Muslims finally get someone to root for

Omar Sacirbey |

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (RNS) The 100 or so young couples, college students, middle-aged parents and grandmothers in headscarves that packed a movie theater could have been mistaken for an audience in Mumbai, Lahore or other South Asian city. They had come to see “My Name is Khan,” a new Bollywood film that has shattered box office […]

COMMENTARY: A `sincere, humble and brave’ apology

Cathleen Falsani |

(RNS) Apart from the Dalai Lama — who reportedly had never heard of him until earlier this week — Tiger Woods is the probably the most famous Buddhist on the planet. But until Woods invoked his Buddhist identity during a televised mea culpa for cheating on his wife and a spectacular fall from grace, like […]

When journalists attack

Every day, we ink-stained wretches shove our noses all into church’s business, reporting frequently on their failures, and occasionally on their successes. Is it only fair, then, when a church hires journalists to investigate a newspaper? The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz reported on Monday that the Church of Scientology has hired three prize-winning journalist to […]

Wednesday’s roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

A report issued Wednesday says the U.S. needs to pay greater attention to religion in foreign affairs. WaPo’s David Waters boils it down: American foreign policy is handicapped by a narrow, ill-informed and uncompromising Western secularism that feeds religious extremism, threatens traditional cultures and fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights, […]

Cruise companies navigate choppy religious waters

Leanne Larmondin |

(RNS) Before stepping aboard her first cruise back in December 2008, Pam Biedenbender and her husband attended Mass at a Catholic church in Miami; later, onboard the Carnival Valor, she learned she’d have to miss Christmas Mass because the ship had no priest. “When I booked the cruise, I specifically asked, and they said there […]

Germany’s mega Passion play is back, and Jews are watching carefully

Niels Sorrells |

OBERAMMERGAU, Germany (RNS) With its focus on the last days of Jesus’ life, a Passion play should, by its nature, arouse passions. But here, the world’s most famous Passion play keeps stirring the wrong kind. As it has almost every 10 years since 1634, this Bavarian town is putting the final touches on the Oberammergau […]

10 minutes with … Stephanie Sinclair

Sara Shereen Bakhshian |

(RNS) This month’s National Geographic magazine cover story “The Polygamists” offers a rare look inside the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a polygamous off-shoot of the mainstream Mormon Church. The story wouldn’t have been the same without the access that photographer Stephanie Sinclair was granted after federal raids on an FLDS compound […]

Germany’s top Lutheran bishop admits to drunk driving

Niels Sorrells |

BERLIN (RNS) The head of Germany’s Lutheran church faces a monetary fine and a temporary loss of her driver’s license after being caught driving with a blood alcohol content three times above the legal limit. Bishop Margot Kaessmann, 51, was arrested Saturday (Feb. 20) in the central German city of Hanover after she ran through […]

Clergy seek IRS probe of D.C. mansion

Daniel Burke |

WASHINGTON (RNS) A group of 13 Ohio clergy is asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a Washington mansion used by conservative members of Congress that claims a tax exemption as a church. The C Street Center, a red brick townhouse on Capitol Hill, came to public attention last summer after the disclosure of its […]

Germany’s top Catholic bishop apologizes for abuse

Niels Sorrells |

BERLIN (RNS) The head of Germany’s Catholic Bishops Conference apologized Monday (Feb. 22) for sexual abuse of children at church-run schools that happened decades ago but only recently caught public attention. “I am deeply shaken by the abuse cases that have come to light. We reacted as soon as they were made public,’ said Archbishop […]