For year’s top religion stories, a major case of déjà vu

Kevin Eckstrom |

(RNS) The calendar may have said 2010, but for Pope Benedict XVI and much of his global flock, it looked and felt a lot like 2002. For the second time in a decade, damning charges of child molestation at the hands of Catholic priests dominated headlines, this time reaching the highest levels of the Vatican, […]

Despite abysmal track record, Calif. atheist keeps suing in lonely crusade

Kimberly Winston |

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (RNS) He is the most famous — and the loneliest — atheist in the country. For 14 years, Michael Newdow, an emergency room doctor and attorney, has challenged what he sees as violations of the First Amendment’s protection against established religion. He works alone from his Sacramento home, his only tools a computer, […]

Christmas vacation

Hi Folks, The Religion News Roundup is taking a much needed vacation. To the 44 percent of you who like people to wish you “Merry Christmas,” well, then Merry Christmas. And for the 49 percent who prefer a more generic greeting, Happy Holidays. In any case, thanks for reading, and we’ll see you on Jan. […]

Gallup: More religious, more healthy

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) Americans who are “very religious” are more likely to practice healthy behaviors than those who are less religious, a Gallup survey shows. The new findings are based on a survey of more than 550,000 people who were asked about their decisions related to healthy eating, smoking and exercise. Overall, very religious Americans scored 66.3 […]

Catholic bishops, evangelicals praise START treaty

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) The U.S. Catholic bishops and other Christian groups are hailing the Senate’s ratification on Wednesday (Dec. 22) of a treaty with Russia that would reduce both countries’ nuclear arms by about 30 percent. Despite some early objections from Republicans, the Senate approved the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) by a vote of 71 […]

COMMENTARY: The coming marginalization

A. James Rudin |

(RNS) It used to be that Americans focused their religious lives around brick-and-mortar structures — churches, synagogues, mosques and temples — for worship, study and assembly. Members of various faith communities considered those buildings the center of their spiritual lives as they gathered for religious rites of passage including baptisms, baby namings, bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies, […]

Legends abound for lords-a-leaping and maids-a-milking in `Twelve Days’

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) Twelve drummers? Ten leaping lords? Two turtle doves? Chances are, the gifts in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” are not high on anyone’s Christmas list this year. In fact, it’s hard to imagine they were ever popular presents. “It’s not a literal song,” said Mickey Mullany, a professional caroler in Baltimore who admits to […]

Thursday’s Religion News Roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

Following the dispute in Phoenix over whether Catholic hospitals can offer emergency abortions (to save the mother’s life), the ACLU wants the feds to ensure that Catholic hospitals don’t put ideology ahead of medicine; the NYT fears Catholic bishops are giving “license to jeopardize women’s lives,” while the Arizona Republic says a “fundamental Catholic commitment […]

Abortion debate opens rift between bishops, hospitals

Daniel Burke |

WASHINGTON (RNS) An umbrella group of Catholic hospitals is backing a Phoenix hospital that was stripped of its church affiliation, sowing the seeds for another sharp conflict between the hierarchy and Catholic health care providers. Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, said St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center “correctly applied” church guidelines […]

U.N. adopts `defamation of religions’ resolution with fewer votes

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) The U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution Tuesday (Dec. 21) on “combating defamation of religions,” drawing criticism from human rights organizations and U.S. officials who say support for the measure continues to decline. The resolution sponsored by Islamic countries passed with 79 to 67, with 40 abstentions. Critics say it does more harm than […]