Wednesday’s roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

The father of a dead Marine, whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protestors from Fred Phelps‘ Westboro Baptist Church, has been ordered to pay Phelps’ legal fees. The case is headed to the Supreme Court, but until then, supporters have launched a grass-roots campaign to help pay the bills. Members of the Hutaree Christian militia […]

The Vatican’s `Watergate’?

Kevin Eckstrom |

WaPo’s Sally Quinn was asked to come on MSNBC and talk about the Catholic sex abuse scandal. She didn’t mince any words, calling the scandal “the Vatican’s Watergate, and the pope is Nixon.” You’ll recall that Quinn’s family knows a thing or two about Watergate; her husband, Ben Bradlee, was the top editor at WaPo […]

Bush most `surprised’ by prayers of Americans

UCN: (RNS) The thing that most surprised former President George W. Bush was not international crises like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, nor the resilience of the Iraqi insurgency, but rather the impact of prayers from the American people, he said. Full story.

U.S. bishops defend pope as approval ratings drop

Kevin Eckstrom |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Top leaders of the Catholic Church in the U.S. are defending Pope Benedict XVI against accusations that he mishandled at least two clergy sexual abuse cases. The statement, released Tuesday (March 30) by the executive committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, comes as a new poll finds the abuse scandal has […]

Experts describe Michigan militia as a cult

David Jesse/ AnnArbor.com |

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (RNS) When militia expert Jack Kay first ran across a MySpace page for the Michigan-based Hutaree militia six months ago, he thought it was just another group wrapping itself in God and country. But on Monday (March 29), following weekend raids by federal authorities in three states, Kay said the group went […]

Muslims probe growing Islamic financial sector

Ron Csillag |

TORONTO (RNS) Global leaders in Islamic finance are meeting in Toronto Tuesday and Wednesday (March 30-31) to probe the growing but still under-explored world of financial products and services that comply with Shariah, or Islamic law. The Usury-Free Association of North America (UFANA) conference brings together more than 150 experts from a dozen countries to […]

Is Obama ignoring black church leaders?

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) When President Obama was elected, some black pastors, fresh from a campaign that featured extensive outreach to their churches, expected meetings with the president, or at least to be enlisted as informal advisers. For better or worse, those expectations have largely fallen flat. “I think he doesn’t avail himself as fully as he […]

Faith-based groups finishing work in New Orleans

Bruce Nolan |

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Two religious denominations that have been pouring money and volunteers into rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina are winding down their recovery projects to return to work elsewhere on a more normal scale. Representatives of the United Methodist Church and the Salvation Army said they see an end to their rebuilding work around New […]

COMMENTARY: Being upset is all the rage

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) From 33,000 feet, America seems a peaceful land. All this room, all these people growing crops and working in factories and offices, trying their best to build families and to make their brief spans worthwhile. At ground level, however, we encounter a more disturbing picture. At the airport in Corpus Christi, Texas, I listened […]

Tuesday’s roundup

Countering reports in the NYT and AP, the Catholic priest in charge of the church trial of a pedophile priest in Milwaukee says the Vatican, and specifically the future Pope Benedict XVI, never called off the trial. The Rev. Thomas Brundage, judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1995-2003, says the Rev. Lawrence Murphy […]