The Rev. Joel Hunter, who heads Florida’s largest evangelical congregation and advises President Obama, estimates that he may have lost 10 percent of his flock in recent years thanks to his political activism. The attrition, Mark Pinsky explains, is because Hunter falls left of the far right.

Protestant and Catholic groups have banded together in northeast India to counter what they see as an epidemic of Satan worship among youth.

The Church of England’s legislative body has voted to ordain women bishops, a victory for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby — head of the 80 million-member Anglican church since January. But it may be years until the actual ordination of a woman bishop. Our man in England, Trevor Grundy, has more on the issue later today at RNS.

Ramadan Mubarak! (Happy Ramadan.) The holiest month of the Muslim year, which has just begun, is usually the most social month of the Muslim year. But not always for converts, who, our own Omar Sacirbey reports, sometimes find Ramadan the loneliest of times.

Speaking of not eating, RNS blogger Jana Riess thinks Mormons are too quick to exempt themselves from the required first-Sunday-of-the-month fast. No one should excuse themselves, she writes, but fasting need not mean abstaining from all food.

Pope Francis draws attention to the plight of African immigrants as he makes the first trip of his papacy outside Rome, and decries the “globalization of indifference” to the sufferings of others.

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, taking a page out of former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford’s playbook (and former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s too) is going on an “I sinned” tour as he makes a bid for New York City comptroller.

Also in NYC, 19 former students of a high school run by Yeshiva University have filed a $380 million lawsuit against the university for covering up what they say was decades of sexual abuse.

In a YouTube video, Michelle Knight, one of the three women held captive for more than a decade in a Cleveland home, says she is doing fine with God’s help, and that his plan for her is to help others who have been in similar situations. “I don’t want to be consumed by hatred,” she said.

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order on a new Wisconsin law that prohibits doctors from performing abortions if they lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

It seemed as if China might be softening toward Tibetan Buddhists, but recent reports of the shootings of monks celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday, and rather harsh comments from the Chinese official in charge of religious minorities, say otherwise.

Historical tidbit: On this day in 1896, William Jennings Bryan gave his famous “cross of gold’’ speech to the Democratic national convention in Chicago.

No speeches from me. Just sign up below for the roundup because it’s informative and free.

- Lauren Markoe

Categories: Beliefs

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe covered government and features as a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years before joining the Religion News Service staff as a national correspondent in 2011. She previously was Washington correspondent for The State (Columbia, S.C.)


  1. Thanks for posting the WJ Bryant speech, interesting piece of history there and if you listen to the speech you do begin to see where it fits into being mentioned in the roundup.

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