TuesdayâÂ?Â?s Religion News Roundup: âÂ?Â?Two and a Half HypocrisyâÂ?? Pope Benedict = Marlboro Man? Charity up, abortions down

“Two and a Half Hypocrisy”? Today’s leading religious debate focuses on comments by Angus T. Jones, teen star of the hit comedy “Two and a Half Men,” and a passionate Christian who now denounces the show as “filth” and says people should stop watching. “You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a […]

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GUEST COMMENTARY: Why we have to take the Saudis’ interfaith offer seriously

(RNS) What makes the King Abdullah Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue so special is not just that it has been established by three governments and that it has a multifaith board. Rather, it is the fact that this initiative has come from the very heart of the Muslim world — from the custodian of the two holiest shrines of Islam. By Rabbi David Rosen.

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Charitable giving up, but Sandy and tax changes expected to impact year-end donations

(RNS) The recession continued to affect how much Americans gave to charity last year, and the triple whammy of Superstorm Sandy, a national election and the looming fiscal cliff may cut how much we donate in the crucial final month of 2012, experts say. By Elizabeth Weise / USA Today.

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Racing reverend puts faith into 750-horsepower dragster

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (RNS) Until his recent retirement, the Rev. Dale Schaefer spent most Sunday mornings wearing vestments and leading worship services at St. Mark's Lutheran Church. Whenever he had a day off, the soft-spoken preacher would slip a helmet over his gray hair, don a racing suit, and climb into the cockpit of a 750-horsepower dragster he built from the ground up. By David Yonke.

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Catholic priests pushed to become better preachers

ST. LOUIS (RNS) The Rev. Don Wester believes homilies should be practical and direct — that they should draw a connection between the everyday struggles of parishioners and biblical truths. And it’s exactly the kind of preaching that Catholic bishops across America are hoping for as part of a new national effort to improve preaching at Catholic parishes. By Tim Townsend.

Gay bishop Gene Robinson sets sights on D.C. as retirement looms

CONCORD, N.H. (RNS) When Gene Robinson became the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in 2003, his election triggered shock waves and fears of schism worldwide. Now, as this lighting-rod figure prepares to retire Jan. 5, he’s leaving New Hampshire for a city that knows polarization all too well: Washington, D.C. By G. Jeffrey MacDonald.

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‘#GivingTuesday’ event aims to boost charities

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (RNS) In the days following Thanksgiving, there's already Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday shopping season. Now, a group of charities and corporate sponsors is urging Americans to make the Tuesday after Thanksgiving just as powerful a day of giving to those in need. By John Ostendorff / USA Today.

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