GUEST COMMENTARY: Is this about American Muslims, or America?

Eboo Patel |

(RNS) Lately, Congress appears to be obsessed with Muslims. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is holding hearings Tuesday (March 29) on “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims,” and Chairman Peter King has announced a second set of hearings on “Radicalization in the American Muslim Community” in the House Homeland Security Committee, this set focusing on […]

More U.S. colleges adding Muslim chaplains

Matthew Daneman |

ITHACA, N.Y. (RNS) When Jainal Bhuiyan attended Cornell University, he and his fellow Muslim students were mentored and led in religious prayers by a collection of Muslim professors, graduate students and staff. “That was our network that filled the void,” said Bhuiyan, 28, and now senior vice president at the New York investment bank Rodman […]

Monday’s Religion News Roundup

As Japan tries to plug its leaking nuclear reactor, some Japanese have a different dilemma. The death toll from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami – tallied at 10,800 and climbing – exceeds the capacity of crematoriums in the hard-hit coastal regions, where burials are substituting for Buddhist-rooted cremation rituals. Moving from one crisis to […]

UN passes religious freedom resolution

Kevin Eckstrom |

WASHINGTON (RNS) U.S. officials praised a United Nations council for a new statement on religious freedom that sidestepped a divisive debate sponsored by Islamic countries over the “defamation of religions.” The U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday (March 24) approved a resolution voicing concern on “emerging obstacles” to religious freedom and growing “religious intolerance, discrimination […]

Vatican opens dialogue with atheists

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A new Vatican initiative to promote dialogue between believers and atheists debuted with a two-day event on Thursday and Friday (March 24-25) in Paris. “Religion, Light and Common Reason” was the theme of seminars sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture at various locations in the French capital, including Paris-Sorbonne University […]

Tennessee amends anti-Shariah bill

Richard Yeakley |

(RNS) Tennessee lawmakers are rewriting a bill that described Islamic law as a threat to U.S. security and seemed to equate peaceful Muslim practices with terrorism. State Sen. Bill Ketron and House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, both Republicans, offered the revision after questions arose about the proposed bill’s constitutionality. “The revision reflects our original […]

Friday’s Religion News Roundup

Nearly 60 percent of evangelicals believe God uses natural disasters to send messages, according to a new survey conducted by RNS and Public Religion Research Institute. More than half of evangelicals say God punishes whole nations for the sins of individuals, according to the survey. The vast majority of mainline Protestants and Catholics disagree. Do […]

Chaplains offered exit plan as gay training starts

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Army has started training chaplains on the repeal of the ban on openly gay military members, saying those who are unable to follow the forthcoming policy can seek a voluntary departure. “The Chaplains Corps’ First Amendment freedoms and its duty to care for all will not change,” reads a slide in the […]

Facebook revelations lead to polygamy charges

John Tunison |

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) A Grand Rapids man who took a bride while still married to his estranged first wife — and who is now charged with polygamy — says he “made a mistake.” Richard Barton Jr., 34, who remains free from jail on personal recognizance after being arrested March 16, said, “I let love […]

Vatican mourns Taylor as `last diva of cinema’

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican’s official newspaper eulogized actress Elizabeth Taylor as the “last remaining star in the firmament of old Hollywood,” and praised her contributions on AIDS and other charitable causes. “The curtain falls on the violet eyes of Hollywood” read the headline over Taylor’s obituary in the Friday (March 25) edition of L’Osservatore […]