Diagram of the words "peace" and "war" on either end of a seesaw.

A 72-hour ceasefire was announced in the Gaza conflict.courtesy Shutterstock

Welcome to the Friday Roundup. A 72-hour cease-fire declared between Israel and Hamas crumbled overnight after an Israeli soldier was captured. The conflict now enters its fourth week.

War in Gaza has already placed great stress on interfaith relations, writes Jaweed Kaleem over at HuffPo. How much should interfaith partners keep the focus on shared beliefs, instead of discussing and debating contrasting worldviews?

This is getting scary

The spread of the deadly Ebola virus prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to raise its travel health alert, warning people to avoid nonessential travel to the three African countries.

Meanwhile, there’s news an American doctor being treated for Ebola in Liberia has taken “a slight turn for the worse,” according to Samaritan’s Purse, the international relief organization headed by Franklin Graham.

Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are among three Americans who contracted the disease. At least one of them may be treated at an isolation unit at Emory University’s hospital in Atlanta, the CDC announced.

The good and the bad

A Ugandan court on Friday invalidated an anti-gay bill signed into law earlier this year, saying the measure is illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum.

But gay activists in China are suing over electric shock therapy used to “cure” homosexuality.

And over in Chicago, a music director was fired from his job at a Catholic Church because he’s engaged to his same-sex partner.

No go

More than 100 religious activists, including a 67-year-old nun, were arrested at the White House Thursday to protest deportations and seek relief for 11 million immigrants living illegally in the country.

On the issue of migrant children, even the Jesuits tried appealing to Congress. No can do. Republicans scuttled a bill that would have provided emergency aid to deal with children at the border.

Move over al-Qaida

President Obama may not want to create a new generation of enemies for the United States. But he faces a dangerous, festering menace in the Islamic State, says WaPo’s David Ignatius.

No kidding

Satanists are challenging the Hobby Lobby ruling with a letter protesting “informed consent” abortion laws as a burden to their religious beliefs.

A tale of two women

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese doctor accused of apostasy, arrived in New Hampshire Thursday evening with her American husband and two children. About 40 relatives and supporters gathered at the airport to greet her.

After getting rejected for an honorary degree from Brandeis University, critic of Islam and author of “Infidel,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali will be the keynote speaker at American Atheists’ 2015 convention.

Wait. There’s more news about women.

That single mother you see at church (or synagogue)? She may be the pastor (or rabbi), says Lauren Markoe who stops to document a new and important trend: unmarried ministers who are also mommies.

Bark bark

Katha Politt writing in The Nation says its time to repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which she sees as an excuse for bigotry, superstition and sectarianism.

A medal for religion

On 9/11, “On Being” host Krista Tippett was in Washington on her way to meet with potential funders to create a radio show focused on faith. As the day unfolded, the meeting was canceled.

“Unfortunately, the case for religion as a force in the world was made for me,” said Tippett, who was honored with the National Humanities Medal this week.

Long reads:

  • Esquire has a story on why a follow-up script to the spectacularly successful “The Passion of the Christ” never got off the ground.
  • And the Guardian has a story on how Hollywood found religion. (Among the upcoming movies: “Left Behind,” a remake of a 2002 end-of-days conspiracy thriller starring Nicolas Cage, and a Cain and Abel film set to star Will Smith.

And finally, The Guardian offers “The sinner’s top 10 guide to happiness” as a riposte to Pope Francis’ 10 tips for happiness. Among them, “Get drunk in parks” and “proselytize about cheese, when necessary.”

But here’s my favorite: “Take a break from social media.” And with that bad journalistic example, we’re off to a good start for the weekend.

Sign up below and be sure to get back on track Monday.


  1. Hamas might not have kidnapped israeli teenagers in the first place, says a jewish writer.

    Google up Katie Zavadski of nymag.com

    Neyetenboo originally said “hamas kidnapped them. Hamas will pay.”

    So not only was Nehytenbibi wrong initially, he lied as well. He didn’t make hamas pay. He made 10000 palestineians pay.

    These people are too dangerous to have a state of their own. He hasnt got jack right so far. And if the world insists the jews have to have a state and it has to be there, for humanities sake disarm the israeli s. They cannot handle weapons and sound judgement.

    • “These people?” You seem to forget that Israel has been surrounded by states bent on its destruction since its independence in 1948. Moreover, while I would like to see a more moderate government in Israel, Hamas refuses to accept the very existence of Israel. They’re not exactly sending “welcome” rockets across their border.

      To understand this controversy requires one to go back to the early part of the 20th century to examine how the Sykes-Picot treaty undermined the Faisal – Weizmann accords. Nevertheless, irrespective of the history their are Muslim factions that cannot, and will never, accept a Jewish state in that part of the world. It is religious zealotry that creates the violence.

      • Agreed with your last statement.

        I’m just sick of america supporting one and not the other. We didn’t have enemies in thr middle east until we took stewardship of israel.

        Muslims and palestineians have equal right to defend themselves and their interests.

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