Big news out of Rome this morning, where our own Josephine McKenna tells us that Meriam Ibrahim — the Sudanese woman who was nearly executed for apostasy — arrived safely and met with Pope Francis today. Watch this space for more details. Also in Sudan, Christians are seething over a ban on constructing new church buildings.

They say Florida is God’s waiting room, but apparently nursing homes across the U.S. are the last “bus stop to eternity,” and teams of evangelicals are heading into senior centers with a last-chance message of salvation for the aged and infirm. Be sure to check out Adelle Banks’ excellent story.

(And, for the record, I’m entirely entitled to poke fun at Florida. I had to live there for 18 months.)

Lightning strikes near Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday July 23. Photo courtesy Jeff Scheller.

Lightning strikes near Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday July 23. Photo courtesy Jeff Scheller.Jeff Scheller

The 100th anniversary of the start of World War I is coming up this weekend, and Kimberly Winston talks to folks at Washington National Cathedral who have created an (interfaith) liturgy to atone for the sins of the “Great War.”

Do you remember the “Philadelphia 11,” the independent-minded women who broke rank and basically forced women’s ordination on the Episcopal Church? Heather Adams catches up with them, 40 years later.

And do you remember Pope John Paul I, who served for only 33 days before dying in office in 1978? His sainthood cause may be about to take a major step forward.

Another day, another botched execution. It took Arizona officials nearly two hours to execute convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood and then, as if to add insult to injury, got his name wrong in a press release. Good thing I never lived in Arizona, ‘cuz that place is giving Florida a run for its money. Must be the heat.

Hindu gods are apparently hitting the gym. According to the WSJ: “In new comics, paintings and popular books, depictions of Vishnu, Rama and other greats in the Hindu pantheon are being reimagined to give the deities broad shoulders, six-pack abs, flashy get-ups and smoldering good looks.”

Good reads:

Spare the rod, spoil the child? Think again. According to a CNN op-ed: “Researchers say physical punishment actually alters the brain — not only in an ‘I’m traumatized’ kind of way but also in an ‘I literally have less gray matter in my brain’ kind of way.”

The next place gays and lesbians can legally wed (after all the legal mumbo-jumbo is sorted out)? Colorado.

Meanwhile, over in Iowa, a newspaper editor who was sacked after accusing “the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo” of trying “to make their sinful nature right with God” has filed suit against his former employer, claiming religious discrimination.

Also in Iowa, Gov. Terry Brandstad doesn’t want any of the border kids coming to his state, but local religious leaders would beg to differ.

An 89-year-old man in Philly who was wanted by Germany for prosecution as a guard at Auschwitz died one day before a judge OK’d an order for his extradition.

Pope Francis is going to hang with an evangelical buddy on Monday, and Vaticanista Sandro Magister says it’s part of “a broader effort that Pope Francis is making to win the favor of the worldwide leaders of those “Evangelical” and Pentecostal movements which especially in Latin America are the most fearsome competitor of the Catholic Church, from which they are snatching enormous masses of faithful.”

Those nice guys over in ISIS are demanding that shopkeepers cover the mannequins in store windows with full-face veils, in keeping with medieval Islamic bans on displaying the human form. Or, as Jonathan Turley notes: “On the positive side, this is the most moderate move of ISIS which notably did not behead the mannequins in a public execution after forcing them to convert to Islam.”

And, to end on a slightly more positive note, a church in Gaza is providing shelter for Muslims. AP has a moving slideshow.

And with that, we can almost see the weekend from here. Make sure we have your email address below so we can send you the Roundup every day, for free!



  1. Calling all Murderers and Rapists! Don’t want to waste a coupla good final hours on botched executions, nonstop moanings and gaspings, and mis-spelled press releases on your most important media day?

    Then STOP KILLING AND RAPING INNOCENT PEOPLE, and maybe that ole Karma stuff won’t bite you in your crooked butt like you DESERVE!!!

  2. ong ago when I lived in the South Bronx, when it was about 50% old Euro immigrant families and 50% Puerto Ricans and other Latins, many Hispanics went to Mass AND the Pentecostal storefront churches. One Pentecostal Pastor I knew had a wife and kids who regularly went to Mass. That pastor sent his kids to the Catholic school. The Catholic pastor had no objection to people attending both services. In fact he thought that it was a good thing. But then he encouraged people to think for themselves on church matters.

  3. Charles Freeman

    It may be that today’s RNS could be omitting a story of horrific consequence. It is reported that ISIS has issued a fatwa that all females in its regions of control will be subject to Female Genital Mutilation (FMG). How important is this?

    • Reporting on that story would constitute a grave act of Colonialism, Paternalism, Racism, Islamophobia, White Privilege, and probably 50 other sins against Social Justice. The Islamophobia alone is probably enough to keep RNS away, although Sarah Jones might write a piece about how the fatwa has nothing to do with religion and should not be distorted by White Male Cisgender Western Secularist Colonizers.

  4. “Good thing I never lived in Arizona,:.”

    Why? Are you a perpetrator of domestic abuse who killed your ex-girlfriend and her father after she took out a restraining order against you?

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