Friday’s Religion News Roundup

Progressive religious groups are licking their wounds after the House approved the bipartisan tax-cut deal that preserves Bush-era tax rates on all income levels, including the super rich; anti-hunger activists from Bread for the World, however, call it a “major victory.” A New York grand jury declined to indict one of the two men accused […]

Religious leaders join White House in Dream Act push

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Religious leaders joined White House officials Thursday (Dec. 16) in urging the Senate to pass the DREAM Act, calling it a moral solution to help students hurt by the country’s immigration system. The legislation, which would permit young illegal immigrants to gain citizenship through a college education or military service, passed the House […]

Christian and atheist groups in race to raise money for charity

Piet Levy |

(RNS)Christians and atheists are fighting again — this time over who can raise more money for charity. The Christian and atheist communities on the online forum Reddit are in a battle to raise the most money for their causes. In the spirit of Christmas (or in atheists’ case, human generosity), community members are even donating […]

Pope calls lack of religious freedom a `threat to security and peace’

Alessandro Speciale |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday (Dec. 16) called limits on religious freedom a “threat to security and peace,” and said Christians are persecuted more than any other faith group. The pope, in his annual message for the World Day of Peace on Jan. 1, said the freedom to profess and express one’s […]

U.S. split on `Happy Holidays’ vs. `Merry Christmas’

Nicole Neroulias |

(RNS) While more than nine out of 10 Americans say they plan to celebrate Christmas this year, they are divided on whether businesses should use messages like “Season’s Greetings” rather than “Merry Christmas,” according to a new poll. The latest PRRI/RNS Religion News Poll, released Thursday (Dec. 16), found Americans are split, 44 percent in […]

COMMENTARY: The uncensored, unsanitized real Christmas story

Dick Staub |

(RNS) There’s a Christmas pageant video circulating on YouTube this week that shows a camel named Lulu Bell walking down the aisle of First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, Fla. Lulu Bell, following the script, stops to kneel. And that’s when mayhem ensues. As Lulu Bell begins to rise from her knees, the trainer […]

Thursday’s Religion News Roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

The on-again, off-again repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell appears to be back on again after the House passed a stand-alone repeal yesterday; it now heads to the Senate, where advocates are more optimistic things might work out this time after last week’s defeat. Two men accused of torching two East Texas churches earlier this year […]

Disorder has haunted saints and, especially, sinners

Kristen Moulton |

(RNS) Chad’s bout with scrupulosity began earnestly enough. An Idaho health-care worker and devout Mormon, Chad (who asked that his real name not be used) began wondering if he was totally upfront with patients. Soon, he started scrutinizing his past, looking for times he might not have been completely honest. “It started to steamroll on […]

Republicans join FRC in ad countering hate group listing

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Family Research Council, joined by prominent Republican allies, is mounting an aggressive defense to a decision by the Southern Poverty Law Center to designate the powerful conservative lobby as a hate group. “The group, which was once known for combating racial bigotry, is now attacking several groups that uphold Judeo Christian moral […]

Swiss urged to continue to allow Mormon missionaries

Thomas Burr and Peggy Fletcher Stack / The Salt Lake Tribune |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Thirteen members of Congress are urging Swiss authorities to allow Mormon missionaries to continue serving beyond 2012, when a new rule would forbid non-European Union citizens from serving as missionaries. Sens. Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch, both Utah Republicans, and Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, joined other Mormon members of Congress in urging the […]