Long-held assumptions about religious activists on the left and right have been confirmed in a new 40-page report issued in mid-September: the only thing both sides seem to have in common is that faith is a big part of their lives—bigger than among the general public.
Beyond that, the two poles differ dramatically on political priorities and biblical interpretation.
The number of atheist or agnostic student groups on U.S. campuses has more than doubled in the past two years—from 80 to 162—according to the Secular Student Alliance (SSA), the national organization for the secular student movement.
God for a change: The Shona people of Zimbabwe have many names for God. Janice McLaughlin's favorite is Chipindikure, which means "the One who turns things upside down." It comes from the word kupinduka, which means "to be uprooted." Says McLaughlin, a longtime Maryknoll missionary: "What an amazing concept to explain God's presence in the often unwanted and unplanned changes that happen to us throughout our lives" (Ostriches, Dung Beetles, and Other Spiritual Masters, Orbis).
Dozens of legal and religious groups have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to rescind a Bush-era memorandum that they believe wrongly permitted a religious charity to receive federal grant money despite its policy of hiring only Christians.
Health-care reform may be Priority No. 1 in Congress and at the White House, but for the 1,825 religious conservatives who gathered in Washington for the annual Values Voter Summit in September, the subject was barely on their radar screen.
Moni Basu, a former writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has won the top two prizes, for reporting and writing, from the Religion Newswriters Association. Basu chronicled firsthand the gritty experiences of a military chaplain in Baghdad and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Basu left the paper last May and now works for CNN.
The Church of Nigeria has chosen a 57-year-old retired lieutenant colonel from the Nigerian army, Archbishop Nicholas Orogodo Okoh, as its new primate to lead some 20 million Anglicans in the west African country.
The World Council of Churches has called on the Israeli government to “implement an open-ended freeze” on all settlement construction and expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem “in preparation for negotiating peace in good faith” in the region.
Amid their “slow but general retreat” this decade in terms of financial health and membership, the oldline Protestant churches are especially hampered by the aging of their memberships, a new study says.
The Swiss Council of Religions, which includes Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders, has gone on record rejecting a call for a nationwide ban on the construction of minarets at mosques. Some Swiss groups want to ban minarets out of fear of Europe’s growing Muslim population.
As the nation marked the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, almost six in ten Americans agreed that Muslims are the subject of discrimination—more than members of other major religious groups, according to a new survey.
Pill popping: Sales of the antidepressant drug Cymbalta are up 14 percent since the summer of 2008. Unfortunately, some of the people who might benefit the most from the drug aren't getting it. A study of homeowners in Philadelphia on the brink of foreclosure revealed that 37 percent suffered from severe clinical depression, yet nearly half said they were too poor to buy prescription drugs (Toronto Star, September 2).