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 […]

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Catholics tuning out bishops’ voting guidelines

David Gibson |

NEW YORK (RNS) Every four years, the Catholic bishops of the United States publish a detailed statement about how Catholics should think about key political issues in light of church teachings. And every election cycle, activists on both sides of the Catholic political spectrum argue passionately about what the statement really means, whether it supports […]

Dean of black preachers defends Obama

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) In a new book, the Rev. Gardner Taylor, a retired pastor known nationally as the dean of African-American preachers, decries the treatment of President Obama by his critics. Taylor, 93, was particularly disturbed when Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., declared “you lie” as Obama addressed a 2009 joint session of Congress. “When you call the […]

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GUEST COMMENTARY: How far we’ve come, how far we’ve yet to go

Eric Greenberg and Philip Cunningham |

(RNS) A fascinating exchange recently took place in the pages of the Vatican’s newspaper between the chief rabbi of Rome and the Vatican’s chief representative to the Jewish people. Their conversation reflected just how far we’ve come in Christian-Jewish relations — but also how far we have yet to go. It started when L’Osservatore Romano […]

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Monday’s Religion News Roundup

So, Irene was kind of a bust, at least for those of us here in the mid-Atlantic. But BU’s Stephen Prothero makes an interesting point: If modern science allows us to know exactly when and where a hurricane is going to hit, does that diminish our view of God, or at least tame our view […]

Congregations go for `Creation Care,’ one barrel at a time

Lauren Markoe |

WASHINGTON (RNS) It was the time in pre-marriage counseling when the groom has to leave so the priest and the bride can talk alone. So Jamal Kadri stepped outside Holy Name Catholic Church that rainy day in Washington, D.C., and watched water pour from the church gutters and seep into the sanctuary. The idea hit […]

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Thursday’s Religion News Roundup

President Obama hosted an Iftar dinner at the White House Wednesday night, using the occasion to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks, including Muslims, and U.S. service members. Among the guests invited to the fast-breaking Ramadan dinner were Muslim families whose relatives died in the Twin Towers and professional football players. Speaking of Muslim […]

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COMMENTARY: Using fear as a weapon violates the gospel

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) On a visit to southern Spain, I came across a centuries-old Roman Catholic church that had a large stone post with iron rings placed beside the church door. It was the whipping post, where targets of the Spanish Inquisition were tortured in public and their blood stains left to frighten others into obedience. Whipping […]

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Judge bars `witch hunt’ comment from faith-healing trial

Steve Mayes |

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (RNS) A state medical examiner who concluded that two members of an Oregon City faith-healing church were victims of a prosecutorial “witch hunt” will not be allowed to offer that opinion when the defendants go to trial next month. Clackamas County Presiding Judge Robert D. Herndon ruled in a pretrial hearing Tuesday […]

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