So every day, dear readers, we strive to bring you the most scintillating religion news from RNS and around the Interwebs. ‘Cuz we’re sweet like that. And ‘cuz that’s what they pay us for. So here’s what we have today:

‘Cuz yeah, that was probably never really gonna work …

The Boy Scouts are finding that their compromise on homosexuality — allow gay Scouts but not gay leaders — isn’t working out too well because it pleases neither side, the NYT reports: “How can two boys both pledge to be ‘morally straight’ when they operate out of two different moral perspectives concerning human sexuality?” asks the conservative Family Research Council. Meanwhile, don’t expect to be able to be gay and get married on Nintendo’s new simulated life game, Tomodachi Life.

And ‘cuz this was probably never really gonna work, either

Screen-Shot-2014-05-08-at-3.53.41-PMHGTV has canned a reality show featuring David and Jason Benham (twin sons of anti-abortion activist Flip Benham) because their views on homosexuality and abortion were too hot to handle.  Our resident HGTV addict Cathy Grossman doesn’t see what all the fuss is about: “Unless the Benham brothers planned to conduct spiritual screening for clients on TV, or they broke employment laws against discrimination in hiring their crews or they refused to choose any non-Christians for their makeover magic, where’s the beef here?”

And ‘cuz this was probably never really gonna work out, either

David Gibson has the text of a statement from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the group of American nuns who had been hoping to reach a detente over the Vatican’s take-over plan. Say the sisters: “Communication has broken down and as a result, mistrust has developed.”

‘Cuz no one was ever gonna find out about that …

The storied Gethsemene Abbey in Kentucky is wrestling with some unwanted attention after allegations of financial mismanagement AND a string of allegations of a culture of sexual misconduct among the monks. Thomas Merton can’t be happy about this. More details here. Speaking of, World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky says “it’s hard to say no” when they’re given a juicy scoop about wrong-doing involving high-profile Christian leaders.

‘Cuz this is SUPER surprising

Pope Francis called for the “legitimate redistribution” of wealth to the poor in a meeting with U.N. head Ban Ki-moon today. And no, he’s not a Marxist, but some of his best friends are Marxists.

Protesters from Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices debated how far Phelps' free speech rights go. RNS photo by Jena Lowe

Protesters from Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices debated how far Phelps’ free speech rights go. RNS photo by Jena Lowe

This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

‘Cuz really, who’d want to stay at Westboro anyway?

The extended Phelps clan has seen another family member defect from the God-hates-fags Westboro Baptist Church. Founder Fred Phelps’ grandson, Zach Phelps-Roper, says he’s never been happier. And really, who could disagree with that?

‘Cuz religion and sports is never volatile

In a somewhat unusual move for a Catholic school, Notre Dame is starting a chapter of You Can Play, which supports gay athletes. Most surprising of all is how unsurprising most of the reaction has been. But then there’s a DC lobbyist who is promising a boycott of whatever NFL team drafts out Missouri football star Michael Sam. “The NFL, like most of the rest of American business, is about to learn that when you trample the Christian community and Christian values there will be a terrible financial price to pay,” said Jack Burkman.

Property from a Flemish Private Collection, Netherlandish, Limburg, Mid-16th Century. Corpus Christi, polychromed wood and metal. Photo courtesy Sotheby's London

Property from a Flemish Private Collection, Netherlandish, Limburg, Mid-16th Century. Corpus Christi, polychromed wood and metal. Photo courtesy Sotheby’s London

This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

‘Cuz sometimes alternate endings are better than the original

Full disclosure: We can’t vouch one way or the other for this source, but FWIW: A 1,500-year-old Bible discovered in Turkey contains something called The Gospel of Barnabas, which says that Jesus wasn’t crucified and instead just ascended into heaven. So who took his place on the cross? Judas Iscariot, of course.

