Squatters’ (divine) rights: To a Pentecostal community of squatters in Caracas, Venezuela, studied by Rafael Sánchez, their occupation of an empty, 12-story building in what was once a posh part of the town makes good theological sense. The world really belongs to God, they explain, but the devil has taken it over, and Christians’ job, as agents of the Holy Spirit, is to take back what really belongs to God (Public Culture, Spring).
In a narrow outcome, California voters overturned same-sex marriage rights in the nation’s most populous state, as similar bans on gay marriage were approved in Arizona and Florida. The ballot verdicts in three large and growing states will likely put the brakes—at least temporarily—on gay groups’ march toward civil marriage rights.
Separate fall meetings for the nation’s two largest organizations of religion professors—a showcase of religious studies research and expertise—may last only three years if negotiations under way bear fruit.
Twenty-three years after the Conservative Jewish movement began ordaining female rabbis, a woman has been tapped to lead its Rabbinical Assembly. Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, 43, will become executive vice president of the 1,600-member global body in July, succeeding Rabbi Joel Meyers, who will retire after 20 years in the position.