Tight economy puts the squeeze on death rites

Nicole Neroulias |

NEW YORK — When Leonard Horowitz died at Putnam Hospital recently (April 20), the 92-year-old developmentally disabled man left behind no family, no friends, no savings and no final requests. Nevertheless, Horowitz was buried with full Jewish rites at Staten Island’s Mount Richmond Cemetery, where Rabbi Shmuel Plafker recited blessings as two workers lowered Horowitz’s […]

Foxman says Middle East, economy fueling anti-Semitism

Tom Feran |

CLEVELAND (RNS) Violence in the Middle East and worldwide economic distress have combined to produce “the biggest explosion of anti-Semitism globally that we have witnessed since World War II,” according to the national director of the Anti-Defamation League. Abraham Foxman, who has led the New York-based ADL since 1987, told an audience at the City […]

Berlin defeats move to mandate religion in school

Anli Serfontein |

TRIER, Germany (RNS/ENI) Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit has accused Germany’s highest Protestant cleric of polarizing voters during a city referendum on Sunday (April 26) that would have reintroduced religious instruction in public schools. The referendum, which was soundly defeated, was promoted by a group called Pro-Reli that was supported by both Catholic and Protestant churches, […]

Obama team seeks progressives’ support on poverty

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Members of President Obama’s domestic team addressed more than 1,000 Christian progressives at an anti-poverty meeting Monday (April 27), asking for their help to accomplish the president’s agenda. “It is shameful that we live in a country where hundreds of thousands of kids experience hunger over the course of the year and there’s […]

Glendon declines Laetare Medal from Notre Dame

Kevin Eckstrom |

(RNS) A former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and respected bioethicist told the University of Notre Dame on Monday (April 27) that she will not accept the prestigious Laetare Medal because of President Obama’s scheduled commencement address. Mary Ann Glendon said she had been “profoundly moved” when she was first told of the honor last […]

So much for the moral majority …

Kevin Eckstrom |

This just in, from the Dept. of My, How Times Have Changed. The late Jerry Falwell built his career by building the Moral Majority, which he more or less disbanded in 1989, saying it had accomplished its goals. Even without the actual organization, Falwell and others always claimed that there was a Nixonesque silent majority […]

GUEST COMMENTARY: In search of the 32 lost sheep

Mary Ann Walsh |

WASHINGTON — The new “Faith in Flux” study from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life will draw groans from many Catholics when they read that “Catholicism has suffered the greatest net loss in the process of religious change.” No surprise there. With one in 10 Americans a former Catholic, some say that ex-Catholics […]

Presbyterians defeat move to allow gay clergy

Daniel Burke |

(UNDATED) The Presbyterian Church (USA) has defeated a move — for the third time in 12 years — that would have allowed partnered gay and lesbian clergy, but gay rights groups cheered what they called a “historic shift” in the number of Presbyterians who supported the measure. Sixty-nine of the Presbyterians’ 173 presbyteries, or local […]

Study probes reasons for leaving Catholic, Protestant faiths

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON — Think former parishioners have left the pews because of sex scandals? Or because they no longer believe in God? While some have departed for those reasons, the vast majority of former Catholics and former Protestants who are now unaffiliated with any faith have “just gradually drifted away,” the Pew Forum on Religion & […]

Lipstick on a pig

An Israeli official is insisting that the swine flu virus that has killed 100 Mexicans should be renamed “Mexican flu” in deference to Jewish and Muslim sensibilities, according to the AP. The AP reports: “Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions. Both Judaism and Islam consider pigs […]