2011: A year of taking it to the streets

Kevin Eckstrom |

(RNS) 2011 was supposed to be the year the world ended. Twice. But after evangelist Harold Camping’s doomsday predictions failed to materialize, all eyes are now on 2012 when, according to an ancient Mayan calendar, we need to once again prepare for the end of the world as we know it. Jesus was pretty clear: […]

Off the Air

The Religion News Roundup is on vacation until Tuesday, Jan. 3. Enjoy the holidays and thanks for reading. Cheers, RNS

Poll: Nearly 80 percent of Americans are Christian

Adelle M. Bank |

(RNS) As Christmas nears, more than three-quarters of Americans identify themselves as Christian, Gallup reports. Pollsters found that 78 percent of Americans identify with Christianity. Overall, more than 82 percent of Americans have a religious identity, with this breakdown: — Protestant/other Christian: 52.5 percent — Catholic: 23.6 percent — Mormon: 1.9 percent — Jewish: 1.6 […]

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Man sentenced to 14 years for burning black church after Obama’s election

Stephanie Barry |

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (RNS) The second of three city men termed “shiftless and pathetic” by a judge was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for burning a local black church to the ground in the predawn hours after President Barack Obama was elected. Michael F. Jacques Jr., 27, did not go quietly during a three-year […]

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Friday Godbytes: Geeky Menorahs; Atheist Scorecard for Presidential Candidates; Christmas Lights!

Everyone is working on a newfangled menorah these days. Google may have gotten some flack this week for not making a Hanukkah “Google Doodle,” but they made sure folks knew about the lava-lamp menorah in their offices (at left). There are other techie menorahs too, such as this robotic menorah and even a “digital” menorah […]

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Friday’s Religion News Roundup: Gay KKK, Vatican porn and no Midnight Mass in Iraq

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George – never a man afraid to say exactly what he’s thinking – says “gay liberation” forces are now as big a threat to the Catholic Church as the KKK once was. And the other guy who isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind – Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow – […]

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Christmas banner causes big spat in small N.J. town

Amy Ellis Nutt |

PITMAN, N.J. (RNS) Located just 17 miles southeast of Philadelphia, Pitman, N.J., has the rural feel of fictional Bedford Falls in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Life, however, became a lot less wonderful for Pitman’s mayor, Mike Batten, a week ago when he received an email from Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion […]

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Bill Cosby brings his comedic touch to the Bible

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) Like many Americans, Bill Cosby owns multiple Bibles — eight, in fact. And, like many Americans, he doesn’t read any of them regularly. But for a half-century or more, Cosby’s been looking for funny nuggets from the Bible, particularly the book of Genesis. He’s had audiences roaring, imagining poor Noah struggling to build his […]

Thursday Godbytes: Google holiday treats; 3D printed dreidels; Vader Did You Know?

Google is getting getting into the holiday spirit. If you go to google.com right now and search for the phrase “let it snow,” you’ll get a wintery surprise. The same is true if you search for “Hanukkah,” although with fewer snow flakes. (For more Google fun, search for “tilt” or “do a barel roll”) Despite […]

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Evangelicals side with Catholics on insurance mandate

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Catholics who have pushed back against a White House policy that would require many religious insurers to cover contraception are getting a high-profile assist from dozens of evangelical leaders. “We write in solidarity, but separately — to stress that religious organizations and leaders of other faiths are also deeply troubled by and opposed […]

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