Shirley Temple has died at 85. Michelle Obama praises openly gay NFL hopeful Michael Sam. And it’s a year to the day since Pope Emeritus Benedict resigned. Welcome to Tuesday and the Religion News Roundup.
Bishops, Mormons, Southern Baptists band together against gay marriage
A who’s who of religious organizations from the Mormons to the Catholic bishops filed a 42-page brief Monday to the Denver appeals court that will hear challenges to Utah and Oklahoma laws forbidding gay marriage. The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod also signed on to the brief, which argues that gay marriage is bad but that people who oppose it are not. Sayeth the brief:
Our respective religious doctrines hold that marriage between a man and a woman is sanctioned by God as the right and best setting for bearing and raising children.
Justice Department extends benefits to same-sex couples
Comparing the struggles of gays to those of blacks during the civil rights movement, Attorney General Eric Holder, the first African-American attorney general, instructs Justice Department employees to extend full legal rights to same-sex couples.
Apollo shows up in the Gaza Strip, Disappears
A rare bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo, lost for centuries, surfaced in the Gaza Strip, showed up on eBay, and then disappeared after it was seized by the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. It’s 2,000 years old, was caught by a fisherman, carried home on a donkey cart and laid out on a Smurfs blanket . . . how many incredible details do I have to give you before you click on this story? Needless to say, archaeologists are going nuts.
Benedict resigned one year ago today
The AP looks at that day and the year since, landing an interview from Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, Pope Emeritus Benedict’s longtime private secretary.
Today I ask you to join me in prayer for His Holiness Benedict XVI, a man of great courage and humility.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) February 11, 2014
Jefferts Schori to receive Oxford degree
Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will receive an honorary degree from Oxford University in June before an audience of religious and academic heavyweights. Said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the Anglican Communion:
This award, richly deserved, affirms Bishop Katharine’s remarkable gifts of intellect and compassion, which she has dedicated to the service of Christ.
How is Nevada like Virginia?
State officials have decided not to defend its gay marriage ban in court — so says both Nevada’s Democratic attorney general and Republican governor.
Jesse Jackson to help free Bae?
The Rev. Jesse Jackson has offered to go to North Korea to try to secure freedom for Kenneth Bae, the American missionary and tour company leader who was detained as he led a group through a North Korean economic zone. Bae has languished in a North Korean prison for more than a year. That country just canceled a visit by an American diplomat charged to negotiate Bae’s release.
Christian soldiers deemed “enemies of peace”
Christian militias have formed in the Central African Republic to battle a Muslim rebel government accused of atrocities against civilians. But the head of the French military mission in the CAR says those Christian soldiers are now committing atrocities themselves, killing Muslims in the streets and forcing tens of thousands to leave the country.
News in Brief
Abraham Foxman will retire in July 2015 after 27 years at the helm of the Anti-Defamation League.
Two members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, who served two years for their protesting in a Russian church, may run for Moscow city parliament.
Gay parents in Ohio sue to have their marriages recognized and both their names listed on their children’s birth certificates and Michelle Obama and Joe Biden send kudos to Michael Sam.
Thanks to the loyal readers of the Religion News Roundup. And welcome to anyone who would like to receive the roundup — a free, newsy, spamless service. Just give us your email below.