Tenth-grade students at Albany (N.Y.) High School were given an alarming writing assignment last week: How do I convince my teacher that I think Jews are evil? The superintendent of the school system has apologized and the unnamed teacher has been placed on leave.
Boston University religion professor Stephen Prothero defends the teacher and says he too gave out a similar assignment as a way of teaching about the dangers of Nazi propaganda.
Can’t help but wonder how Jews in the classroom might have felt.
The Wall Street Journal has a new e-book, “Pope Francis: From the End of the Earth to Rome” that chronicles the unlikely ascension of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy. An excerpt appeared in Saturday’s paper. What Bergoglio offered was new narrative, the story says.
“He was telling a story of modern Catholicism that focused less on its complex inner workings and more on its outreach to those most in need.”
Our own Alessandro Speciale reports that the pope has set up a working group of eight cardinals from all over the world to advise him on running the church and reforming the scandal-ridden administration, known as the curia. Boston Archbishop Sean Patrick O’Malley is one of the eight.
Meanwhile, the world’s tallest statue of former pontiff Pope John Paul II has been unveiled today in Poland.
Culture warrior Richard Land has a new job: president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C.
The provisional bishop of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has sent out letters to an estimated 140 clergy seeking clarification as to whether they will be departing the denomination.
Fifty years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged white church leaders to confront racism, an ecumenical network has responded to his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
In weirder news, teen pop star Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and wrote in the guest book that he hoped the young Holocaust victim would have been a “belieber,” aka a fan.
Overseas, an Irish constitutional convention has voted in favor of a referendum on civil marriage for same-sex couples. The government will now decide whether to accept the recommendation.
The leader of Cairo’s small Jewish community and the driving force behind the restoration monuments of Egyptian Jewish history has died. The New York Times has a nice tribute.
Concert pianist Fazil Say was given a suspended jail sentence in Turkey on Monday for insulting religious values on Twitter, a case that has become a cause celebre for Turks alarmed about creeping Islamic conservatism
And finally, some interesting reflections this weekend.: Jana Reiss wrote a loving tribute to Brennan Manning, former priest and author of “All is Grace.”
Anthropologist T. M. Luhrmann said many evangelicals treat God like a therapist, someone who will listen to their concerns and help them to handle them.