r1188cover-306x-1374073020By now, you’ve probably seen the Rolling Stone cover of the Boston bomber. The magazine was blasted for giving rock star treatment to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The long feature story says Dzhokhar, known to his friends as Jahar, “glided through life, showing virtually no signs of anger, let alone radical political ideology or any kind of deeply felt religious beliefs.”

“Jahar never denied he was a Muslim, though he sometimes played it down. He fasted during Ramadan, which included giving up pot… But the most religious thing he ever said was, ‘Don’t take God’s name in vain.’”

If you don’t have time to read the entire article, here’s the gist: As Jahar’s family situation deteriorated — his parents divorced and moved back to Russia, his brother, Tamerlan became a fanatic jihadist, money was getting scarce and he could barely afford college tuition —Jahar began to looking for something to latch onto.

Is the Catholic Church offering time off in purgatory for checking the Pope’s Twitter feed every few hours? That seemed to be what The Guardian and other papers were suggesting. But James Martin tells CNN “This is (another) case of how the media misunderstands and misreports a story from “The Vatican.”’

Queen Elizabeth II made it official, though it passed by landslide votes in both houses of Parliament. And with that, England and Wales join more than half a dozen nations were same-sex couples may wed (though not in the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church).

Photos of Queen Elizabeth II in different colored outfits.

A pastiche of rainbow outfits worn by Queen Elizabeth II, courtesy Facebook.

To mark the passage, folks created this online pastiche of rainbow outfits worn by the Queen.

In another sign that England is changing: It’s best-known TV company, Channel 4, is broadcasting the early hour Muslim call to prayer — and sparking applause as well as anger. Some have called the daily Ramadan broadcasts, a politically correct “gimmick.” Others have been more welcoming.

Americans are nearly evenly divided on whether capitalism and the free market system are consistent with (41 percent) or at odds with (44 percent) Christian values. This is among the conclusions of a new study at PRRI. Stay tuned to RNS for more details.

The monks at Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, S.C., run 3,200 acres of land and half a dozen businesses. Now a secular seeker has written a book about their business secrets. Read what he’s learned here.

A bunch of Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House are asking President Obama for a “religious diversity summit.” They do so right before the anniversary of the rampage in Wisconsin that killed six Sikhs.

A group of atheists plan to protest the possible placement of 30 life-sized crosses on public land in Evansville, Ind.

The Forward looks at a 92-year-old Jewish skydiver who jumps out of planes as part of a fundraising mission for the South Brunswick Food Pantry in New Jersey. Now his synagogue is offering to pay him not to skydive after he broke his ankle.

Lots of NYC news for all you Big Apple lovers, me included:

According to real estate blog Movoto, NYC handily beats out Colorado Springs (among other cities in Colorado, California, and Arizona) to claim the title of the most saintly city. I don’t quite get their methodology, but maybe you can make it out.

Anthony Weiner may be Jewish, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll get the support of the city’s Orthodox Hasidic establishment in his run for New York City mayor. Partly it’s because of the scandal over his sexually explicit photos and messages more than two years ago. Mostly, it’s because he married out of the faith, and to a Muslim to boot.

Working the same streets of Jewish Brooklyn is Joseph J. Lhota, the Republican candidate for mayor. He’s not Jewish, but his grandmother was.

New York has become a magnet for startup evangelical churches in recent years. There are more than 200 in Manhattan alone, and an AP reporter looks at Hillsong, one of the fastest growing.

A rabbi accused of impersonating a police officer was greeted by real officers shortly after his release from a psychiatric hospital.

Does God condemn homosexuality? Watch this cartoon, created in the wake of another gay teen suicide.

And finally, not really religion-related, but notable nonetheless: Today is Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, and reports say he’s steadily improving, though still hospitalized. Happy birthday Madiba.









  1. Saintly city? Any city that would outlaw the homeless as Co. Springs did over a yer ago now doesn’t qualify in my book. Plus, we have our share of those who spout the usual birther and racist anti-Obama hate speech. Still, the liberal Christian base is growing here and that, along with the moutains and change of seasons on a dime make it a great city to live in!

  2. I understand what RollingStone was trying to do with their cover but portraying him as the boy next door in the photo was going a bit far. Still, if you read the RS article you do get an understanding of what they were trying to say, how the next terrosit just could be the boy next door!

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