Superpope! via @PCCS_VA

Superpope! via @PCCS_VA (Image source)

Some of the news today is as cold as the temperature here in D.C. — 12 degrees. I know some of you have it far worse. So snuggle up tonight and watch the State of the Union. In the meantime . . .

Kicking the gay marriage can down the road

Our man in Canterbury (who is named “Trevor” so you know we got a real, native correspondent working for you) reports that the House of Bishops has indefinitely postponed a decision on whether gay marriage will be legal in the Church of England. The English in the Church of England seem ready to give it a go. But much of the church in Africa  . . . not quite. Same sex marriage will be legal in England and Wales this April.

Save the Doves

It was one hot story on the Interblob yesterday: two meany birds attacked the doves Pope Francis set free from his balcony Sunday, as popes like to do. Now an Italian animal rights group is asking Francis to stop the papal practice, because doves are domesticated birds and do not recognize that other birds, such as that crow and seagull who went after them the other day, know a sitting dove when they see one.

Sex! Sex! Sex!

That’s what the Southern Baptist Convention is going to talk about at a conference in Nashville from April 21-23. The agenda: pornography, teen sex, homosexuality, the role of the gospel in shaping a person’s sexual identity, how the gospel redeems sexual desire, and how pastors can talk to their congregations about human sexuality. Russell Moore, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president for the Southern Baptist Convention, calls the theme timely. When is it not, some might say?

Kamala Khan, Marvel’s new Muslim supergirl

NPR’s Michel Martin (my favorite host on radio) interviews author G. Willow Wilson on her new comic book creation, Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old Muslim public high school student from Jersey City. Khan is also the first Muslim superhero to star in her own mainstream comic book series.

(Two question for Marvel: She is a 16-year-old observant Muslim girl — can you leave something  to the imagination regarding her anatomy? And do flat-chested girls ever get their own comics?)

States seeking alternatives to lethal injection

A shortage of the drug states typically use to carry out executions by lethal injection has led some state officials and legislators to propose different methods, including the firing squad. One state still uses it: Utah.

A family believes its children are possessed

It sounds like bad reality TV but this is actual a thoughtful, fascinating piece about a Gary, Ind. family who believes its children are possessed by demons. The Indianapolis Star’s Marisa Kwiatowski interviews the family, the priest, the social worker, the doctor . . .  and finds conflicting explanations for what has befallen poor people who sincerely believe something awful is inhabiting their basement. A priest finds an exorcism is in order.

Duping a pregnant ex-girlfriend to abort

Feel bad story of the day: The son of a Florida fertility doctor told his pregnant lover that the pill was an antibiotic, when it was really misoprostol — the pregnancy-ending drug he wanted her to take to induce an abortion. She miscarried, six weeks into the pregnancy. He quotes the Bible at sentencing, and gets almost 14 years in a minimum-security prison. Because John Andrew Weldon pleaded guilty, prosecutors dropped a murder charge.

Goodbye Pete Seeger

He was not a man of religion, but who could doubt the Spirit in him. Here’s the NYT obit. Here is his “If I Had A Hammer” from 1963.

And take a gander  . . . 

Pat Bagley explains why that Mormon ban on alcohol is not so Absolut.

In 1492 Spain expelled the Jews. In 2012 it said it wanted them back. One Jewish guy from New York does what he can to become Spanish.

Update: That N.J. couple who wanted to sell the naming rights to their eighth — sorry, ninth! — daughter, has named her.

– Lauren Markoe

The naming rights to this roundup are not for sale. Neither is the roundup itself. It’s free. Sign up below and get all the religion news you need to know, and then some, each weekday in your inbox.

Categories: Beliefs

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe covered government and features as a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years before joining the Religion News Service staff as a national correspondent in 2011. She previously was Washington correspondent for The State (Columbia, S.C.)


  1. I’m blind and I say that to say that I am sure that Marvel could show her as female without hypersexualizing her. If she were truly Muslim and it was real life I’d guess that being Muslim observent would result in her not hypersexualizing herself in real life. Am I right Muslims? Is there any sect of your religion that would allow 16 yr. old girls to dress provocatively? Hmmm, Lauren Marcoe? It’s a nice name! By the way, 11 degrees here in Colorado Springs. So a bit worse here at 11 and snow on the ground but not by much! James Dobson and myself do agree on 1 thing, it’s a great place to live! Past that, not so much.

  2. I have not read this Marvel comic. But I have read hundreds (thousands?) of other comics by various publishers including Marvel. One of the things about Superhero comics is that the vast majority of superheroes– male and female– are portrayed as peak specimens of human physiology, and are often drawn wearing very little clothing, and the clothing they do wear is often skin tight. Why don’t we complain that Wolverine is hyper sexualized or Spider-Man? You can see every nook and cranny of their physiology as well in their outfits. I think the tight costume is an inextricable part of the superhero genre. And given the standards of the superhero universe, the Muslim girl IS dressed modestly. Compare her outfit to say Black Widow or Wonder Woman (or Wolverine or Spider Man or 1990’s Batman with his codpiece!). She is much more modest. Yes, we might be able to dress her even more modestly. But if we did, would it still be a superhero comic? Or would it become another genre, another universe that is more like our world, and less like the world that superheroes inhabit? Modesty is culturally relative, and superhero comics have their own culture with their own taboos and rules. She is a practicing Muslim in that culture, not ours. And that brings up interesting questions of continuity and discontinuity.

  3. Janice Marie Johnson

    Regarding today’s roundup featuring, “Goodbye Pete Seeger,” I am surprised and saddened to read your introductory words, “He was not a man of religion….” Pete Seeger was a Unitarian Universalist. As a Unitarian Universalist, I don’t think one can get more “religious” than that!

    Pete, a dear friend, was a member of my home congregation, the Community Church of New York for over 20 years. He signed our membership book on September 29, 1992. As Rev. Bruce Southworth, Senior Minister noted yesterday, “One special evening here at Community was the celebration of his 85th birthday with the collaboration of the UU Service Committee. It was a moment of blessing, inspiration and ongoing challenge to embody the Beloved Community.”

    Pete was an extraordinary role model for so many, well attuned to the linkages of oppression within and outside of his lived experience. He founded The New York City Streetsingers, a chorus with a multicultural focus in 1992. I joined that chorus and have fond memories of Pete as our chorus song leader at Community.

    It was Pete who taught me that I have a song to sing, a story to tell. It was Pete who championed a singing group of which I was a member, commUUnity (spelled with two UUs representing Unitarian Universalist).

    Timing is everything…. The Living Legacy Project had planned to interview him next month…. Such is life. Let us give thanks for this generous man of generous spirit. Ah, yes, this man of religion!

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