Can Sikhs, Hindus get elected without converting?

Alfredo Garcia |

WASHINGTON (RNS) What does it mean when the two best-known Indian-American politicians in American politics are converts to Christianity? In South Carolina, Nikki Haley won the Republican nomination for governor despite a whisper campaign that criticized her name and religion. Along with rumors of alleged sexual misconduct, many questioned the validity of Haley’s Christian faith. […]

10 minutes with … Jeffrey Lena

Nicole Neroulias |

(RNS) From a small office in Berkeley, Calif., attorney Jeffrey Lena tries to avoid publicity, despite the increasingly high-profile nature of his work as the Vatican’s U.S. counsel. As a sovereign immunity law specialist, Lena, 51, has spent the past decade defending the Holy See from lawsuits — most recently one that seek to hold […]

Wednesday’s roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

Religion Dispatches wonders whether Sen. Orrin “Anything I can do for the Jewish people, I will do” Hatch will support Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, who’s Jewish. A Baptist church outside Washington, D.C., will host a memorial service for Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., who died as a lifelong Baptist at age 92. Wisconsin‘s Supreme Court […]

Orthodox woman named among 50 `Most Influential Rabbis’

Nicole Neroulias |

(RNS) An Orthodox Jewish woman is one of Newsweek’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America this year, reflecting a major shift in the magazine’s fourth-annual compilation of top Jewish leaders. Sara Hurwitz, who debuts at No. 36, made headlines when Rabbi Avi Weiss (No. 18) of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, N.Y., granted her the […]

Methodists certify seminary after concerns over identity

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) The United Methodist Church has decided to restore ties and funding to a California seminary after assurances that it will remain a Christian school. Claremont School of Theology has met the criteria for keeping its affiliation with the United Methodist Church, according to an announcement on Friday (June 25). The school receives about $800,000 […]

Belgian officials say Vatican concerns are `over the top’

Richard Allen |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Belgian authorities on Tuesday (June 29) called Vatican criticisms “over the top” after police raided the home of the country’s archbishop and the offices of a church-backed commission investigating clerical abuse. Pope Benedict XVI called the raids “surprising and deplorable,” and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone described the raids as […]

Church attendance inches up, Gallup says

Alfredo Garcia |

WASHINGTON (RNS) A new Gallup Poll found that Americans’ self-reported church attendance has increased slightly since 2008. When asked “How often do you attend church, synagogue, or mosque?” 43.1 percent of Americans in 2010 said they attended church “at least once a week” or “almost every week.” That’s up from 42.8 percent in 2009 and […]

Churches torn on whether to allow molesters in pews

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) “All are welcome” is a common phrase on many a church sign and website. But what happens when a convicted sex offender takes those words literally? Church officials and legal advocates are grappling with how — and if — people who’ve been convicted of sex crimes should be included in U.S. congregations, especially when […]

Churches opt for starting own humanitarian agencies

Krista Kapralos |

(RNS) Members of Metro Community Church in Englewood, N.J., support the missionaries sent by their denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, to the Congo, but Africa is a distant and dangerous trip from the 400-member flock. “We can’t send our short-term missionaries there,” said Stephen Sharkey, the church’s life ministries pastor. Church members wanted something hands-on. […]

Tuesday’s roundup

Two big decisions from the Supreme Court came down yesterday. In the first, SCOTUS ruled 5-4 that a law school can deny recognition to a Christian student group that won’t let gays join. In the second, SCOTUS refused to hear an appeal from the Holy See (the U.S. government had signed on as amici) dismissing […]