U.S. Muslims plead case of hikers with Ahmadinejad

Omar Sacirbey |

(RNS) The Council on American-Islamic Relations is taking a “wait-and-see” approach after meeting last Thursday (Sept. 24) with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to seek the release of three American hikers imprisoned by Iran on July 31. “We’re still in discussions. We’re cautiously optimistic,” said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper. The three-man CAIR delegation also gave the […]

Celebrating the work of ecumenism, done and undone

David E. Anderson |

(RNS) Catholic, Lutheran and United Methodist leaders will gather in Chicago on Thursday (Oct. 1) to commemorate the 10th anniversary of a milestone agreement on the long, slow and often painful road to Christian unity. The celebration, held at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago, will pay tribute to the signing of the Joint Declaration […]

Tuesday’s religion round-up

Organized religion won’t be the same after the Great Recession, the Vatican is asking U.S. bishops to pitch in more than $1 million for the investigation of American nuns, and the Illinois Supreme Court declined to extend the statute of limitations on a child sexual abuse case. Christian advocates at Liberty Counsel have begun an […]

Supreme Court to weigh fate of Mojave Cross

Adelle Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Does an offended observer who drives by a cross-shaped war memorial in the middle of the desert have a right to call for its removal? And can that 7-foot cross stand without violating the constitution’s prohibition of government establishment of religion? The Supreme Court will consider those questions in the case of a […]

COMMENTARY: Bruised by booze

Tom Ehrich |

NEW YORK (RNS) At 10:30 p.m., after a drive upstate to look at colleges, I returned a borrowed car to Greenwich Village, threaded my way through reeling and raucous revelers, and boarded the subway for home. A couple got on around 14th Street. She had dressed nicely for an evening out. He was wasted, talking […]

The itsy-bitsy spider

Kevin Eckstrom |

In case you missed it, Pope Benedict XVI had an eight-legged friend pay a visit during a speech in the Czech Republic. The pope didn’t seem to notice, and didn’t make an attempt to get spider guts on his white cassock. And, in perhaps the latest sign of the divide between the pope and President […]

Anti-Semitic or most Jewish movie ever?

With the new Coen brothers’ movie, “A Serious Man,” opening on Friday (Oct. 2) reviews are beginning to trickle in. Those who have seen it (including Cathleen Falsani, who wrote a recently published book about the Coens and religion) say its the brothers’ most explicitly religious and personal film to date. Set in the Minnapolis […]

Lutheran conservatives delay decision to leave ELCA

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) Conservatives upset over the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s recent decision to allow non-celibate gay clergy have voted to create a free-standing synod and study for a year whether to leave the denomination. “Basically, what we’re saying is that a year from now, we’re going to have a proposal of some form,” said the […]

Famed Unitarian preacher Forrest Church dies at 61

Kevin Eckstrom |

(RNS) The Rev. Forrest Church, perhaps the nation’s best known Unitarian Universalist preacher, died Thursday (Sept. 24) after a three-year battle with cancer that shaped his final years of ministry into an extended reflection on death and dying. Church, 61, had been pastor of New York’s Unitarian Church of All Souls for more than 30 […]

Irish seminarians reach 10-year high after record lows

Ray McMenamin |

DUBLIN (RNS/ENI) The number of Irish men entering the seminary to become Roman Catholic priests has risen to a 10-year high following years of dwindling vocations. The Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors for the Catholic Church in Ireland said that 36 new seminarians were about to begin studying for the priesthood in Irish dioceses. The […]