Health & Spirit

Religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations could end in New Jersey

Religion / Religious News /

Controversial legislation that could do away with New Jersey's religious exemption for vaccinating children is scheduled for a state Senate vote Monday.

In a hearing that drew hundreds of parents opposed to the bill as well as public health advocates who support it, the New Jersey Senate's Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee ...Read more

California attorney general to issue subpoenas to 6 Catholic dioceses in priest abuse inquiry

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES -- California prosecutors plan to issue subpoenas to half of the state's Catholic dioceses as part of a growing investigation into the church's handling of sex abuse cases, according to several dioceses and the California Catholic Conference.

The move marks another escalation of the California attorney general's investigation of the...Read more

Spiritual Life: Your name? There may be more to it than you imagined

Religion / Religious News /

How did you get your name? Most of us know the answer. Most are proud of their given name and of the story behind it.

For reasons beyond the scope of this article, in many cultures one marriage partner may adopt the surname of the other. In other situations, one may move the family name to a middle name, or may hyphenate both last names, or ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Who are you? Find your identity in whose you are

Religion / Religious News /

I ran into Ted, a longtime campus minister I served with in the 1980s. I asked him what has changed with students over the past 30 years.

He responded immediately with matter-of-fact lament, "Oh, they don't know who they are!" He walked among those facing an identity crisis.

Who am I?

Nowadays, that shows up as a popular, and quite personal, ...Read more

Department of Justice supporting Christian academy's lawsuit over Maryland voucher program

Religion / Religious News /

BALTIMORE -- The U.S. Department of Justice intervened to support a Howard County Christian academy in a lawsuit that pits religious freedom against Maryland's right to prohibit discrimination in a tax-funded school voucher program.

In the motion filed in federal court Tuesday, the Justice Department said the state is discriminating against ...Read more

Light Notes: I discovered the secret to gratitude when a Facebook post shocked me

Religion / Religious News /

Do you ever find yourself challenged to see the blessings in life?

Sometimes, what I call "First World" problems can send a great day south. It can happen when our internet connection is less than a nanosecond or the barista steams our latte lukewarm, all trivial to be sure.

But it's easy to let those minor irritations start to fill our glass ...Read more

More sexual misconduct claims found 'credible' against former Charlotte Diocese official

Religion / Religious News /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four more claims of sexual misconduct against a former top official of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte have been found "credible," Bishop Peter Jugis said Tuesday night.

Monsignor Mauricio West stepped down as vicar general and chancellor of the diocese -- second in command -- in March after an initial claim of sexual...Read more

Christians turn to artificial intelligence to stop porn use

Religion / Religious News /

Evangelical groups are turning to artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to help their members fight addiction to online pornography in a budding industry that one scholar calls an emerging "purity-industrial complex."

As pornography has exploded beyond just websites to apps and social media platforms such as Instagram, ...Read more

Seattle faith groups reckon with AI … and what it means to be 'truly human'

Religion / Religious News /

On a recent Sunday at the Queen Anne Lutheran Church basement, parishioners sat transfixed as the Rev. Dr. Ted Peters discussed an unusual topic for an afternoon assembly: "Can technology enhance the image of God?"

Peters' discussion focused on a relatively new philosophical movement. Its followers believe humans will transcend their physical ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Seek God for relationship, not control

Religion / Religious News /

"Herding cats" describes the futility of trying to control little house cats. Anyone who's ever lived with one understands the situation.

What about controlling big cats? A true story, that I've shared previously, comes from a young Irish priest working in Africa. He knew people who rehabilitate captive lions and release them into the wild. One...Read more

Spiritual Life: An old barn prepared his heart for a major life event

Religion / Religious News /

The Bible has literally shaped my life, and I have loved it from my earliest days as a Christ follower. To this day I read its pages, ponder its insights, dig into its depths, and wrestle with applying its truths through the ups and downs of life. The teaching never stops.

But God uses other teachers, too.

In my love of the outdoors and ...Read more

Australian High Court to hear Cardinal Pell's appeal application

Religion / Religious News /

CANBERRA, Australia -- The Australian High Court has agreed to hear an appeal bid by Cardinal George Pell, a convicted pedophile who is serving a six-year jail sentence for child sex abuse.

Pell's lawyers had filed a 12-page application for leave to appeal in September to the highest court in the Australian judicial system in an effort to ...Read more

LA archbishop, an immigrant from Mexico, becomes first Latino to lead US bishops

Religion / Religious News /

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, the highest-ranking Latino in the U.S. Catholic Church, was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday, marking the first time that a Latino bishop has held the position.

Gomez's election, which kicked off the second day of the bishops' fall meeting in Baltimore, was regarded by ...Read more

Crisis of spirit: An Army chaplain's journey with PTSD

Religion / Religious News /

SAN DIEGO -- With a name like Robert Blessing, he seemed destined to become a preacher.

But the decision to join the U.S. Army as a chaplain? That was all his doing.

And his undoing.

Like thousands of others, the 61-year-old San Diegan struggles with memories of what he saw while he was away at war, struggles with what was lost.

Eighteen men...Read more

Exorcisms make a 21st century comeback

Religion / Religious News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- They arrive with a crucifix, a book of prayers, holy water and a conviction that the Holy Spirit is at their side.

Infrequently summoned for decades, Catholic exorcists say they are now being beckoned across Minnesota and the nation, as pleas from the faithful to "cast out the devil" are on the rise.

"Sometimes they hear voices ...Read more

Light Notes: He found a baby on the road, then decades later the veteran was shocked again

Religion / Religious News /

The tree-lined hills and valleys beckoned the young Army private as his '35 black Chevy hugged the narrow road, a hairpin curve almost upon him. Basic US Army training was behind and the war just ahead, his 3-day leave wedged in between for saying good-byes.

But before the fading autumn sun could dim the burnished foliage, this 18-year old ...Read more

Married priests in the Amazon? Women deacons in the US? Yes, says San Diego's bishop

Religion / Religious News /

SAN DIEGO -- The summit was in Rome, the focus was on the Amazon.

But for Bishop Robert McElroy, leader of San Diego's diocese and one of only three Americans among the 185 delegates to the Vatican's Pan-Amazon Synod, the issues hit close to home.

McElroy returned to San Diego to find traditionalists in an uproar. Along with most of the ...Read more

North Carolina teacher accused of dividing students based on their religious beliefs is suspended

Religion / Religious News /

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A Spanish teacher is accused of separating students "based on their religious beliefs," prompting a North Carolina school district to investigate.

Johnston County Public Schools says the teacher is suspended with pay while it examines "whether or not she asked students about their beliefs in God," according to ABC11, The News &...Read more

Teacher accused of dividing NC students based on their religious beliefs is suspended

Religion / Religious News /

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A Spanish teacher is accused of separating students "based on their religious beliefs," prompting a North Carolina school district to investigate.

Johnston County Public Schools says the teacher is suspended with pay while it examines "whether or not she asked students about their beliefs in God," according to ABC11, The News &...Read more

Spiritual Life: Let's reflect on our modest and dependent place in the grand scheme

Religion / Religious News /

Living along the Columbia River can be an exercise in feeling small and contemporary.

I am referring to the profound awe sensed when walking, driving or boating among the massive cliffs of deep coulees that wend their way from mountains to ocean. These great vertical-walled gorges extend mile after mile, inexorably gouged out by the Mighty ...Read more