Today, the news is snapshot of shifting currents of social change in faith and politics.

It’s also the anniversary of Pope Benedict’s resignation. So, we’ll be talking about love, change and luck (and politics, abuse and more).

Pope Francis gave today’s homily on an eternal issue — love, marriage and the need to ”accompany, don’t condemn, those who have experienced failure in marriage.”

Those who want to maintain the rule of heterosexual marriage as law, however, are experiencing plenty of failure. Judicial decisions favoring legalization of gay marriage just keep rolling in.

Thursday, a federal judge ruled Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The decision was delayed to allow time for an appeal.

Next? Hard to say. “It changes by the minute,” said Gary Buseck, legal director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, told USA Today. There are nearly 50 cases pending in 26 states.

Everyone wants to put their stamp on "religious freedom" but courts will decide where it crosses the line to discrimination.

Everyone wants to put their stamp on “religious freedom” but courts will decide where it crosses the line to discrimination.

The annual State Department review of global human rights practices, released Thursday, paints a grim picture of civil society endangered, widespread affronts to human dignity, press freedom under attack, and noted that LGBT people “remained the target of widespread discrimination and violence.”

Economic progress also suffers without religious freedom, Brian J. Grim, founding president of the new Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, tells RNS “On Freedom” blogger Brian Pellot. 

“New York Times” columnist Ross Douthat continues his two-column series picking apart the happy atheists of Adam Gropnik’s “New Yorker” essay

Douthat, who earlier knocked Gropnik for misunderstanding theists, has a glum vision of the atheist future as an intelligentsia trend. He’s fairly sure these folks will hit an iceberg that will “push the ship of secularism’s below-the-waterline weaknesses onto their next collision course.”

The shift away from religion by Millennials, spotlighted earlier this week in a new survey on LGBT issues, is not driven just by favorable views on gay marriage. Jon Terbush puts it in context at “This Week.”

Causing controversy:

The “Open Hillel” movement is inching toward a third campus. Some Jewish students want their university center for prayer, study and socializing to allow critical voices on Israel to speak. That violates Hillel’s guidelines that ban speakers who oppose the Jewish state or support boycotting Israel for it’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian-majority West Bank.

Bill Gothard, an Illinois-based advocate for home schooling, large families and conservative values touted at his Institute in Basic Life Principles, has been accused of sexually harassing women who worked at his ministry and failing to report child abuse cases. The board of the institute, hit with financial hard times and sinking popularity, put Gothard on administrative leave.

The Chicago Tribune’s Manya Brachear Pashman spots, allegations of sexual abuse in “a cloistered, evangelical (Jesus People) commune in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.”

On a brighter note:

Who knew there was an Indian-American Muslim woman who worked as a British spy in Nazi-occupied Paris? Now, there’s a documentary on Noor Inayat Khan’s wartime heroism.

Point of View:

Omar Sacirbey’s Moozweek wraps up events in Islam including mixed reactions to the new Katy Perry video.

Jana Riess says for viewers of the Mormon-produced series “Granite Flats”  ”it will be a case of twooo wuv.” (“Princess Bride” fans, alert.)

Megachurch pastor Perry Noble tells Jonathan Merritt he believes in prayer, miraculous healing – and modern medicine – in his battle with depression and mental illness.

David Gibson has shocking messages from Pope Francis. Essentially, he wants Christians to practice what they preach. Oh dear!

Few could resist addressing Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s Wednesday night move to veto a bill allowing retailers to refuse service to gays – or anyone else whose lives didn’t align with their own religious beliefs.

Do you feel lucky? 

A new Harris Poll runs down the most popular superstitions. Among findings:  23% of Americans says seven is a lucky number and 21% think “knocking on wood prevents bad luck.” Meanwhile, the 14% who fear Friday the 13th can rest easy until June 13.

Knock wood, you’ll subscribe to the RNS daily roundup before then.

Categories: Beliefs

Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cathy Lynn Grossman is a senior national correspondent for Religion News Service, specializing in stories drawn from research and statistics on religion, spirituality and ethics, and manager for social media.

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