Christian, Jewish scholars urge changes to Oberammergau script

Alfredo Garcia |

(RNS) Jewish and Christian scholars have called for a full edit of the script for the world’s largest Passion play, currently on stage in southern Germany, even as changes couldn’t be made until at least 2020. Produced once every 10 years, the Oberammergau Passion Play in Bavaria is the largest and one of the oldest […]

Four in 10 Americans see Jesus’ return by 2050

Ankita Rao |

(RNS) Four in 10 Americans believe Jesus Christ will return to earth by 2050, while a slightly larger portion (46 percent) don’t believe they’ll see a Second Coming by mid-century, according to a new survey. As part of Smithsonian Magazine’s 40th anniversary issue, 1,546 adults were asked to guess the forecast of war, energy, science […]

Study: Devout are less stressed than non-believers

Leanne Larmondin |

TORONTO (RNS) Religion may provide a “buffer” allowing the devout to feel less anxiety when they make mistakes, compared with non-believers, according to new scientific research. Researchers at the University of Toronto measured “error-related negativity” — people’s defensive response to errors — and compared it to religious belief. Their findings were published in the journal […]

Mormon influence, imagery runs deep through `Twilight’

Angela Aleiss |

LOS ANGELES (RNS) Ever since Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” began haunting the imagination in 1897, popular culture has identified Christian symbols — crucifixes, holy water, Communion wafers — as weapons to ward off a blood-thirsty vampire. The “Twilight” novels and film franchise have religious associations, too — but most of them come from the Church of […]

Wednesday’s roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

An 83-year-old nun in Harlem died when a minivan involved in a police chase crashed into a crowd of pedestrians. Nikki Haley, a Sikh-turned-Christian GOP state senator in South Carolina, won her run-off race last night and is poised to become the state’s next governor, despite 11th-hour charges that she’s not really a Christian. In […]

Abuse scandal may lead to exodus for German Catholics

Niels Sorrells |

BERLIN (RNS) In the months since news of child sexual abuse scandals roiled German society, barely a week goes by without news of yet another Catholic parish reporting declining membership. While it may be premature to estimate the long-term impact of the scandal — especially since many of the cases were decades old — the […]

COMMENTARY: We’re all in this together

Phyllis Zagano |

(RNS) Pope Benedict XVI could not have predicted the heartbreak in the Gulf of Mexico when he wrote his World Day of Peace Message for 2010, “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.” Still, his words now hit home in the combined mistakes and insensitivity of mega-corporation British Petroleum and the disaster unfolding in […]

Faith groups give G20 nations failing grade on poverty

Alfredo Garcia |

WASHINGTON (RNS) An alliance of religious denominations has given the world’s richest nations a near-failing grade for their progress on eradicating world poverty. Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 religious groups that advocates debt forgiveness for poor nations, gave the Group of 20 a “D” grade in a report released Tuesday (June […]

Muslims slam Supreme Court decision on `material support’

Omar Sacirbey |

(RNS) Muslim and civil rights groups are criticizing a U.S. Supreme Court decision that upholds a federal law prohibiting “material support” for accused terrorist groups, which critics maintain could include humanitarian aid. The law, which the Supreme Court upheld Monday (June 21) in a 6-3 decision, prohibits providing cash and weapons to terrorist groups, but […]

Supporters decry `horrifying’ 27-year sentence for slaughterhouse chief

Nicole Neroulias |

(RNS) Orthodox Jewish leaders say the 27-year prison sentence announced Monday (June 21) against former kosher slaughterhouse chief Sholom Rubashkin far outweighs his white-collar crime. Rubashkin, 51, was convicted last November on 86 counts of fraud stemming from a $26.8 million loss to lenders after an immigration raid found nearly 400 undocumented workers at his […]