Posted by Kevin Eckstrom 4 weeks 9 hours ago
American Muslim leaders said they stand against terrorism committed in the name of Islam, trying to distance themselves from the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings who were identified as Muslims with ties to Chechnya.“We will never allow ourselves to be hijacked by this attempt, and we will not allow the perception to be that there is any religion in the world that condones the taking of innocent life,” said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.As the manhunt intensified in and around Boston, Muslim leaders convened a press conference Friday to denounce the attacks and to urge the media not to link their faith with violent extremism.
Posted by Kevin Eckstrom 7 weeks 2 days ago
In nearly two hours of arguments on Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard many of the expected cases for and against recognizing gay marriage: that refusing to do so is blatant discrimination, that gay marriage is a social experiment that the court should not preempt, that Washington has no role in state marriage laws.Yet it was arcane arguments over matters of legal standing that seemed to most animate the justices, reflecting what seemed to be a desire to find a way for the court to sidestep a definitive up-or-down ruling on one of the most divisive social issues.In short, the court — particularly its conservative majority — seemed to ask why they should hear a second gay marriage case in as many days, particularly one in which the government supports the lower court’s ruling. And the answer to that question will go a long way toward determining the outcome of a spirited national debate.
Posted by Kevin Eckstrom, Alessandro Speciale 13 weeks 4 days ago
Following is a brief explanation of the process used in a conclave to elect a new pope.Q: Who governs the church until a new pope is elected?A: Day-to-day operations are handled by the Vatican curia, the central bureaucracy. All prelates who head Vatican agencies resign after the death or resignation of a pope. Provisions are made to oversee the papal household, the spiritual needs of Romans and to grant absolutions.Q: What does the word “conclave” mean?A: The word comes from the Latin, “with a key,” referring to the tradition of locking the doors until cardinals elect a winner.Q: Who is eligible to be elected pope?A: Technically, any baptized male Catholic is eligible, provided he is not married and in good standing with the church. Since 1378, however, new popes have come from within the College of Cardinals.
Posted by Kevin Eckstrom 20 weeks 2 days ago
WASHINGTON — From the nuns to the “nones,” religion dominated the headlines throughout 2012. Faith was a persistent theme in the presidential race, and moral and ethical questions surrounded budget debates, mass killings, and an unexpected focus on “religious freedom.”Here are 10 ways religion made news in 2012:Suffer the children: Gun violence as a new “pro-life” issueA shooting rampage that killed 12 and injured more than 50 others inside a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo., couldn’t do it. Neither could a gunman who murdered six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. But a hail of bullets inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. – which took the lives of 20 first-graders, and six adults – was finally able to mobilize religious activists on gun control after years of failing to gain traction.“Those who consider themselves religious or pro-life must be invited to see that the desire to prevent gun-related deaths is part of the religious defense of the dignity of all life,” wrote the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and contributing editor at America magazine.
Posted by Kevin Eckstrom 39 weeks 13 hours ago
A leader of the group of Catholic nuns who are facing a crackdown from the Vatican said on Thursday that her members have no plans or desire to leave the church, or reconstitute their group beyond Vatican control.Sister Mary Hughes, who ended a three-year term as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on Aug. 11, said there is little-to-no support to withdraw the LCWR from the church, where it could avoid a Vatican-order makeover."It is the deep desire of the membership to stay within the church and not move away from it," Hughes said at a luncheon at the National Press Club. "We derive our strength from the sacramental life of the church."
Posted by Kevin Eckstrom 1 year 2 weeks ago
Mitt Romney may or may not become the first Mormon to move into the White House next year, but a new study shows that Mormonism is moving into more parts of the country than any other religious group, making it the fastest-growing faith in more than half of U.S. states.The 2012 Religious Congregations and Membership Study, released here Tuesday (May 1), shows that the mainline Protestants and Catholics who dominated the 20th century are literally losing ground to the rapid rise of Mormons and, increasingly, Muslims.
Posted by Kevin Eckstrom, Al Webb 1 year 7 weeks ago
A proposed "Covenant" aimed at ensuring unity across the worldwide Anglican Communion appears to have failed, leaving the world's third-largest Christian body facing an uncertain and likely fragmented future.The covenant, born of an idea in 2004 to try to set boundaries in belief and practice for the Communion's 40 members churches, appears dead after a majority of dioceses within the Church of England voted to reject it.With results still being counted, supporters of the Covenant effectively lost their battle within the Church of England when the Diocese of Lincoln cast the 23rd vote against it last week."The covenant is either buried or disabled," said Simon Barrow, co-director of the independent British think tank Ekklesia, in the aftermath of the decision.
Posted by Kevin Eckstrom, Al Webb 1 year 8 weeks ago
LONDON — Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said Friday he will step down at the end of 2012, setting the stage for the unique process of government officials appointing the new leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Williams' surprise announcement stunned the religious world, even as the short list of prospective successors swiftly began to circulate. Williams, 61, has led the Church of England and the world's 77 million Anglicans since 2002.Traditionally, the new leader is chosen by a church committee of Anglican clergy and laity, who then draft a short list of candidates to submit to the prime minister, currently David Cameron.While Queen Elizabeth II is the supreme governor of the Church of England and formally appoints the archbishop of Canterbury, the decision is based on the final determination of the prime minister. That process could be dogged by controversy. In the recent past, some Church of England reformists have cast doubt on whether a political figure should be involved in picking a spiritual leader for 77 million Anglicans around the world.The odds-on favorite, according to numerous observers, is Uganda-born John Sentamu, the current archbishop of York and the No. 2 official in the Church of England. Sentamu, the sixth of 13 children, fled his homeland and its dictator, Idi Amin, in 1974.
Posted by Kevin Eckstrom 1 year 13 weeks ago
President Obama on Friday said that all insurers — not all religious institutions — will be required to offer free contraceptive services to women.Here's what people are saying about it:President Obama:"We’ve been mindful that there’s another principle at stake here –- and that’s the principle of religious liberty, an inalienable right that is enshrined in our Constitution. As a citizen and as a Christian, I cherish this right."Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:“Today’s decision to revise how individuals obtain services that are morally objectionable to religious entities and people of faith is a first step in the right direction. We hope to work with the Administration to guarantee that Americans’ consciences and our religious freedom are not harmed by these regulations.”Family Research Council:"Liberals say keep your morals out of the bedroom, yet the President's plan forces everyone to pay the cost for someone else's contraceptive use in the bedroom. That's not freedom, it's a mandate."
Posted by Kevin Eckstrom 1 year 14 weeks ago
Atlanta-area megachurch pastor Eddie Long has had his share of headlines, many of them not good. Now he's making news — and raising eyebrows — again with a "kingship" ceremony that can only be described as bizarre.Jewish groups say the ceremony -- in which Long was shrouded by a Torah scroll (allegedly saved from Auschwitz) and then paraded around on a chair — was the height of disrespect. And it's not just Jews who were offended.