico. Their archbishop said Sunday that it was an act of religious discrimination and has demanded a meeting with President Felipe Calderon.

Death opens doors on group

Dan Morse/Washington Post |

Members of One Mind Ministries drew little notice in the working-class Baltimore neighborhood where they lived in a nondescript brick rowhouse. But inside, prosecutors say, horrors were unfolding: Answering to a leader called Queen Antoinette, they denied a 16-month-old boy food and water because he did not say “Amen” at mealtimes. After he died, they […]

Poll finds Catholics to the left of U.S. on social issues

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) American Catholics are more liberal than the general population on social issues like divorce and homosexuality, despite the Catholic Church’s longstanding conservatism on both issues, according to a new survey. Catholics are more likely than non-Catholics to say that homosexual relations, divorce, and heterosexual sex outside wedlock are morally acceptable, according to an analysis […]

Jews prepare to `bless the sun’ before Passover

Nicole Neroulias |

NEW YORK (RNS) Traditionalist Jews and tree-huggers alike are coming together for Birkat HaHammah, a Jewish holiday that falls only once every 28 years, marking the sun’s return to its original position at creation. This year, the celebration takes place at sunrise April 8, followed by the start of Passover at sunset. The timing is […]

Pakistani-born Anglican bishop abruptly steps down

Al Webb |

LONDON (RNS) The Church of England’s first (and so far only) Asian bishop, who received death threats after criticizing Islamic extremists last year, stunned the church by announcing his resignation to take up a job defending Christians. The often outspoken Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali disclosed Saturday (March 28) that “I have decided that the time is […]

`Good Book’ in six words

Today, I’m “reviewing” David Plotz’s “Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible.” My six-word review: `Good Book’ makes God look bad. For an explanation of the thinking behind six-word reviews, please see here.

Gay marriage fight shifts back to New England

Associated Press |

Vermont was the first state to outlaw slavery. Neighboring New Hampshire declared its independence from England before any other colony. Maine led the way with Prohibition. These days, Yankee activism has another cause – gay rights.

Abortionist Tiller acquited on all counts

New York Times |

After years of investigations and four days of testimony, jurors here took just 45 minutes on Friday to acquit a controversial abortion doctor of charges that he performed 19 illegal late-term abortions in 2003.