Tuesday’s religion round up

The State Department released its annual report on international religious freedom and strongly condemned efforts by Muslim countries to bar defamation of religion. A new study says two-thirds of U.S. congregations have increased or continued donating at the same level, despite the economic recession. Three California Presbyterian churches are breaking with the PCUSA. America’s Orthodox […]

COMMENTARY: Something new is coming to pass

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) Before I could send out an essay about a favorite street in Manhattan, I needed photographs. On a Sunday morning when I should have been in church, I went out with my camera into a glorious fall day. Sidewalks were jammed with walkers ambling in family clusters and couples. I passed a caravan of […]

S.C. diocese distances itself from Episcopal Church

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) The Diocese of South Carolina voted on Saturday (Oct. 24) to begin withdrawing from some governing bodies in the Episcopal Church in protest over the denomination’s approval of same-sex blessings and gay bishops. While the diocese did not secede from the Episcopal Church, as four other dioceses have done in recent years, it did […]

Vatican hosts talks with ultraconservative group

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Representatives of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) met at the Vatican on Monday (Oct. 26) for the first of a planned series of talks aimed at reconciling the breakaway ultra-traditionalist group with the Catholic Church. No details of the discussions were released, but a Vatican statement said they took place […]

Teen convert caught in custody dispute returned to Ohio

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) An Ohio teen who ran away to Florida because she feared her Muslim father after her Christian conversion was ordered by a judge to return to Ohio. Rifqa Bary, 17, was ordered back to the state on Friday (Oct. 23) by Judge Daniel P. Dawson of the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, The […]

Swedish Lutheran decision on same-sex marriage draws flak

Trevor Gundy and Fredrick Nzwili |

LONDON/NAIROBI (RNS/ENI) The Lutheran Church of Sweden’s decision to bless same-sex marriages in churches has been criticized by fellow Lutherans in Africa and by the Church of England, a full communion partner with the Swedish church. The Church of Sweden voted last Thursday (Oct. 22) to allow same-sex weddings in churches beginning Nov. 1, six […]

GUEST COMMENTARY: Barring abortion in health care reform

Mary Ann Walsh |

(RNS) It’s time to clear the air in the current debate over whether proposed health care legislation covers abortion. What’s the truth? Number one issue: Whether the Hyde Amendment applies now The Hyde Amendment has been federal policy since 1976. It states that money from the Labor/Health and Human Services appropriations bill cannot be used […]

GUEST COMMENTARY: The Subtle Signals Barbie Sends

Cecile Holmes |

(RNS) I never had a black Barbie. But I grew up surrounded by images of the inimitable white one — usually a bombshell being few women could compete with. She was the ultimate in “good-looking” in the annals of popular American dolls. So I was intrigued to read about Grace, Kara and Trichelle, Mattel’s three […]

Monday’s religion round-up

A Muslim member of President Obama’s faith advisory council says she was misled into appearing on an anti-Semitic talk show, and the U.S. Army will make an exception to its rules and allow a Sikh doctor to serve without cutting his hair and removing his turban. The Catholic bishop of Rhode Island called for Rep. […]

Orthodox Union effective, but controversial

Matthew E. Berger |

WASHINGTON (RNS) As Congress began writing legislation last spring to give businesses and homeowners tax incentives to make their homes more environmentally friendly, Nathan Diament looked at the legislation and saw a hole. Director of public policy for the Orthodox Union, Diament successfully pushed the sponsors of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which […]