Photo of producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett of the Bible miniseries.

Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett attend ‘The Bible Experience’ Opening Night Gala. Photo courtesy Shutterstock

The New York Times in an editorial today endorsed the Obama administration’s new guidelines that require employers to cover the cost of contraception. It then takes to task the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for allowing Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain that describes itself as “a faith-based company,” to pursue its case against the rule.

Onto another legal opinion: Yoga does not advance or inhibit religion, said a San Diego Superior Court judge who ruled that the Encinitas Union School District may continue to teach yoga to school children as part of the physical education program. Not surprisingly, some Christian parents are appalled.

The chancellor and head of the seminary at Yeshiva University, the flagship U.S. school for Orthodox Judaism, resigned Monday and acknowledged he had mishandled sex abuse allegations against staff members in the 1980s.

Two top managers of the Vatican Bank resigned on Monday too. Something about corruption.

The data dump released Monday by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee as part of a deal reached in bankruptcy court with clergy sex abuse victims is still being sifted.

So far, AP is reporting the documents provide new details on former Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s plan to pay some abusers to leave the priesthood and move $57 million into a trust for “improved protection” as the Milwaukee archdiocese prepared to file for bankruptcy.

Prisoners at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are asking a federal court to halt the force-feeding of inmates on a hunger strike. A motion filed on behalf of four prisoners argues that the military’s practice is inhumane, violates medical ethics, and will prevent prisoners from observing Ramadan, which begins Monday.

Jonathan Merritt is on a roll. He interviewed Jimmy Carter who is on a quest to educate religious leaders about gender inequality. The former president can quote scripture; we all knew that. But at 88, he’s still sharp and incisive.

“It’s this elective use of verses from the Quran and Bible that permits some male leaders to assert that women are inferior. I object to that no matter who the entity might be.”

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the interview.

Gay marriage and abortion have called it quits as twin pillars of the culture wars, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Public opinion on abortion has held remarkably constant in the last 30 years. But on gay marriage, acceptance has grown dramatically.

To wit: Texas, where there has been a pitched battle over abortion law. The Washington Post says the squabble has thrust Republican Gov. Rick Perry back into the role of social conservative darling. Perry is now weighing whether to run for reelection.

But over in the Dominican Republic, religious groups say they are outraged by the nomination of a gay U.S. ambassador to the conservative Caribbean country.

St. Callistus Catholic Church celebrated Mass in its new home, the formerly Protestant Crystal Cathedral site in Los Angeles.

The U.S. Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 is expected to enter a formal plea on the charges today.

NBC says it will air a sequel to the hit cable miniseries “The Bible.” The working title? “A.D.: Beyond the Bible.” The series will open in the days following Jesus’ death.

A.D., as Latin-loving Roundup readers know, means Anno Domini, or “Year of the Lord.” Not sure how well that will go over with atheists and people of other faiths.

And finally, infuriating as it is, I couldn’t help watching a video gone viral of a Baptist preacher insulting members of his congregation during a sermon. I have two-word diagnosis for the minister: anger management.

And with that, it’s back to the grindstone. As you too head back to work, don’t forget to sign up for tomorrow’s installment. Blue button below.


  1. Garson Abuita

    “The Bible” program had a pretty Christian bent already, so I doubt non-Christians are going to get too upset if the sequel is titled “A.D.: Beyond the Bible.” Actually, there was already a miniseries in the 80′s titled “A.D.” covering the same material, so they’ll probably have to come up with a different name anyway.

  2. “A.D.: Beyond the Bible” Huh!!! If my negativity offended you, sorry, but I have serious doubts about this project. An accurate story about the birth of the Christian church is not NBC’s real motivation, but money. I would love if they make a liar of me. In the Media, Chrisitanity is portrayed more and more as another fairy tale among many others, and the problem is that we the Christians are also contributing to this image.

    • Isn’t making money the goal of any business?

      According to some reports, NBC has been eager to air a sequel ever since the first episode of The Bible was shown. Convincing Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett, who produced the original series, that NBC would be a good partner took some doing.

      Having the show on a major broadcast network should increase viewership of the new series. I think that appeals to Downey and Burnett, who are not into this project for the money.

  3. As an atheist, I don’t much care about the whole AD thing. I use the days of the week too and yet I don’t believe in any of the Roman gods they are named after. Today is named after the Roman god Mercury for example.

    • Pedantic Alert: Today, Tuesday, is not named for Mercury. English days of the week are a combination of Roman and Norse deities. Now if you spoke Spanish, you’d quickly tell today was Mar’s day and tomorrow was the day of Mercury, followed by Jupiter and Venus. Interestingly, Spanish changes the days of Saturn and the Sun into the Sabbath and Day of the Lord respectively. To understand why those are separate, and why a two day weekend in the first place, it takes some knowledge of Catholicism. But we have reached the limits of this post.
      To learn more interesting tidbits, consult your local library, or Google as the kids are calling it these days. ;)

  4. Charles Humfree

    Thanks to the people who put RNS together. I don’t have much time during any given day and having the larger religion stories all together is convenient. The brief analysis bits regarding any story are entertaining. Thanks again.

  5. Couldn’t watch the complete video of the preacher. Made me sick and disgusted. Hope the congregation does the right thing and finds someone who is not consumed with self. Yes, preacher man, take your paid off car and go to some podunk place that doesn’t have a pot because you don’t deserve that even. Seems as if you have forgotten the love of Christ and replaced it with importance of self. Doubt you’d be satisfied in that ‘podunk’ church either because they wouldn’t keep you in the lifestyle you think you deserve.

  6. Speaking of couldn’t watch The Bible mini-series is one I won’t. After portraying Pres. Obama as the devil, which was intentional, I simply won’t watch anything that I know that is associated with that piece of work. From what I did see of it but mostly heard about from others it was terribly inaccurate anyway.

  7. John McGrath

    For many of us C.E. (Common era) has replaced A.D. Simple courtesy to the world to the majority of the world that is not Christian, or ex-Christian, like Europe. C.E. is used among scholars and in many media.

  1. [...] Tuesday's Religion News Roundup: Contraception battles * Yoga fight * Bible …Religion News ServiceOnto another legal opinion: Yoga does not advance or inhibit religion, said a San Diego Superior Court judge who ruled that the Encinitas Union School District may continue to teach yoga to school children as part of the physical education program. [...]

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