Thursday’s Religion News Roundup

President Obama will stay next month at the Indian hotel attacked by terrorists in 2008, according to the White House. Gandhi’s museum and grave are also on the itinerary; the Sikh’s Golden Shrine is not, though the administration shot down speculation that Obama is dodging the shrine to avoid being photographed in a headscarf and […]

Danforth centers hopes to set tone for civil religion

Tim Townsend |

ST. LOUIS (RNS) Just across from the Gephardt Institute for Public Service at Washington University, employees are moving into a new center named for another legendary Missouri politician. The John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics, launched last year with a $30 million gift from the Danforth Foundation, officially opened its doors on Tuesday […]

La. parish bans Halloween on Sunday

Bruce Nolan / The Times-Picayune |

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Some families may be debating whether to send kids out to trick-or-treat on Sunday night, but there’s no debate in Louisiana’s Livingston Parish, where local laws forbid the observance of Halloween on a Sunday. This year, for the first time, in unincorporated parts of the parish of 120,000, Halloween is on Monday, […]

Vatican appeals for former Iraqi leader’s life

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican on Tuesday (Oct. 26) called for former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz to be spared the death penalty, and suggested it might intervene diplomatically on his behalf. “The position of the Catholic Church on the death penalty is known,” said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See […]

Vitter riding high despite `very serious sin’ with D.C. madam

Bruce Alpert / The Times-Picayune |

WASHINGTON (RNS) When Sen. David Vitter admitted in 2007 to a “very serious sin” after his phone number appeared on the list of a Washington escort service, the “family values” Louisiana Republican’s political career was suddenly on life support. The man who had made his name decrying public corruption and demanding that President Bill Clinton […]

Hoping to avert disaster, Democrats turn to black churches

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Facing an electoral bloodbath at the voting booth next Tuesday, Democrats are turning to a key part of their base — African-Americans — and are using the black church to help get voters to the polls. In an election where Republicans appear poised to recapture the House and possibly the Senate, strong black […]

10 minutes with … Pastor Bruce Wersen

Nicole Neroulias |

BURLINGTON, Wash. (RNS) About an hour north of Seattle, blue-state Washington becomes Glenn Beck country, literally: the Fox News personality and religious revivalist’s hometown of Mount Vernon celebrated “Glenn Beck Day” and presented him with a key to the city last year. Beck’s childhood friend, Pastor Bruce Wersen, fuses entertainment and mass media formats on […]

U.S. is feeling charitable, just not through churches

Whitney Jones |

(RNS) Americans are being more generous to religious charities, but why are they skimping on their giving to churches? A new report from Empty Tomb Inc., an Illinois-based Christian research organization, contains an analysis that found from 2007 to 2008, Protestant churches saw a decrease of $20.02 in per-member annual charitable gifts. Meanwhile, Empty Tomb’s […]

COMMENTARY: The stories of our lives

Cathleen Falsani |

(RNS) “At the deepest level the story of any one of us,” theologian Frederick Buechner wrote in his book, “Yellow Leaves,” “is the story of all of us.” Standing on the beach surrounded by 75 friends and family last weekend, a few minutes before my son was baptized in the Pacific Ocean, Buechner’s words rolled […]

Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

The AP looks at anti-Mormon sentiment rearing its head in races in Nevada and Idaho, a preview of what Mitt Romney could face in a 2012 White House bid (Romney’s campaigning against fellow Mormon Harry Reid in Nevada). Jeff Sharlet, who’s built his career tracking the elusive evangelical group that runs the infamous C Street […]