The opening prayer: let us give thanks, those of us who don’t have to rummage under the couch cushions for the quarters that will allow us to clean our dirty clothes.
Oh, I wish I had written this story! NPR tells of an Episcopal church in Ventura, Calif., which started a laundry ministry. It’s called Laundry Love and volunteers contribute their time, soap and quarters to help the poor get their laundry done. If that’s the way you’ve ever had to get your clothes clean, you know how maddening, time-consuming and expensive laundromat life can be. More than 70 churches, synagogues and mosques now have their own laundry ministries.
9/11 museum can keep the cross
Remember that atheists filed a lawsuit protesting the presence of the 9/11 cross in the 9/11 museum, which is funded in part by taxpayer dollars? They just lost their appeal, writes Sarah Pulliam Bailey. Federal Judge Reena Raggi wrote that an observer of the cross:
. . . would not understand the effect of displaying an artifact with such an inclusive past in a Museum devoted to the history of the September 11 attacks to be the divisive one of promoting religion over nonreligion.
Obit: Iconic Zen master/accused sexual predator
Joshu Sasaki Roshi, one of the nation’s most famous Buddhist teachers, came from Japan 50 years ago to plant Zen in America. Widely revered, he was also widely reviled, as dozens of students in his later life accused him of rape and other sexual assault. He died in Los Angeles at 107.
A subdued Eid
In Gaza and in the Palestinian Territories, Eid — the end of Ramadan — is not the usual joyous occasion for feasting and present-giving. The war between Hamas and Israel has dampened spirits among Muslims for whom the suffering in Gaza is all too close, Rachel Delia Benaim reports from Jerusalem.
The 4th circuit rejects gay marriage ban
It’s not the first appeals court to declare a state gay marriage ban unconstitutional (Denver went first), but it’s the 4th Circuit, famous for its conservatism. The circuit covers: North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
In the time that it took President Obama to nominate a new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, a child could have been conceived and birthed. But nine months after AAL Suzan Johnson Cook left the job, we have a nomination: Rabbi David Saperstein, a highly respected lawyer who has spent his career in D.C., lobbying on behalf of religious liberty and progressive causes. With few exceptions, religious liberty watchdogs — conservatives and liberals alike — have applauded the administration’s choice and praised Saperstein’s intellect and commitment. Let’s see what the Senate says.
Shame on Turkmenistan
The State Department Monday released its International Religious Freedom Report for 2013 and it’s depressing as anything. The report, the gold standard for monitors of religious persecution, adds a ninth country to the shame list: Turkmenistan.
Secretary of State John Kerry, along with the horrors contained in the report, offered up a few glimmers of hope in those who went out of their way or put themselves in harm’s way to protect those persecuted for their religion. Wrote Brian Pellot:
Kerry mentioned Pakistani Muslims who formed human chains to protect Christian worshippers after a church bombing in Peshawar and a Jewish neighborhood watch team that helped Muslim leaders in London ensure safe access to mosques after a series of attacks.
Pope To Pentecostals: Sorry
Pentecostal leaders meeting in Naples with Pope Francis were a bit surprised — but mighty pleased — by his apology on behalf of Catholics for the persecution of their brethren under the Fascists, Jo McKenna writes.
You don’t want to know but should know
An Ahmadi Muslim grandmother and two of her young granddaughters — one a baby — were killed by a Pakistani mob after the family was accused of posting blasphemous material on Facebook. A 1984 Pakistani law declared the oft-persecuted Ahmadis non-Muslims.
The death toll from a Ramadan attack on Muslim villagers in the Philippines by the Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf has risen to 23.
– Lauren Markoe
Sorry to end on sad news, folks. Maybe go back to the top and re-read God’s laundry. Tomorrow, and every weekday, there’s a brand new Religion News Roundup. Sign up below and we will make sure you don’t miss it.