Israeli archaeologists excavating the grounds of Megiddo Prison have discovered what they believe are the remnants of the earliest church ever discovered in the Holy Land. Yotam Tepper, the dig’s chief archaeologist, said at a news briefing November 6 that the find “is certainly the earliest church in Israel that we know of.”
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.
After fits and starts, Baylor University’s search for a new president ended with the choice of Baylor alumnus John M. Lilley, 66, president of the University of Nevada, Reno, and previously president for 21 years at Penn State–Erie.
A large, progressive Episcopal church in southern California, warned by the Internal Revenue Service that its tax-exempt status may be at risk over a preelection antiwar sermon delivered last year, says it intends to fight what it calls “unsupported” assertions by the federal agency.
GeneRobinson of New Hampshire, the only openly gay bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion, met November 3 with Archbishop of Canterbury RowanWilliams, and they had what a spokesperson said were “friendly but candid talks on the range of problems that have arisen since Bishop Robinson’s consecration.” The meeting, which ended with prayer, was described as part of t
The bishops of the United Methodist Church have unanimously proclaimed that homosexuality is “not a barrier” to church membership, despite a recent church court ruling that allowed a Virginia pastor to keep an openly gay man from joining his congregation.
One of the nation’s largest gay churches has voted overwhelmingly to affiliate with the United Church of Christ, in part because of the UCC’s vote last July to support civil marriage rights for gay couples.