Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann won’t seek reelection in 2014. In a nearly nine-minute video she explains her decision and promises to continue to protect “innocent human life, traditional marriage, family values, religious liberty and academic excellence.”
The No. 2 official in the Archdiocese of Newark was sacked for mishandling the supervision of a priest who violated a lifetime ban on ministry to children. (Meanwhile, on a related note: Australia’s top-ranking Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, admitted during a parliamentary inquiry that some members of the church tried to cover up child sexual abuse by other members of the clergy.)
While everyone else was holding up an umbrella, Pope Francis made his usual “tour” of St Peter’s Square in an open-topped Popemobile despite the rainstorm.
He tweets and likes Christian hip-hop. That would be Russell Moore, the Southern Baptists new ethics czar who is taking over from Richard Land.
Casino mogul and Obama critic Sheldon G. Adelson is visiting Jerusalem where he was crowned honorary citizen. He also wasted no time trashing prospects for peace with the Palestinians.
Peggy Fletcher Stack says the Jewish Reform movement could take a lesson from Mormons. The Reform movement is reconsidering a policy of not allowing rabbinical students to marry outside the faith. Latter-day Saints, Stack points out, have only 12 percent intermarriage rate.
Lawmakers in Nevada trying to reverse that state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage are finding the repeal process time-consuming and expensive. Similar roadblocks are keeping even more progressive states such as California and Oregon from moving forward on the marriage front, according to BuzzFeed.
On the religion-in-the-schools front: A Southeast Texas school district is appealing a court ruling that allowed high school cheerleaders to display at football games banners emblazoned with Bible verses.
And, Kentucky’s Lincoln County High School’s graduation ceremony included a student-led prayer last Friday, despite objections from at least six of the school’s students.
A Boston church official who claimed in an autobiography that he was a leg-breaker for reputed gangster James “Whitey” Bulger pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he looted the church’s assets.
More sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar, aka Burma. This time, a mob burned down a mosque, a Muslim orphanage and shops in a northeastern town after rumors spread that a Muslim man had set fire to a Buddhist woman.
Islam is not an officially recognized religion in Italy, though Muslims are the country’s second-largest religious group. Read this fascinating account of some of the challenges Muslims face in Italy.
And finally, Barbara Brown Taylor talks to our own Jonathan Merritt about compassion fatigue, an occupational hazard for pastors.
“If you’re not careful, you begin to resent the very people you set out to serve,” said the former parish priest, writer and professor at Piedmont College (Ga.).
She tells of the Christmas Eve she went to the hospital to care for a parishioner who fell ill after the midnight service, her third that day. She then spent Christmas in a fog.
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