A photo of Kevin Durant's tattooed back.

A Twitter feed photo of Kevin Durant’s tattooed back.

A man thought to be a British soldier was killed by two men in a frenzied attack on a London street. After being run over by a car, the man was hacked with cleavers by men who claimed to be Muslim. One of them told a TV reporter, “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you.”

Perhaps they should take a lesson from the pope.

In remarks at a Mass on Wednesday, Pope Francis said building walls against non-Catholics leads to “killing in the name of God.”

“To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy,” the pope said.

In other Vatican news, a financial watchdog group said it had detected six possible attempts to use the Holy See to launder money last year.

An atheist lawmaker’s decision to give the daily prayer at the Arizona House of Representatives triggered a do-over from a Christian lawmaker who said the previous day’s prayer didn’t pass muster.

WaPo posted the text of the “prayer,” by Democratic Rep. Juan Mendez of Tempe:

“In this room, let us cherish and celebrate our shared humanness, our shared capacity for reason and compassion, our shared love for the people of our state, for our Constitution and for our democracy.”

Mild-mannered and respectful, I say.

The Anti-Defamation League is going after Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan for making anti-Semitic statements at a Detroit church appearance. Farrakhan denounced “Satanic Jews” and the “synagogue of Satan” that he said controls major U.S. institutions.

Who says New Yorkers are godless? The city council passed a resolution calling on state lawmakers to protect their right to rent worship space on Sundays.

Of course, everyone knows Brooklyn is mecca for hipsters. Right?

Trying to outdo the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn’s “Jesus was the original hipster” ad campaign, Chabad of North Brooklyn recently released a “Unite the Beards” video with the theme, “Hasid and hipster, not as different as you think.” But no bearded hipsters turned out for a forum on the subject of facial hair. Just bearded Hasidim.

Not quite hipster, more dermal art aficionado: Check out basketball player Kevin Durant tattooed back. It includes a portrait of Jesus and a quote from James 1: 2:4.

A prominent American Jewish leader was warned about a serious Holocaust compensation scam more than eight years before the fraud became public.

Julius Berman, chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, failed to act on the fraud taking place, The Forward is reporting.

The Boy Scouts of America’s national leadership will vote today on whether to allow openly gay Scouts in its ranks. Stay tuned for more coverage.

Kellie Kotraba looks at the growing role of gay Mormon characters in theater and literature.

An American missionary priest entangled in a dispute over the ownership of two mission hospitals in Kenya has been suspended from the priesthood by his order. He sued a cardinal and a nun.

Chelsea Clinton, a Methodist who married a Jew, is stumping for interfaith relations. She is the co-founder and co-chairwoman of New York University’s Of Many Institute, a program for “multifaith” education.

Our own Jonathan Merritt interviewed Shane Claiborne, one of the leaders of the New Monasticism movement, which is made up of Protestants, mostly. Claiborne is pretty rad. He’s also pretty practical:

“One of my closest friends and mentors is an 80-year-old nun who’s as wild as they come. We’ve gone to jail together many times for protesting bad laws. (It’s always a good idea to have a nun next to you when you get arrested!)”

And finally, who knew? The New York Times gushes about Brigham Young University’s computer animation program. “Out of nowhere, B.Y.U. — a Mormon university owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — has become a farm team for the country’s top animation studios and effects companies. Unlikely as it sounds, young Mormons are being sucked out of the middle of Utah and into the very centers of American pop-culture manufacturing.”

We won’t suck you out of anywhere for subscribing to the Roundup. But you might become part of a farm team knowledgeable about religion news.


  1. The Pope said that saying you’re saying that killing in the name of God is blasphemy? Wow, a true seed change in the catholic church, given their history. I’m beginning to like this Pope May he make more of these kinds of statements in the future.

    • When priest stop blessing armies then you can believe the pope’s words.

      Of course the pope’s words leave room for a just war. In Catholic theory a just war can only be waged by a legitimate government, not individuals acting on their own. That would be the context of his statement. In Muslim circles there is no clear cut theory of just war, and the role of individuals, but if there is it is not preached clearly and consistently. One Muslim theory has it that a just war – defensive, as the London butchers considered their act – can be called by any legitimate religious authority. And the radical imams of Britain and elsewhere preach holy war, even by individuals.

      On the other hand all the Catholic and Christian theory of a just war means nothing when states and individuals choose to act. And Catholic and Christian preachers can preach hate and holy war too.

      A just war must be defensive, and preemptive defense would not qualify, although you will have conservative Catholics arguing that it does – and they have the right in Catholic theology to so argue. And there are other conditions, including not using more force than is absolutely needed, and first exhausting all other ways to resolve a conflict, and acting with prudence and restraint in victory.

      In the end what the pope has to say means very little without a stern enforcement system. Such a system is run by the bishops only in regard to doctrinal interpretation, contraceptives and abortion. War is sometimes preached against, but no enforcement measures are taken. The bishops would not dare take on the military establishment or pro-war right wing Catholics like the head of Fox News.

  2. I’ve complained about this before, and no one around here listens. I’m going to try it again, now, but I’m completely hopeless that it will matter.

    The practice of putting something in a headline, and then burying it down in the middle of a body of copy, without so much as a sub-head, so that the reader needn’t wade through all the rest before finally getting to what’s in the headline, must stop.

    It won’t, of course; and so this website will continue to exhibit its disdain for the reader and the value of his/her time.

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    • With all due respect, Gregg: it’s probably done this way so as to encourage readers to go through all the juicy bits that are provided in here. The RNS takes a lot of time putting this together (I know from experience) and it’s always nice when people read the whole thing and not just the headline bits.

  3. The Pope also quoted Jesus to the effect that he who is not against you is for you, making a point not to create barriers between Catholics or believers in general and others.

    But of course anyone who says contraceptives are OK can be said to be against Catholics. Same for abortion. So the statement says very little really. This statement can even be used by right wingers as another way to be against the people they want to be against.

    And other Christians can say that those who are not Bible literalists are against you.

    • David Thompson

      You have to remember that god is a psychotic sociopath, among other things. Some days he wants people with bibles killed and other days he’s looking for witches. You can never please him. He’s a narcissistic bully, among other things.

      • You’re so wrong. But I can understand how you could be duped into believing that based on your observation of hypocritical religion, which may seem to be the only type of religion in existence. There are powerful forces keeping the truth hidden from most people.

  1. [...] Thursday's Religion News Roundup: Cleaver assault * atheist prayer * Hasid … A man thought to be a British soldier was killed by two men in a frenzied attack on a London street. After being run over by a car, the man was hacked with cleavers by men who claimed to be Muslim. One of them told a TV reporter, “We swear by almighty … Read more on Religion News Service [...]

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