It’s 2012, which means another doomsday may be upon us

Kathleen O'Brien |

(RNS) On Dec. 21, 2012, the Mayan calendar reaches the end of its 5,126 epoch. That’s a cause of consternation among some end-times adherents, and amusement among some descendants of the Maya. Fresh from having survived one end-of-the-world prediction — a two-stage affair covering 2011’s drop-dead dates of May 21 and Oct. 21 — we […]

Wednesday Godbytes

In Face-Melting News: Hey, remember the Ark of the covenant? You know, the thing from the Bible? No? Okay, you know that thing that melts people’s faces off in the first Indiana Jones movie? Yeah, that. Well it looks like people may have actually found the Ark of the Covenant (but probably not). Let’s hope […]

Pope to make second trip to Africa

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI will make his second papal trip to Africa on Friday (Nov. 18), visiting the West African country of Benin for three days, where he is likely to address economic justice, peace-building and interfaith dialogue. During Mass at a stadium in the city of Cotonou on Sunday, Benedict will present […]

Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup

Tuesday appeared to be a good day for liberals, as Mississippi’s personhood amendment, Ohio’s anti-union initiative and Maine’s voting registration restrictions all failed at the ballot box. All three had been opposed by the religious left. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, tossing out a claim that […]

Salem witch trials get a second look

G. Jeffrey MacDonald |

SALEM, Mass. (RNS) For centuries, scholars have wondered how a farming village in 1692 could have become so hysterically anxious that magistrates would order 20 executions for crimes of witchcraft. Now a new documentary film about the infamous Salem Witch Trials is stirring fresh debate by heaping blame on the local minister, the Rev. Samuel […]

Lawyer charges Catholic University with civil rights violations

Josef Kuhn |

WASHINGTON (RNS) A famously litigious lawyer has filed charges against the Catholic University of America (CUA) for not providing Muslim students with prayer rooms that are free of Catholic iconography. John F. Banzhaf III, a law professor at George Washington University who had earlier filed charges over CUA’s switch to same-sex dorms this summer, filed […]

Magicians say their craft makes them see faith as just hocus-pocus

Kimberly Winston |

(RNS) Magician Penn Jillette and his shorter, quieter partner Raymond Teller have mystified audiences around the world with their card tricks and other illusions that would make even Harry Houdini proud. With a Showtime TV series that seeks to disprove supernatural beliefs, including religious ones, the duo have long been a public face of atheism […]

COMMENTARY: Jesus loves the little Palestinian children, too

Dick Staub |

(RNS) Inasmuch as others have attempted to clear up the muddy waters of religious dogma and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, let me further muddy the waters with some insights from my own experience. As the child of an evangelical pastor, it was clear that my father and mother shared a special affection for Israel. They led […]