Tuesday’s roundup

The developer behind the Islamic cultural center and mosque planned near Ground Zero said it never occurred to him that his project would stir up so much controversy. Sharif El-Gamal has quite a checkered past, according to the AP, with arrests for disorderly conduct, driving while intoxicated, petit larceny, patronizing a prostitute, and trespassing. A […]

COMMENTARY: The way forward is not an escape from troubled times

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) I grew up as a city boy in a farm state. I drove by fields of row crops and imagined waking each morning to the land, my roots deep in the rich Indiana soil. I learned, however, that the romance of farming looked better from the roadside than from the milking station or harvester […]

Presbyterian pastor to appeal gay-marriage verdict

Chris Herlinger |

(RNS/ENInews) A retired Presbyterian pastor who was formally rebuked by a church court for marrying same-sex couples in California will appeal the ruling. The Rev. Jane Spahr was found guilty of violating her ordination vows and the rules of the Presbyterian Church (USA) last Friday (Aug. 27). A court of the Redwoods Presbytery in Napa, […]

Ex-leader of Belgian Catholics urged victim to keep silent

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Secret audio recordings show the former head of the Belgian Catholic Church asking a sex abuse victim not to expose the crimes of his assailant, a bishop who was the victim’s uncle. The tapes, whose contents were published in Belgian newspapers on Saturday (Aug.28), were recorded in April of this year. They […]

New Orleans marks Katrina anniversary with grief, hope

Bruce Nolan / The Times-Picayune |

(RNS) With a light rain falling, hundreds of New Orleanians gathered at St. Louis Cathedral on Sunday (Aug. 29) afternoon to remember Hurricane Katrina in “grief, gratitude and hope,” in the words of New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond. A 45-minute ceremony in the cathedral on Jackson Square attracted clergy and members of eight world religions […]

Five years after Katrina, New Orleans takes stock

Bruce Nolan |

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) With prayers and the tolling of bells, but also with second-line parades and Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleanians on Sunday (Aug. 29)took stock of their rebuilt lives in the five years since the worst event in the region’s history and promised to keep the recovery going. Observances of the fifth anniversary of […]

Monday’s roundup

President Obama marked the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Sunday with a visit to the recovering city and a quote from the Book of Job. “`There is hope for a tree if it be cut down that it will sprout again, and that its tender branch will not cease,’ ” Obama said, drawing from […]

Muslims go `green’ for Ramadan

Michele Chabin |

JERUSALEM (RNS) When Mohammad Rabah prays during the holy month of Ramadan, he makes a special effort to conserve water during ritual purifications. When his family breaks the monthlong sunrise-to-sunset fast, Rabah tries to consume healthy food grown close to his home in the northern Israeli town of Um El Fahem. Rabah, the director of […]

Church court convicts pastor on gay marriage charges

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) A Presbyterian court on Friday (Aug. 27) found a retired California pastor guilty of violating church rules and her ordination vows by performing same-sex marriages while it was briefly legal in the state in 2008. The Rev. Jane Spahr, 68, did not deny presiding at as many as 16 ceremonies, even though her denomination, […]

Poll: Muslims give Obama highest approval ratings

Kevin Eckstrom |

WASHINGTON (RNS) More than three-quarters of U.S. Muslims support President Obama, a distinctly mixed blessing for a White House trying to combat rumors that Obama is a secret Muslim. A new Gallup Poll shows that Obama got his highest approval ratings from U.S. Muslims, at 78 percent, for the first half of 2010. That’s down […]