For Mormons, what does `follow the Prophet’ really mean?

Peggy Fletcher Stack |

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) Mormon President Thomas S. Monson, his two right-hand men and 12 apostles will take to the podium at this weekend's (April 2-3) General Conference and offer sermons that many Mormons will treat like faxes from God. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider these 15 men “prophets, […]

Religious freedom envoy tries for a second time

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Obama administration’s nominee to oversee international religious freedom returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday (March 29) in her second bid to charm senators who have doubts about her lack of experience. “The life and professional background I offer to this position are unique,” the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook told members of the […]

In Senate Muslim hearings, a decided change in tone

Daniel Burke |

WASHINGTON (RNS) It was billed as the first-ever congressional hearing on the civil rights of American Muslims. But it played more like an Act II than a premiere. In many ways, the hearing led by Senate Democrats on Tuesday (March 29) was the dramatic antithesis of one House Republicans held earlier this month on homegrown […]

Coalition works to protect religious employees

Richard Yeakley |

WASHINGTON (RNS) A coalition of religious and civil liberty groups is pushing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to stop employers from segregating “visibly religious employees from customers and the general public.” In a March 25 letter submitted to the EEOC, the groups asked the agency to “exercise its regulatory authority” and enforce Title VII of […]

Supreme Court to weigh churches’ employment rights

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Supreme Court agreed Monday (March 28) to consider whether a teacher who was fired from a religious school is subject to a “ministerial exception” that can bar suits against religious organizations. The case involves an employment dispute between a Michigan school and a teacher who is defended by the Equal Employment Opportunity […]

COMMENTARY: Discipline and diversion

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) Saturday’s Gospel Choir performance turned on whether we were disciplined or diverted. If we were disciplined, we would watch the director closely, get our dynamics just right, make our cutoffs crisply, and perform admirably. Yet by allowing ourselves to be diverted just a bit, we made glorious music. We focused on that middle space […]

Tuesday’s Religion News Roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

A suit filed in Chicago yesterday accuses the Jesuits of “reckless disregard” for the well-being of children around an 80-year-old priest who’s now serving a 25-year sentence; this is, of course, on top of the massive $166 million case that Jesuits in the Northwest settled yesterday, and the Seattle Times says true justice for abuse […]

Supporters march to keep paddling at Catholic school

Kari Dequine |

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) More than 500 students, parents and other supporters of St. Augustine High School marched Saturday (March 26) on the offices of Archbishop Gregory Aymond to oppose his call for an end to the school’s policy of using corporal punishment. The archbishop “is trying to fix something that’s not broken, and he’s going […]

Pope calls for Libyan cease-fire

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI is calling for an immediate cease-fire and peace negotiations in Libya, where U.S. and allied European forces have been targeting military assets controlled by the country’s dictator, Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Benedict made his statement on Sunday (March 28), following his weekly recitation of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s […]

Bishops push back on allowing gay couples in housing

Daniel Burke |

WASHINGTON (RNS) U.S. Catholic bishops are urging federal housing officials not to adopt proposed rules that would bar groups that receive federal funds from discriminating against gays, lesbians or transgender persons in housing programs. The Department of Housing and Urban Development said the new rules, proposed on Jan. 24, would “ensure equal access” to programs […]