Top ten religion stories: In 2001

1. Extremist hijackers wreak death and destruction, launching a U.S.-led “war on terrorism” deeply religious in roots and responses with opposing definitions of “evil” and “good.”

2. Heightened attention to Islam, especially improved relations with U.S. Muslims, with President Bush and mainstream churches at the fore.

3. White House efforts to win approval for faith-based initiative thwarted by church-state objections.

4. Bush OKs limited federally supported stem-cell embryo research, but concerns resurface on private human cloning attempts.

5. Israeli-Palestinian violence worsens with suicide bombings before and after September 11.

6. Turmoil in Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) over homosexuality issues, including June vote to recommend gay ordinations.

7. Death penalty debates revived by Timothy McVeigh execution and cases of DNA evidence freeing prisoners.

8. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America deals with unsanctioned ordination of lesbian pastor; elects new presiding bishop.

9. Intrepid Pope John Paul II tries to mend Eastern Orthodox bridges with visits to Greece, Ukraine and Armenia; first visit to a mosque.

10. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson admits to fathering child out of wedlock.