Wacky leaks

Francis X. Rocca |

Much of the coverage of the latest Wikileaks release has noted a silver lining for the embarrassed State Department: abundant evidence that U.S. diplomats are insightful and informed observers of other countries, and in some cases even excellent writers. But some diplomatic correspondence simultaneously published by an Italian newspaper reveals that foreign service officers can […]

Tuesday’s Religion News Roundup

The arrest of a Somali-born teenager accused of trying to bomb a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore., has raised questions about the government’s use of sting operations to capture terrorism suspects, the NYT reports. In related news, the FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information about the apparent torching of an Islamic […]

Catholic school enrollments worry church leaders

Barri Bronston |

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Not much keeps Archbishop Gregory Aymond up at night. But one thing does make him toss and turn. In the past four years, especially after Hurricane Katrina, Catholic school enrollment has been steadily falling. Finding ways to reverse the trend has been the most challenging work of his administration. “It worries me,” […]

COMMENTARY: Closing doors but not closing down

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) The closing of church doors is under way — long overdue in some cases, a shock in others. Before it goes a step further, however, it is imperative that church leaders be clear about what they are doing: they are closing a building, not a congregation. They are bowing to the unaffordable costs of […]

Religious groups support repealing gay military ban

Daniel Burke |

WASHINGTON (RNS) As the Pentagon readies a long-awaited survey of military personnel on lifting the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy, a new poll suggests broad support across religious groups for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. The Pentagon report, expected to be released Tuesday (Nov. 30), will include a survey of some 400,000 military personnel, […]

Top Canadian archbishop arrested, charged with sexual assault

Ron Csillag |

TORONTO (RNS) A Canadian Orthodox archbishop has been charged with sexual assault on two 10-year-old boys about 25 years ago. Kenneth William Storheim, known as Archbishop Seraphim, flew from his home in Edmonton, Alberta and surrendered to police in Winnipeg, Manitoba last week. He was charged with molesting two 10-year-old boys while serving as rector […]

Hate group watchdog adds Family Research Council to its list

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Southern Poverty Law Center is adding the Family Research Council and four other conservative religious organizations to its list of hate groups because of “falsehoods” in their anti-gay statements. Mark Potok, director of the center’s Intelligence Project, said the groups were not chosen because of their beliefs that homosexual activity is sinful. […]

Judge maintains ruling against Okla. Shariah ban

Omar Sacirbey |

(RNS) A federal judge on Monday (Nov. 29) issued a temporary injunction against an Oklahoma referendum that sought to ban the use of Islamic law, or Shariah, in state courts. U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange had earlier issued a restraining order to prevent the Oklahoma State Elections Board from certifying the results of the Nov. […]

Muslims, FBI search for answers after aborted Oregon terror plot

Allan Brettman |

CORVALLIS, Ore. (RNS) The damage from a fire at the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center early Sunday (Nov. 28) did not amount to much in material loss. But the symbolic wound went far deeper. Fire was apparently set to the mosque just a day after one of its on-again, off-again members was arrested in connection with […]

Mormons lift the veil on official `handbook’ of teachings

Peggy Fletcher Stack |

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) For Mormons — or anyone else — who might be wondering, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes no stand on drinking Coca-Cola. The church opposes gambling, guns in churches, euthanasia, Satan worship and hypnotism for entertainment. It also “strongly discourages” surrogacy, sperm donation and vasectomies. These and other […]