(RNS) Labor Day is over and many of us are not quite ready to labor again. So in this Religion News Roundup, we will tend our recreation hangovers, and ease slowly into this workweek. (I, however, just finished a camping trip with four children, ages 5 to 8, and the return to the office has lowered my blood pressure considerably.)
But for those of you who need a gentle beginning:
How the apocalypse would happen if heaven were a small non profit
Daniel Cech writes a quirky little post for the humor website of the San Francisco publishing company McSweeney’s. “God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will send e-mails to each other creating action plans and purposely not CC or talk about it with any of the angels,” he begins. Those of you who have ever worked for a non-profit – you will understand.
Launching this week: a new website about Catholicism
This is how confident we are about our religion news here at Religion News: we welcome to the media fray what some people might call a competitor. The Boston Globe’s esteemed John Allen and friends are launching The Crux this week, a new website about the Roman Catholic Church. Allen writes:
In the abstract, some may wonder why a secular news organization would launch a site dedicated to the church.
We at RNS are not wondering. Heck, we got a whole secular website and wire service devoted to the church — actually all churches, and non-Christian religions and secularism to boot. We totally get it. More journalism covering religion as a beat — not boosterism or slander — is a welcome thing.
Judge blocks enforcement of Louisiana abortion law
The state has five clinics that perform abortions but abortion rights activists argued that it would have none if a new law goes into effect. That law requires doctor who do abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. A federal judge allowed the law to go into effect Monday but said that Louisiana could not begin enforcing it.
The pope’s soccer match
Big time players, Diego Maradona among them, came out to play a pope-backed soccer match in Rome Monday night. The purposely interfaith teams, who played for a children’s charity, were composed of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. Said Maradona, who played for 90 minutes of the game:
Today two powers were brought together, the hand of God and that of the Pope . . . Francis is much more than Maradona. He is the real outstanding star. … I grew apart from the church because I though it wasn’t doing enough for the needy, but with Francis it’s different.
As doctors bring the comedian out of a coma today to better assess her condition, our own Cathy Lynn Grossman offers some thoughts on praying for the sick. She quotes Rivers:
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present.
On the road again
Lev Tahor, a sect that practices a very austere Judaism, left Canada earlier this year because Quebec school officials didn’t like the fact that members weren’t registering their kids for class. They hoped to find a more receptive home in the remote Guatemalan village of San Juan la Laguna
But it looks as if they’ve been driven out by local Guatemalans who, Lev Tahor told Reuters, verbally abused them and threatened to cut off their electricity. Hebrew lesson for the day: lev = heart, tahor = pure.
An aside: if you search Twitter for “Lev Tahor” your first result is not a Hasidic sect but Ms. Lindsey Anderson, @Lev_Tahor: “Cosmetologist who is absolutely & solely in love with Jesus Christ the Savior.”
Pakistan’s endangered Hindu heritage
Author Reema Abbasi, who considers herself a “spiritual Muslim,” has written a new book on 40 historic Hindu sites in Pakistan to draw attention to the deep roots and precarious existence of religious minorities in Pakistan, a predominantly Sunni Muslim country oft-cited for the plight of its Hindus, Ahmadi Muslims, Shiite Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.
Abbasi said she wrote “Historic Temples in Pakistan: A Call to Conscience” to alert people to “Pakistan’s fraying social order and the sad prospect of it bringing about its own destruction by documenting Hindu places of worship . . . ”
Second chanceHere are two RNS stories that got posted at the end of last week. Some, getting a head start on the holiday weekend, might have missed them.
1. The phenomenal photography of Roman Vishniac. This is my story about a vast archive of his work that includes stunning photos of Jewish life in Europe before the Holocaust. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is hoping some of you out there will recognize places and relatives yet unidentified.
2. Adelle’s Banks’ “Cracks in the Stained-Glass Ceiling,” a look a three women chosen to lead churches this year in major American cities.
You should also know
Two teenage girls arrested for plotting a suicide bomb attack on the Great Synagogue of Lyon.
Michael Sam, who many thought might be the first openly gay NFL player, gets cut from the Rams.
NPR’s Michel Martin moderates a conversation in Ferguson about race hosted by the city’s Wellspring Church.
A Southern California high school has booted its hooknosed Arab mascot but is keeping its nickname: “the Arabs.”
And for good measure
Don’t miss our own Brian Pellot’s Religious Freedom Recap for August, not a sleepy month on the religious freedom front.
OK, ready for the rest of the week? No? Well at least it’s short. And there are three more Religion News Roundups coming your way this week. Sign up below to make sure you don’t miss them.
– Lauren Markoe