Happy President’s Day. We saw a weekend full of religion news, so let’s get right to it.

Pastor Jamie Coots prays during a service in Middlesboro, KY. Photo courtesy National Geographic Channel

Pastor Jamie Coots prays during a service in Middlesboro, KY. Photo courtesy National Geographic Channel

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Jamie Coots, co-star of the reality show “Snake Salvation,” has died of a snakebite during a church service. In 2011, a photojournalist documented why she watched another pastor die from handling snakes.

Want a successful marriage? Pope Francis says to use three simple words: “Please, thanks and sorry.”

Meanwhile, parishioners in Kansas City have petitioned Pope Francis that Bishop Robert W. Finn should be subject to disciplinary action by the church for failing to notify authorities that a priest in his diocese was an active pedophile.

Opponents of same-sex marriage are scrambling to respond to a series of setbacks while the fights are generally headed to the federal courts. The Kansas House passed a measure last week providing a faith-based legal shield for people, including government workers, who refuse to provide services to gays and lesbians. But the top Republican in the state Senate said most Republican senators would not support it.

Bishops in the Church of England issued new guidance on Saturday warning clergy they should not bless couples in same-sex marriages.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says he will sign the an Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Uganda’s Parliament last December, denounced by President Obama.

Scientists may be more religious than you think, with nearly 36 percent of them having no doubt about God’s existence.

Sister Act 3? After topping the music charts, a group of Missouri-based nuns released their third album, called “Lent At Ephesus,” Feb. 11.

A view of the Medals Plaza in Olympic park a few hours before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

A view of the Medals Plaza in Olympic park a few hours before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Martynova Anna / Shutterstock.com">Photo courtesy of Martynova Anna / Shutterstock.com

A Russian athlete crossing herself before a race was one small example among many of how the country has changed since it last hosted the Olympics, Reuters says. Meanwhile, among the most visible Americans at the Sochi Olympics are a group of evangelicals, says NPR. And Sochi’s lone rabbi, an immigrant from the U.S., has drawn on reinforcements to provide 7,000 kosher meals to Jewish visitors at the Olympics.

 A new report finds that one or two of every 100 babies born in the United States now are conceived with advanced fertility help, setting a new record.

From weapons of mass destruction to the priesthood: The former Boeing and Atomic Energy Commission employee had spent the first part of his life helping to make weapons of mass destruction but now finds his calling as an Episcopal priest.

Thousands of Christians in the Philippines have broken the Guinness World Records for a charity walk for typhoon victims.

Could a robot teach a seminary class? Maybe at Southern Evangelical Seminary.

Religious American Jews who take a stand against Israel may find themselves to be in the minority among family and friends, writes Mark Oppenheimer.

Want more news? Head on over to the religious freedom roundup.

Categories: Beliefs

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey is a national correspondent for RNS, covering how faith intersects with politics, culture and other news. She previously served as online editor for Christianity Today where she remains an editor-at-large.


  1. But he didn’t have to die! These people equate lack of faith for the cheif reason for getting bitten, then when he dies at home refusing medical treatment they all praise his faith. Religious picking and choosing-again!

  2. Cathy Lynn Grossman, who wrote the article “God knows, scientists are more religious than you think” should take note of the honesty Peggy Payne showed in her article “COMMENTARY: Allergic to sex? On book pulping and pursed lips.”

    In this article Payne not only disclosed that Penguin India had published one of her novels, but that she “write(s) novels that intertwine explicit sexuality and religious faith, two of them involving Hinduism”.

    Open honesty is very professional.

    However the article written by Grossman, was based on finding that hinged on a study by sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund. A study funded ($2 million) by the Templeton Foundation, and (shockingly) supports precisely what the Templeton Foundation is all about.

    One has to wonder, why did Grossman not include this information in the article? Lazy journalism? Checked but didn’t feel it was relevant? Were other motivations at play?

    Also not reveled to the readers was that the author claims as one of her honors, a Templeton Journalism Fellowship in Science and Religion in 2005. Coincidence?

    The Templeton foundation seeks to legitimize religion by working to make it seemingly compatible with science, that is their agenda. A study that shows scientists as believers in religion goes a long way towards this agenda, as does the dissemination of this “study” via an article written and posted on the internet by an author who doesn’t bother to fog up the message with information about the group who paid for the study, or that the author has a connection to this group as well.

    If you’re wondering why I posted all this here instead of on the article itself, it is because the comment I posted on Grossman’s article was not allowed to be shown. One has to question why this is as well. Computer glitch? Censorship?

    Religion is not only dishonest, it is poison!!

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