‘Cuz Nazi analogies are always a good idea (except when they’re not)

A Republican congressional candidate in Iowa compared the Obamacare contraception mandate on religious employers to, well, Nazis: “Think of the outrage that would be out there if they tried to pass a law that said a Jewish printer had no choice but to print up handbills for a neo-Nazi rally,” Monte Shaw said. “Or an African-American artist had no choice but had to paint a portrait of the local grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.”

‘Cuz .. well, ‘cuz we can’t think of a headline for this one

Looks like Russell Crowe’s biblical epic “Noah” won’t be showing in China (it was already banned in several Muslim countries). LA Times thinks it’s probably because “getting the Bible-based ‘Noah’ past China’s religion-sensitive censors was always seen as a challenge.”

‘Cuz everyone deserves to slow down sooner or later

There was word yesterday that our pal C. Welton Gaddy will retire as head of the Interfaith Alliance later this year. It’s been a good ride, Welton, and we’ll miss you. Although honestly — the man worked in Washington and commuted back to preach in Louisiana most Sundays. The man needs to catch his breath.

And with that, it’s off to the weekend. Before you go, make sure you’re subscribed to receive the Roundup each day, for free. ‘Cuz you know you wanna.


  1. I just watched an interview with Benham Twins on CNN. First of all, their claim that the views of Christians were being “silenced” is BS, since many Gay people ARE Christian, and many Christian churches support equality for Gay Americans. And when they talk about the sinister “Gay Agenda,” they never detail what that “agenda” is. Well, Straight people have never had to worry about being fired from their jobs, kicked out of their rental properties, turned away from businesses, or denied the right to marry the person they love just because of THEIR sexual orientation. I don’t think it’s asking too much that Gay people shouldn’t have to worry about these things either. THAT’S what the “Gay Agenda” is.

    David Benham has made it abundantly clear that he thinks marriage equality for law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples is somehow “attacking the nation,” and that, “We are not going to allow the demonic forces and agendas behind them to destroy life.”

    Sorry, but I think that goes a little beyond the pale. David Benham may say he doesn’t HATE anyone, but the animosity he has often expressed toward Muslims and Gay people is all I need to know. He has every right to his prejudices, but he does NOT have a right to a program on a private TV network.

    But who knows? Maybe he can get a time slot on Fox News.

    • Ummm, legalized gay marriage IS equivalent to attacking (and destroying) America.

      You don’t always need to kill or nuke a nation from the outside. Killing it from the INSIDE, works just as well. Just ask any gay-marriage activist.

      • CarrotCakeMan

        Massachusetts has had marriage equality for over 10 years now. If there was some “damage” to Massachusetts, there would be some concrete evidence by now, reported by a legitimate media outlet. Where’s your evidence, Doc?

        I know, it’s so much easier just to post vicious anti-gay Hate Speech than to document your wild claims.

  2. Whitney Bodman

    FWIW, The summary of the alleged Bible in Turkey is standard Islamic fare. Muslims believe that Jesus ascended into heaven but was never crucified, and that Judas Iscariot, or in some versions, Simon of Cyrene, were made to look like him and were crucified in his stead. The gospel of Barnabas, widely available from Islamic bookstores, recounts how the apostle Paul corrupted the faith, most tragically by asserting the divinity of Jesus. It is possible that early Islamic writers confused Paul of Antioch with Paul of Samosata, the patriarch of Antiochia from 260 A.D., dismissed from his Synod for heretical doctrines. The gospel of Barnabas itself is found in Italian and Spanish texts, probably written by a Muslim convert to Christianity in the 16th century.
    A fascinating Persian movie of the Muslim version of the life of Christ, with English subtitles, can be found at:

  3. It seems to me that the growing support for the legal recognition of same sex unions has less to do with a so called gay agenda, an attack on Christian values, or even an acceptance of homosexual lifestyles, and much to do with the basic justice of the thing. People just can’t find a valid reason to oppose same sex unions, not because they necessarily accept them, but because most of us believe that all citizens, gay or not, are deserving of the same opportunities to find joy and love in life. I can’t understand how a desire to celebrate a loving relationship in public represents an attack on Christian values or American society. As I said, it has more to do with common justice than anything else.

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