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Commentary: Religious freedom matters but so do public health and voting rights

Religion / Religious News /

On Dec. 13, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court denied an application from 20 New York health care workers to be exempted on religious grounds from the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The challengers, all but one of whom were Catholic, had claimed that because the three available vaccines had all been derived from or tested on cells ...Read more

Appeals court accusers' case against Church of Scientology can proceed

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES — Four women who accused the actor Danny Masterson of rape can move forward with a harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, a California appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The suit was filed by women who said they were stalked and harassed by agents of the church after they reported to police that they had been raped by ...Read more

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Former KC priest who was the subject of dozens of child sexual abuse lawsuits has died

Religion / Religious News /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Thomas Reardon, a former Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph who over the years was named in more than two dozen child sexual abuse lawsuits, was found dead Sunday in a south Kansas City senior living facility.

Kansas City police told The Star that officers were dispatched with EMS personnel to ...Read more

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Supreme Court will hear the case of football coach who led prayers on 50-yard line

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has agreed to hear another religious rights claim from a conservative Christian, this time to decide whether a former high school football coach had a free-speech right to kneel and lead post-game prayers at the 50-yard line.

The case of Joe Kennedy, a former coach from Bremerton, Wash., has bounced back and ...Read more

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Polish diocese apologizes for asking if sex abuse victim is gay and if he enjoyed sexual encounters with priest

Religion / Religious News /

A Catholic diocese in Poland has apologized for asking the court whether a man who was sexually abused by a priest as a young boy was gay and whether he might have enjoyed the sexual encounters.

Janusz Szymik, 48, was an altar boy when the abuse began in the 1980s. Last year he sued the diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec, in southern Poland, in a civil ...Read more

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How 'The Righteous Gemstones' avoids angering the 'Jerry Falwell Juniors of the world'

Religion / Religious News /

“The Righteous Gemstones” threads a thin line: making fun of megachurches without alienating their parishioners.

The HBO series, which last week returned for its second season, lives in the world of diamond-plated crosses and church merchandise, taking a religious family of supposed true believers and twisting them into power-hungry money-...Read more

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When Detroit priest needed a miracle, GM came to the rescue with COVID-19 screeners

Religion / Religious News /

DETROIT -- About two weeks before Christmas, Father Tim McCabe realized he needed a miracle.

McCabe is the executive director of the Pope Francis Center, a day service for homeless people currently running out of Huntington Place, formerly called the TCF Center.

It was mid-December, the temperature was dropping and COVID-19 cases were rising. ...Read more

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Money, media and Mel Gibson: Coalition for Canceled Priests uses aggressive tactics in bid to reinstate sidelined clerics

Religion / Religious News /

A curious trio of billboards went up across Rockford, Illinois, in November. They showed five men in Roman collars bracketed by angry red type: “Not one more penny! Until you reinstate our priests.”

The appeal to withhold contributions from the collection plate was the latest in-your-face gesture from the Coalition for Canceled Priests, a ...Read more

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Chicago Catholic parishes facing steep hardships during pandemic, but leaders remain hopeful

Religion / Religious News /

CHICAGO — When parishioners gathered for Christmas Eve Mass at St. Clement Catholic Church last month, the Rev. Peter Wojcik was elated that for the first time since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pews at the majestic Lincoln Park church were once again filled with families.

But the robust attendance at St. Clement was fleeting, ...Read more

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Light Notes: Will you 'draw a line' when bullying is a painful reality?

Religion / Religious News /

I remember the day I stopped running.

I was 7 years old, and the family next door had a pack of boys. To me, they were something like terrorists.

One of the brothers in particular, Danny, made it his daily mission to torment me. I remember vividly the day he was chasing me with a handful of sandburs he intended to throw on my exposed back.

I ...Read more

What does 'First Noel' mean? The word 'noel' has its roots in joy and the first Christmas

Religion / Religious News /

"The First Noel" is a common Christmas carol, but do you know what noel means?

According to the United Methodist Church's Discipleship Ministries website, "The First Noel" has roots in the fifteenth century and was published first in the revised edition of Some Ancient Christmas Carols in 1823 and was first printed in Christmas Carols, Ancient ...Read more

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Hallelujah! The remarkable story behind this joyful word

Religion / Religious News /

It begins with the violins — orderly and baroque. The choir rises. The audience rises. And before you know it, the concert hall, church, rec center or school auditorium fills with the triumphant sound of one of the most beloved musical works of the season: Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus.

Over the next four minutes (and change) the choir will ...Read more

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Supreme Court leans in favor of requiring taxpayer funding for some religious schools

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices sounded ready Wednesday to rule for a Maine couple seeking state taxpayer funds to send their children to a church-sponsored school because no public ones are available in their area.

The case of Carson vs. Makin poses the latest test of the line between church and state, and it comes at a time when the ...Read more

Supreme Court poised to further open the door for taxpayer funding of religious schools

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON — After imposing a strict church-state separation for decades, the Supreme Court appears poised to allow — and in some cases even require — more government funding of church-run schools.

Legal experts say that could open the door to church-sponsored charter schools operating with public funds in many cities.

The court's shift ...Read more

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More than 1,000 horseback riders journey to shrine for start of pilgrimage

Religion / Religious News /

Central Road in Des Plaines, Illinois, normally whizzing with fast cars, was empty just after noon Saturday, save for the police cars blocking entry. There was only the sound of honking geese.

Then, soft clomps came from the east, steadily growing in volume and soon accentuated with neighing. Over the horizon, a cadre of horseback riders ...Read more

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Can former Scientologists take the church to court? Or are religious tribunals the only recourse?

Religion / Religious News /

After Chrissie Bixler told the LAPD that Scientologist and actor Danny Masterson had raped her, strangers showed up at her home, filmed her family and peeked in her windows. Two of her dogs mysteriously died, one by eating meat laced with rat poison. Her security system was hacked. Someone posted ads in her name on Craigslist soliciting men for ...Read more

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Light Notes: Let our legacy of beauty, goodness and truth be self-evident

Religion / Religious News /

“Lorna” was 102 years old when she died. A member of her church congregation from childhood, over the decades she had become one of their matriarchs in faith and ministry.

Lorna’s legacy of gentleness, kindness and grit was well known across several generations of family and church friends. She was quite short, but her stature was upright...Read more

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Commentary: No, Michael Flynn, America doesn't need one religion

Religion / Religious News /

There was a time, not so long ago, when Michael Flynn’s latest pronouncement would have been considered outrageous, but I’m afraid we’ve reached the point of outrage fatigue.

“If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion,” Flynn declared at a right-wing rally this month at Cornerstone ...Read more

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Light Notes: Ouch! Life can hand us a pair of 'cruel shoes'

Religion / Religious News /

Not too long ago I visited a friend’s new home, and I got lost ... in her clothes closet.

A place equivalent to the size of an airplane hangar — and filled from top to bottom with enough shoes to make Imelda Marcos gasp, even at 92 years of age.

Of course, the array of pointy-toe, rounded-toe and open-toe designs weren’t all women’s ...Read more

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Church honors 30,000 sailors lost in Great Lakes, 46 years after Fitzgerald

Religion / Religious News /

DETROIT -- The tolling of 10 bells echoed through Mariners' Church of Detroit on Sunday, to memorialize 30,000 men and women lost in shipwrecks across the Great Lakes.

The annual service was held 46 years after the Great Lakes saw its latest shipwreck. On Nov. 10, 1975, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, nicknamed the "Fitz," was headed to Detroit when ...Read more