McHugh are you?

President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of the Army has a questionable record on church-state issues, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The Senate Armed Services Committee will consider the nomination of Rep. John McHugh, R-NY, today. In a letter to the committee, AU says, that as a member of the House, […]

White smoke or black?

Francis X. Rocca |

This Saturday at his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, 15 miles southeast of Rome, Pope Benedict will receive participants in the FINA world swimming championships, presumably including Michael Phelps. Given Phelps’ now-notorious form of off-duty recreation, some observers may take this as the latest evidence that Benedict is truly a “green pontiff.” But anyone who […]

Progressive Protestant power shift not without challenges

Chris Herlinger |

NEW YORK — When the Rev. Brad Braxton was tapped last year as the next senior pastor of Riverside Church, he was billed as an energetic and dynamic preacher with the power to reinvigorate the flagship pulpit of progressive Protestantism. Soon, however, those very qualities got in the way. Some parishioners found him a little […]

COMMENTARY: Controversy doesn’t take a vacation

A. James Rudin |

(UNDATED) Even though the “dog days” of summer are usually a slow news period, religion continues to make big headlines. Two recent stories — involving the Episcopal Church and the Syrian-American Jewish community — have drawn wide attention. I’ve always been interested in the Episcopal Church because my childhood synagogue in Alexandria, Va., was located […]

Now & Forever

Reports that Vinnie Barbarino, I mean, John Travolta, has broken with Scientology are false, according to People magazine, that well-known bible of religion news. “There’s no change in the relationship between the Church of Scientology and John,” says Trovolta’s rep. “He is a member and it’s as it was, now and forever.” In other news, […]

Clergy especially vulnerable for losing health insurance

Lindsay Perna |

WASHINGTON — While a sour economy and rising costs make it harder for small businesses to afford health coverage, one group of employees is especially vulnerable: clergy. Many denominations provide health care for clergy, but pastors of small and independent churches can be hard-hit by rising health care costs. Some clergy latch on to their […]

$25 million later, Katrina relief groups say they’re half finished

Bruce Nolan |

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Leaders of a consortium of Katrina relief groups say they are approaching a milestone in recovery efforts, having distributed $25 million in money, muscle and construction material to about 1,000 families around New Orleans in the four years since Hurricane Katrina. Even so, they estimate the region’s recovery is only at the […]

Concubines and RNS

Lindsay Perna |

What are the differences between a concubine and a wife? Well, if you attended the Religion News Service Roundtable with activists on both sides of the same-sex marriage dispute Thursday morning, you would know. This was just one piece of the wide-ranging discussion between the four panelists of varying religious backgrounds on the “Civil Rights […]

Methodists defeat gay-related membership policy

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) United Methodists have defeated amendments that would have made church membership open to all Christians regardless of sexual orientation and furthered the creation of a new, U.S.-only governing body, according to the denomination’s news service. Delegates at the United Methodist Church’s General Conference last year approved the sexual orientation amendment, as well as several […]

Daw retires as head of Hymn Society

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) The Rev. Carl P. Daw Jr., an Episcopal priest and renowned hymn expert, has retired as executive director of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Daw served for 13 years in the post, the Episcopal Church announced. “The work of Carl Daw as writer of hymns has enormously enriched the worship […]