religion

The Southern Baptist Convention has voted to make it easier to expel churches that mishandle claims of sexual abuse.

Delegates representing some 47,000 Southern Baptist churches gathered at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala., approved an amendment allowing individual churches to be expelled from the Convention if they mishandle or cover up sexual abuse cases. Delegates also established a special committee to evaluate abuse claims against churches.

The promotion of religious freedom in America, a cause that not long ago had near unanimous support on Capitol Hill, has fallen victim to the culture wars.

A high point came in 1993, when Congress overwhelmingly passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, meant to overturn a Supreme Court decision that limited Americans' right to exercise their religion freely.

Lent is meant to be a time of reflection for Christians around the world. But once again this year, it comes at a time of deep disquiet within the faith. Sexual abuse and misconduct scandals have continued to rock the Catholic Church, leading many to question their religious institutions, or even their faith itself.

Katie Lepri / WLRN

Rev. Jo-Ann Murphy, dressed in a black cassock, dug her fingers into a small glass goblet containing black, chalky ashes, which are made of burnt palms. She got a good coat before applying it on Gary Sullivan's forehead, making a cross.

“Remember you are dust, and dust you shall return,” said Murphy, an assistant rector at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, located near Peacock Park in Coconut Grove.

“Amen,” said Sullivan, who parked his bike on McFarlane Road.

United Methodist Church leaders are meeting in St. Louis beginning Saturday to decide whether to lift a ban on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex weddings.

The topic has become increasingly contentious in recent years, as more United Methodist clergy have come out as gay. United Methodists are among the last mainline Protestant denominations to address the issue, and some worry it could cause a major rift in the church.

Parkland shooting
Isabella Cueto / WLRN News

Rocio Muñoz had gotten used to teaching every Monday night. For the past 12 years, she had been teaching catechism for middle and high school students at the family's church in Parkland, along with her husband and youngest daughter, Leonor.

 

But after everything that happened last Feb. 14 - the shooting at her daughter's high school -  the Muñoz family decided to take a break from teaching at their church for a year.

"What I kept thinking was, 'that could have been my daughter,'" Rocio Muñoz said.

Americans in 2018 got an overdose of stories about marital unfaithfulness. President Donald Trump was accused of making hush payments to at least two women with whom he allegedly had affairs, and the #MeToo movement highlighted sexual misconduct at all layers of U.S. society.

For conservative Christians, such stories were especially disturbing.

Sometimes it's the most well-intended messages that go awry.

Catholic News Service, a U.S. denominational news agency, posted a tweet on Sunday that said: "Hanukkah began at sundown. Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate!"

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2017 and has been republished with updates.

For Rosh Hashana, more than 350 members of Uganda's Namutumba Synagogue dressed in white, chanted their prayers and feasted on a slaughtered cow to mark the beginning of a new Jewish year last week.

"We are so happy that we entered the new year with such joy and happiness," said Namutumba's spiritual leader Shadrach Mugoya Levi by telephone from Uganda.

At Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland last week, Rabbi Bradd Boxman told the congregation there was an elephant in the room. The elephant was a prayer, or a piyyut, a liturgical poem, that has been recited during the Jewish New Year for centuries.

The prayer, the Unetaneh Tokef, is about who will live and who will die in the coming year, and how. It involves asking to be inscribed in the book of life, to remain among the living. 

Science and Christianity often seem at odds in the public imagination. But some churches have made part of their mission to lessen that tension by bringing science into Bible study.

Who Stole The Torahs?

Apr 29, 2018

Before dawn on March 21, 1995, someone broke into a synagogue in the Palestinian city of Nablus.

Updated at 10:18 a.m. ET

As allegations continue to swirl about the president and a payout to a porn star to cover up a sexual encounter, evangelical leaders are organizing a sit-down with President Trump in June, four sources with knowledge of the planned meeting tell NPR.

This story comes from Religion News Service. A version originally appeared in USA Today.

"OK, this is it, girls."

With 41 seconds left in Loyola-Chicago's Sweet 16 game with Nevada, Sister Mary Fran McLaughlin points out just how close the game is — just like Loyola's two previous games in this unexpected NCAA Tournament run.

Every Sunday when he is at the Vatican, Francis ends his remarks to the crowd in St. Peter's Square with a typical Italian saying: "Have a good lunch and arrivederci."

It's that common touch that has so endeared the Argentine-born pope to millions of people across the world, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, since his election five years ago, on March 13, 2013. But in recent months, Francis has also become the target of criticism on various fronts, and the image of him as charismatic reformer has suffered some hits.

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