Two young men suspected of setting at least nine churches on fire in East Texas were active in the youth group of a Southern Baptist congregation before drifting away from church after the mother of one of them died three years ago.
Ever since the Great Recession began in the fall of 2008, Christians and other faith leaders have criticized the speculative excess and greed that led to the crisis. A consensus on what to do about it, however, has yet to emerge.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I, a key leader for the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians, has written a Lenten encyclical that stresses the need for greater unity for churches and counters accusations from a trio of Greek archbishops that ecumenism is heresy.
A former Presbyterian pastor and nationally known ecumenical leader has been approved for ordained ministry in Wisconsin by a presbytery which noted his declared conscientious objection to denominational standards that rule out ordaining an openly gay candidate.
A decision to include two West Bank shrines in a list of Jewish heritage sites slated for preservation has been praised by religious and right-wing Jews and scorned by Palestinians and their supporters.
A group of 13 Ohio clergy is asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the tax-exempt status of a Washington boarding house used by conservative members of Congress.
The C Street Center, a redbrick townhouse on Capitol Hill, came to public attention last summer when use of the building was tied to several Republican politicians who had admitted to extramarital affairs.
Just in case: Virginia state legislators passed a bill preventing employers or insurance companies from placing microchips in humans against their will. Mark L. Cole, sponsor of the bill, was concerned that the devices could someday be the “mark of the beast” mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Says Cole: “My understanding—I’m not a theologian—but there’s a prophecy in the Bible that says you’ll have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in end times. Some people think these computer chips might be that mark” (Examiner, February 14).
The first woman elected to lead Germany’s 24 million Protestants in the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Bishop Margot Kässmann, resigned the post days after she was apprehended for a drunk-driving offense.
She said February 24 that she will immediately give up her posts as a bishop and as head of the EKD but will continue as a pastor.
A group of “traditional Anglicans” in Australia has voted to accept the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI to convert to full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, while retaining their membership in the Anglican Church.
President Obama chided conservative religious and political leaders at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, condemning an antigay bill in Uganda and challenging them not to question his faith or his citizenship.
Evangelist Billy Graham, 91, was cited by 21 percent of Protestant pastors as among the most influential figures in their lives in a survey taken of 1,000 pastors in November by LifeWay Research. Graham was named three times more often than the runner-up in the telephone survey, author-pastor-radio personality Charles Swindoll.