The Obama administration has clarified its policy on embryonic stem cell research, issuing draft guidelines to expand federal funding for the controversial research but retaining a ban on funding for its most ethically fraught versions.
Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has hired Katherine Hancock Ragsdale to be its new president and dean. She is president and director of the liberal think tank Political Research Associates, is openly gay, and has sat on the boards of NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
On the verge of losing accreditation in 2006 during its third straight year of bleeding red ink, the Claremont School of Theology faced an uncertain future. Some faculty members left the United Methodist–related seminary nestled near scenic mountains in southern California, and a new president was hired whose expertise was primarily in directing seminary and university libraries.
A New York judge has denied a request by a group of parishioners at the landmark Riverside Church to postpone the installation of the church’s new senior pastor because of anger over his compensation package, reported to be worth more than $600,000.
The Vatican plans to investigate leaders of women’s religious congregations in the U.S. to ensure their fidelity to Catholic teaching on controversial questions having to do with ecumenism, homosexuality and the all-male priesthood.
An Iranian-American journalist convicted of espionage by Iran’s Rev olutionary Court and sentenced to eight years in prison has become an unwitting figure in the tensions between the United States and the Middle Eastern nation.
Living with contradiction: As a youth Garret Keizer was troubled with contradictions in Paul's letters. He raised the issue with his pastor, who pointed out a contradiction that Keizer hadn’t noticed: in Galatians 6 Paul says both that we are to bear one another’s burdens and that we are to bear our own burdens. But Keizer now doesn’t think this is a contradiction. We need both imperatives, Keizer says—self-reliance and social responsibility. “The trick is to get them to kiss” (Harper’s, April).
The Alliance of Baptists applauded President Obama for loosening restrictions on Americans’ travel to Cuba and called for more U.S. policy reform during the progressive group’s April 17-19 convocation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Theology for buffaloes: Donald Shriver Jr. recalls when a publisher sent the library at Union Theological Seminary in New York a copy of Kosuke Koyama’s ground-breaking book Water Buffalo Theology. “The book landed on a discard shelf outside the library door," says Shriver. Soon afterward, Union named the book's author its professor of world Christianity. Koyama died last month at age 79 (ENI).
An Episcopal priest who professed two years ago that she was also a practicing Muslim has been defrocked by the Episcopal Church.
Rhode Island bishop Geralyn Wolf informed Ann Holmes Redding, who lives in Seattle, of the decision April 1. Although she lives outside the diocese, Redding was ordained in Rhode Island and had remained under Wolf’s authority.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America both have slashed their 2009 budgets, cutting programs and laying off scores of personnel as denominations continue to suffer from the recession.