2012 candidates asked to sign religious freedom pledge

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) An advocacy organization for persecuted Christians has asked the 2012 presidential candidates to sign a pledge stating they would make religious freedom a priority in the United States and overseas if they win the White House. Open Doors USA joined with religious freedom activist Tom Farr of Georgetown University to draft the pledge, which […]

One-third of shelter residents are newly homeless

Josef Kuhn |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Nearly one in five clients of Christian rescue missions said they were victims of physical violence within the past year, a 6 percent jump from the previous year, according to a new survey. “It’s quite possible that the uptick in physical violence … is due to a friend or family member’s feeling of […]

Accused janitor says priest blackmailed, abused him

Ben Horowitz |

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (RNS) For four years, Jose Feliciano told a jury on Monday (Nov. 28), his rage grew. The former church janitor said his employer, the Rev. Edward Hinds, had been extorting him, forcing him into unwanted sexual contact under the threat of exposing Feliciano’s criminal past. The janitor grudgingly allowed the priest to continue […]

Charitable giving up slightly but still ailing

Melanie Eversley |

(RNS) Charitable giving is trickling back up as the economy heals, but it could take years to return to pre-recession levels, nonprofit leaders say. Giving totaled $291 billion in 2010, according to the 2011 annual report by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. That's up 3.8 percent from 2009 and follows two consecutive years […]

Episcopal bishop cleared of `abandonment’ charge

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) The Episcopal bishop of South Carolina, who has distanced his diocese from the national denomination since its sanction of openly gay bishops, has not “abandoned” the Episcopal Church, a church committee announced Monday (Nov. 28). Bishop Mark Lawrence, an outspoken conservative, has said that he wants to remain part of the Episcopal Church, even […]

Tuesday Godbytes

Good Magazine asks: why are so many lifestyle bloggers Mormon? NY Magazine is curious whether or not Jewish food can “go upscale.” Matzo balls with gold flakes, anyone? CNet reports that Sam’s Club pulled “The Brick Testament” – a picture book of Lego characters reenacting Biblical scenes – from its shelves. I guess you could […]

Churches help Occupy movement survive crackdowns, winter

Josef Kuhn |

WASHINGTON (RNS) As Occupy camps nationwide deal with police crackdowns and the inevitable onset of winter temperatures, religious communities of all stripes are stepping in with offers of shelter and solidarity. Soon after police forcibly evicted the original Occupy Wall Street camp in New York’s Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15, many of the protesters began […]

COMMENTARY: All I want for Christmas

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) After noticing that Lexus wants me to give a $50,000 sedan to my wife this Christmas, I joined my family in the annual “Ehrich Christmas Wish List,” an online spreadsheet maintained by my youngest son. I knew I had to list something, so I thought hard. Had to be affordable — no Apple MacBook […]