Big day yesterday on the gay marriage front — the Denver-based 10th Circuit agreed with a lower court ruling in striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. Also, a federal judge threw out Indiana’s gay marriage ban.

WHY IT MATTERS: This is the first time a federal appeals court has ruled on gay marriage since DOMA was struck down last summer, and it tees up the issue to go to the U.S. Supreme Court (assuming the justices decide to take the case). Also important: the ruling applies to other states in the 10th circuit: New Mexico (which already has gay marriage), Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. WHY IT REALLY MATTERS: The guys from “Brokeback Mountain” can now get hitched.

Sister Blandina Segale, courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA) Negative #67735.

Sister Blandina Segale, courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA) Negative #67735.courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA) Negative #67735.

Speaking of New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment could get its first saint after the Vatican said it was OK to start the process for Sister Blandina Segale, an Italian-born nun who tangled with Billy the Kid and was known as “The Fastest Nun in the West.”

WHY IT MATTERS: Think about it — a nun going up against Billy the Kid? That’s just awesome.

While we’re on the topic of awesome, meet my new boss, Heidi Thompson, who starts next month as publisher and CEO of Religion News Service.

WHY IT MATTERS: Because I said so. And because Heidi has the vision, energy and strategic thinking to take RNS into our next 80 years.

Here in D.C., the City Council just approved a “yoga tax” for users of gyms and other sweaty places that’s expected to bring in about $5 million.

WHY IT MATTERS: More proof that yoga is less and less of a religious practice — especially if you can tax it. And one more reason for me not to go to the gym.

How do diverse social advocacy groups keep it together? By getting on their knees, according to a new study.

WHY IT MATTERS: As our own Cathy Lynn Grossman reports: Duke University researcher Brad R. Fulton said the sociologists looked at 200 national civic coalitions to see how they glue together “rather than fragmenting and falling apart.” “For all the talk about diversity, there hasn’t been much study of how groups navigate diversity,” he said.

A report out today warns of a “slippery slope” on the U.S. reliance on drone warfare to nab terrorists overseas. According to the NYT: “The group found that more than a decade into the era of armed drones, the American government has yet to carry out a thorough analysis of whether the costs of routine secret killing operations outweigh the benefits.”

WHY IT MATTERS: Because we should all care about how society, or government, conducts warfare in our name.

So, you know how tattoos are all super trendy and stuff? Not so fast, says everyone’s favorite source for advice, Pat Robertson. Even Jesus tattoos are “satanic” and “heathen” — no different from a “hoochie-cooch girl.”

WHY IT MATTERS: Because it’s always awesome to get social etiquette advice from Pat Robertson. That guy oughta get his own TV show.

Our own Kimberly Winston has an interesting story out of Nantucket — hardship duty, I know — about a pair of Quaker sisters that retrofitted a shabby old barn into a showplace for their art, which was an expression of their faith.

WHY IT MATTERS: Because if Kimberly is going to jet off to Nantucket for the entire month of June, we’re going to make her work while she’s there.

(RNS) Martin Luther, founder of Germany's Protestant (Lutheran) Church, was considered delusional by his contemporaries for his revolt from traditional Catholic doctrine. Religion News Service file photo.

(RNS) Martin Luther, founder of Germany’s Protestant (Lutheran) Church, was considered delusional by his contemporaries for his revolt from traditional Catholic doctrine. Religion News Service file photo.

(Missouri Synod) Lutheran blogger Graham Glover argues that Lutherans should restore the Latin Mass because, well, it could help end the 500-year split with Rome. Glover overlooks, however, that even most Catholics don’t know the Latin Mass and also worship in the venacular.

WHY IT MATTERS: Because I’ve often wondered how you say lutefisk in Latin.

Is Pope Francis coming to Texas next year? The bishop of San Antonio says it’s a possibility.

WHY IT MATTERS: It’s mostly speculation, so it may not matter at all. But there’s already chatter that Francis will attend a big Catholic conference in Philly next year, and there’s buzz that he may also visit the U.S.-Mexico border to highlight the plight of immigrants and pray at the border fence, much as he did last month at the Israel/Palestine wall.

Speaking of the pope, (unconfirmed) reports say he’s likely to meet with Irish abuse victims next week. Also in Ireland, the government is finalizing details for an inquiry into what went wrong at church-run homes for unwed mothers a generation ago.

WHY IT MATTERS: This would be Francis’ first one-on-one meeting with abuse victims, and if confirmed, shows the influence of Irish victim Marie Collins, who was appointed to the panel Francis appointed to tackle the issue. The unwed mothers report? That’s an ongoing scandal in Ireland, even though The Associated Press had to take back most of what it reported about mass graves of unbaptized children at a home for unwed mothers.

An Italian priest tasked with assisting the flood of refugees from north Africa was suspended and charged with soliciting sexual favors from the very people he was supposed to help.

WHY IT MATTERS: Because Francis has made the plight of refugees a major priority, and because this story is just so damn sad.

Love this story: A millionaire self-promoter from China offered to throw New York’s homeless a lavish lunch and hand out $300 to each of his 200 or so guests. Then things went south, and it ended with an “awkward karaoke version of ‘We Are the World.’” Chen Guangbiao’s business card describes him as “Most Influential Person of China” and “Most Well-known and Beloved Chinese Role Model.” Note to the new boss: I’m gonna need new business cards.

WHY IT MATTERS: Not totally sure that it does, except that everyone should have “Most Well-known and Beloved (fill in the blank) Role Model” on their business cards.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila wants his priests to drop the “Good Morning” when they start Mass and stick with the official “The Lord be with you.” Using “Good Morning,” he says, is unnecessary and perhaps not appropriately sacred.

WHY IT MATTERS: Tagle is one of the youngest members of the College of Cardinals and is seen as an up-and-comer, perhaps pope material. This little tidbit would put him on the more conservative/traditional side of things when it comes to liturgy, which is often a barometer for a cardinal/pope’s larger outlook.

And with that, we can see Friday from here. Before you go, make sure we have your email address so you can get the Roundup every day, for free, in your inbox.


  1. Learning “lutefisk in Latin” is cute, but the Missouri Synod Lutherans are mostly of German extraction. Lutefisk comes from Norway, and the Norwegian Lutherans wound up in the ELCA or some of its tiny break-aways.

  2. I love the RNS digest; it’s a welcome pause in my mornings. But please don’t tell me why each story matters! Trust your readers: if we’re drawn to a smart, savvy bunch like RNS, we’re probably smart enough to figure that out on our own!

  3. Kevin Eckstrom

    Article author

    mjohns, thanks for the background on the various Lutheran tribes. I half wondered that myself, and figured someone from Lutherland would correct me if I was wrong.

    Lin, thanks for the feedback. Truth be told, I was trying to switch things up with a different format to keep things interesting. But if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

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