Obama to visit largest mosque in Indonesia

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) President Obama plans to visit one of the world’s largest mosques during his trip to Indonesia in November, the White House announced Thursday (Oct. 28). The visit to Istiqlal Mosque on Nov. 10 will precede a speech about U.S. outreach to Muslims throughout the world, said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser. Rhodes […]

Gallup: Most religious Americans have high levels of well-being

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) The most religious Americans also have the highest rates of well-being, according to a new Gallup survey. The finding is based on a survey of more than 550,000 people about their physical and emotional health and their work environment. Overall, the very religious received a score on Gallup’s well-being index of 68.7 percent, while […]

Right wingers, Chelsea Clinton included on top Jews list

Nicole Neroulias |

(RNS) Russian and right-wing Jews make a splash in this year’s list of influential people compiled by The Forward, the country’s largest national Jewish weekly newspaper. Crowning the 2010 “Forward 50,” published Oct. 26, are: Google co-founder Sergey Brin; U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.; Misha Galperin, head of Jewish Agency International Development; Supreme Court Justice […]

Friday’s Religion News Roundup

‘Tis a day for surveys, my friends. A new Gallup survey says very religious Americans are emotionally and physical healthier than other Americans. A new Pew poll shows white mainline Protestants and evangelicals abandoning congressional Democratic candidates in October. Catholics (despite the best intentions of Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke) are split evenly between Dems and Republicans. […]

Author tells personal tale of shooting and forgiveness

Roy Hoffman |

MOBILE, Ala. (RNS) In “The Devil in Pew Number Seven,” Rebecca Nichols Alonzo tells a deeply personal story of God, faith, murder and forgiveness. The story centers on her parents, a Holiness church pastor and his wife, who left Satsuma, Ala., in the 1970s to shepherd a flock in the struggling Free Welcome Holiness Church […]

COMMENTARY: Faith communities must change with the times

A. James Rudin |

(RNS) Our nation’s faith communities face extraordinary challenges in the new, soon-to-begin decade. But many clergy are in a state of denial, or worse still, believe their old ways will continue to work in a rapidly changing America. Peter Steinfels, the former New York Times religion writer and an astute observer of the Catholic community, […]

Pope says science can unite humans with God

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI told scientists that their research can lead to knowledge of God by revealing the natural order of the universe. The pope made his remarks on Thursday (Oct. 28) before a plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican. The evident logic governing the universe “leads us […]

White House denies rumors about Obama and Sikh temple

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) The White House has denied reports that President Obama will avoid a Sikh shrine while visiting India next week because the required head covering might have fanned false rumors about his faith. “The decision we made was driven by … the interests of time, how to best advance our common interests with India in […]

Southern Baptist pastor appeals suit over Obama’s birth

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) Southern Baptist gadfly Wiley Drake will appeal a court’s dismissal of his suit claiming President Obama was not born in the U.S. and is ineligible for the presidency. Obama has a Hawaiian birth certificate but Drake and others in the “birther” movement claim he is not a natural-born citizen. Drake, a former vice president […]

Service blends American Indian and Christian beliefs

Paul R. Kopenkoskey |

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) Smoke wafts upward as the Rev. Mike Peters blows on the Knick-Knick, a sacred herbal blend of spearmint leaves, red willow bark, sage, sweet grass and bayberry bush. “As the smoke goes up, the Creator’s blessings go down,” Peters says. A dozen people sitting in a circle listen as he prays. […]