A historic arch in Damascus

A historic arch in Damascus, courtesy Shutterstock. (Image source)

For a second there, “war” with Syria switched into “off” mode with news that the British parliament ruled out participation in any strike. Then it switched back into “on” mode.

This morning, President François Hollande of France offered strong support for international military action against the Syrian government.

Now’s the time to brush up on “just war” theory, and RNS has the perfect set of ethics experts to help.

In the meantime, armchair prophecy is back. How could we have missed it? Christians are looking to biblical verses for signs the Syria conflict points to the imminent return of Jesus.

“See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins,” warns Isaiah (17:1)

The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington came and went. But the Dalai Lama wants us to know, he has a dream, too.

 “I always have one dream,” the Dalai Lama begins in a taped video. “That within this century the world truly become [a] real happy human family.


A federal appeals court sided with California on Thursday and upheld the first law in the nation banning a psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay youth straight.

Faithful readers of these pages know that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just signed a similar law and that Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal aid group, promptly sued his state.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan was sentenced to death for the shooting rampage at Fort Hood. Hendrick Hertzberg at The New Yorker says that if President Obama signs his death warrant, he will have essentially confirmed the suspicion that the United States places significantly less value on the lives of Muslims than on the lives of Christians and other non-Muslims.

In our weekly roundup of Muslim news, reporter Omar Sacirbey tells us Toronto’s Beth Avraham Yosef Congregation, one of Canada’s largest Orthodox congregations, is rolling out the welcome mat for Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, both listed as hate bloggers by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Ace religion reporter Rachel Zoll breaks down some of the more pragmatic ways religious groups opposed to gay marriage are looking to carve out exemptions to the recent Supreme Court setbacks.

George Zimmerman’s wife Shellie pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of perjury. She was sentenced to a year of probation and 100 hours of community service, which she told ABC she intends to serve in a Christian ministry.

The Church of Scientology is coming to Harlem.

Pope Francis and Jordan’s King Abdullah II affirmed that dialogue is the “only option” to end the conflict in Syria.

Fans of Francis: Check out the great photo of the pope posing for a “selfie” with a group of Vatican tourists and a smart phone.

The Obama administration said Thursday that it would not challenge laws legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington State.

Buddhists are killing Muslims in Myanmar with impunity because the government failed to stop the attacks, New York-based Physicians for Human Rights reported.

Too much religion can harm a society’s economy by undermining the drive for financial success, according to a new study.

Ephraim Mirvis will replace Lord Jonathan Sacks as the Chief Rabbi of England. The BBC has a profile. Rumor has it Prince Charles will attend the installation. Stay tuned for more. 

And with that, it’s off to the long Labor Day weekend. Before you head off, you must read Adon Taft’s piece about the religious roots of organized labor. This veteran religion reporter, now retired, says unions were strongest when they were buttressed by institutions of faith that provided theological arguments in support of the working poor. So far, secularism can’t light that candle.

Here at RNS, we keep the tradition going. We’re taking a break from our Roundup labors on Monday. But sign up below and catch up on all you missed in Tuesday’s installment.


  1. Today’s morals have declined so quickly that it has become difficult for people to distinguish the difference between right and wrong, good and bad. Falun Dafa, Falun Gong, is a heart and mind cultivation practice, and we believe in truthfulness, goodness and tolerance. There are one hundred million adherents Worldwide and the practise is completely free. www.falundafa.org. Thank you for your consideration.

  2. Soon, Bible-believing churches and clergy in California and New Jersey–anybody who takes 1 Cor. 10:13 and 1 Cor. 6:9-11 seriously–will also be targeted by those bans. Other states will eventually follow.

    Christians, it’s time to decide how much you’re really willing to PAY for what you say you believe. The price tag for doing ministry–especially with same-sex-attracted youth and adults–is about to go up. Way up.




    I am an avid Bible student and writer. Just today, I just published a book that looks very critically and deeply at the vocabulary used by the writer of Isaiah 17 to describe the event of which we share an interest and passion.

    I know it will help any and all who read the research. It is timely, to say the least… and very compelling.

    A previous book I wrote was about what the Bible has to say regarding Iran and Israel. It, too is timely… and very intriguing. The key to this prophecy is also in understanding the vocabulary used by the writer Isaiah 18 and in identifying the rivers associated with the Garden of Eden. Then, the rest is easy.

    Here is the link to the books that will help us all. They are available in paper or electronic versions.



    Current reviews are on my website. www.timothycator.com

    Also on facebook… Timothy H. Cator.

    Tweets: #WittyWednesdays and #SabbathDaySoulFood. Very cool!

    I believe there will be another radio interview in the near future. Check our website and/or facebook page for updates.

    I hope you enjoy the reading and that all will be inspired to read the Bible and know what it says and share the Good News with others.

    Tim Cator

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