Update: Church/jail sentencing program under review

Kim Lanier |

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (RNS) An alternative sentencing plan that would give inmates the choice between time in jail or a year in church will be delayed for several weeks while lawyers review it to make sure there are no legal issues. The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama sent a letter to city leaders on […]

Christians outraged as BBC drops B.C./A.D. dating method

Al Webb |

LONDON (RNS) British Christians are incensed after the state-funded BBC decided to jettison the terms B.C. and A.D. in favor of B.C.E. and C.E. in historical date references. The broadcaster has directed that the traditional B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, or Year of the Lord) be replaced by B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and […]

Dead Sea Scrolls now available online

Michele Chabin |

JERUSALEM (RNS) Five of the Dead Sea Scrolls that have been stored for decades in a climate-controlled exhibit at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem are now available in digital form to anyone with an Internet connection. A website (http://dss.collections.imj.org.il) developed by the Israel Museum and Google allows online visitors to examine the scrolls in minute […]

`Values voters’ still motivated by gay marriage, abortion

Josef Kuhn |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Amid a political climate dominated by economic concerns, social conservatives are as concerned as ever about issues like abortion and gay marriage, a leading conservative activist said Tuesday (Sept. 27). Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), spoke about what “values voters” and evangelicals want in a presidential candidate as Republicans […]

TuesdayâÂ?Â?s Religion News Roundup

Barack Obama really is the Antichrist, at least according to a heckler last night during the president’s fundraiser in Los Angeles. “Jesus Christ is still God!” shouted David Serrano before security dragged him off. “You are the Antichrist!” The president smiled and agreed with the first part, though he issued no formal denial of the […]

COMMENTARY: What would Jesus argue about?

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) What if America truly were a Christian nation? Not a Southern Baptist nation, or an Episcopal nation, or a Roman Catholic nation. Not grounded in the doctrinal and ecclesiastical isms that have grown up over the centuries. But a Christian nation, doing what Jesus did. Well, we wouldn’t be arguing about sex, that’s for […]

TV’s favorite serial killer finds religion

Piet Levy |

(RNS) That whole “Thou shalt not kill” part of the Ten Commandments seems pretty clear — except maybe to Dexter Morgan, the beloved serial killer protagonist in Showtime’s hit drama, “Dexter.” Dexter lives by his own commandment — the “Code of Harry,” bequeathed by his father to help his sociopathic son survive — by ridding […]

Monday Godbytes

CNN has an article entitled “The gospel according to Justin Bieber.” Really, what else do you need to know? Tech blog Gizmodo is excited about a newly-digitized version of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Apparently Google made all the digital magic happen, and they’re available for your online perusal (how’s your ancient Hebrew?) here. The Friendly […]

Criminals offered choice of time in pews or the pokey

Connie Baggett |

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (RNS) A new alternative sentencing program that offers first-time, nonviolent offenders a choice of a year in church or jail time and fines is drawing national attention, including fire from the American Civil Liberties Union. “This policy is blatantly unconstitutional,” said Olivia Turner, executive director for the ACLU of Alabama. “It violates […]

Best-selling pastor is off to L.A. to write more books

Garret Ellison |

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (RNS) Megachurch pastor Rob Bell, whose best-selling book raised evangelical eyebrows by questioning traditional beliefs on hell, knew it was time to address the “giant, glowing, loud” elephant in the room on Sunday (Sept. 25) morning. What’s going to happen to Mars Hill Bible Church, his flock wanted to know, after their charismatic […]