Death to the death penalty: Polls show that support for the death penalty among lay Catholics is declining. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, D.C., acknowledges that theology doesn’t seem to be driving this trend. Rather, it is more the consequence of the number of cases in which convicted inmates have been proved innocent after DNA testing (USA Today, November 8).
Religious conservatives lost electoral fights to pass an abortion law in California, overturn gay-rights legislation in Maine and defeat a bond issue in Ohio that critics said could fund embryonic stem cell research. However, the right claimed victory in Texas as voters overwhelmingly approved a measure November 8 bolstering the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
When evangelicals took center stage at an interfaith “Make Poverty History” rally, Chloe Breyer was uneasy. A progressive Episcopal priest and a staunch defender of abortion rights, she worried how evangelicals might upset a left-leaning coalition of religious activists lobbying the UN World Summit.
The (Lutheran) Church of Sweden has agreed to establish a blessing in churches for same-sex couples who have signed a civil partnership agreement. The decision came at an October 27 meeting of the denomination’s Church Assembly. Though Sweden does not permit same-sex marriage, it recognizes civil partnerships, in which couples enjoy many, but not all, of the rights of a civil marriage.