We could begin this Religion News Roundup with a really religious prayer that invokes a specific deity to whom some, but not all of you, dear readers, pray. The Supreme Court Monday said Congress and the public library board can do it, so why can’t we . . .

High Court says super pious prayer OK in government gatherings

This is the biggest religion-related decision of the year . . . until the Supremes hand down an opinion on Hobby Lobby. Some interesting notes on Greece v. Galloway: Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the dissent, said it would have been decided differently had the prayers in question been Muslim and not Christian. Then there’s Notre Dame’s Rick Garnett, who likes the court’s opinion permitting very sectarian prayer at government gatherings, though he found government’s policy to host such prayer-givers neither “wise or welcoming.” Says Garnett:

The fact that the Constitution allows a practice does not mean that ‘We the People’ should adopt it.

Vatican to U.S. nuns: toe the line already

The Holy See’s enforcer of orthodoxy issued a super stern warning to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, whom the Vatican has had on a shorter leash for several years, but not to much avail. Our own David Gibson writes that Archbishop Gerhard L. Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had some surprisingly tough words for the sisters that added up to: remember who decides that you’re part of this church. 

Catholics, going up

The Catholic Herald reports that the number of 1. Catholics 2. priests 3. permanent deacons and religious men, all increased in 2012, according to Vatican statistics. The global Catholic population: 1.2 billion. Still decreasing: women in religious orders. Decreasing for the first time globally in recent years: candidates for the priesthood. Here are some more numbers to crunch on. 

Sex abuse victims to Vatican: You could face a flood of new lawsuits

If the U.N. finds that that the Roman Catholic Church has violated an international treaty against torture and inhuman treatment, the Vatican may find itself the defendant in a torrent of suits from those abused by clergy. The Center for Constitutional Rights, on behalf of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, noted Monday that there is no statute of limitations on torture in many of the 155 countries that have endorsed or ratified the U.N. Convention against Torture. That would include the U.S.

Abducted Nigerian girls forced to convert, marry

A Boko Haram leader has taken responsibility for the kidnapping of more than 200 teenage girls abducted from a Nigerian school two weeks ago. An Islamic scholar acting as an intermediary between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government said the militant Islamist group has converted the Christians among the girls and is selling them into marriage.  Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, in a statement, said the girls should not have been in school, but wed. He continued:

God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions.

Eighth graders in California asked to consider Holocaust as ‘propoganda’

The Rialto school district is now revising a language arts assignment that asked the middle schoolers to write an essay considering the premise that the Holocaust was not an “actual event” but a “propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.” They were instructed to use a Holocaust-denying website that asserted: “With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded.” District officials have said in future the Holocaust will be taught in a “sensitive” way.

Hard-to-believe Holocaust analogizing

A Tennessee lawmaker wrote that Democrats bragging about Americans signing up for the Affordable Care Act is like the Nazis bragging about signing Jews up for “train rides” during the 1940s. State Sen. Stacey Campfield has apologized since he made the comparison his “Thought of the Day” in his blog Monday.

Muslim college wrestler can keep his beard and compete

Muhamed McBryde is 17, a practicing Muslim and a member of the University of Buffalo wrestling team. But NCAA rules say you have to be clean shaven to compete. McBryde’s religious convictions say otherwise. So he sat on the bench nearly a whole season until the NCAA – thanks in part to his father’s persistence – granted the teenager a waiver. Said Mustafa McBryde, a former collegiate wrestler:

We were just looking for reasonable accommodations for a practicing Muslim . . . A lot of Muslims, we just bend to these sorts of things, primarily because we’re not aware of our rights.

Bonus tracks

A surge in violence targets Hindus and other religious minorities in Pakistan.

Medecins Sans Frontieres has stopped its doctoring in the Central African Republic after the government refused to condemn the killing of MSF workers in ongoing violence between the nation’s Christian majority and Muslims.

Belgian police disperse far-right protestors after the banning an event featuring anti-Semitic French comedian

- Lauren Markoe

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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.)

3 Comments

  1. Amazing that Muslims, some anyway, will tolerate the kidnapping and rape of young girls and that that terrorist group leader could say that he “converted” the girls from Christianity to being Muslim. Equally disgusting and amazing that the outcry isn’t greater is Rep. Campfield’s comments. Isn’t religion great? Answer no, and if you look up Jesus’s words on the subject you will find that he agrees with me or should I say I agree with him. Truly is religion the opiate of the people! A more dangerous drug than heroin and it claims more lives every year in it’s name!

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