Health & Spirit

Light Notes: Timely monetary gift creates stunned thankfulness

Religion / Religious News /

The question loomed large, larger than the news that her job was about to end.

Would she be "all in" with her promise to faithfully tithe from her very last paycheck? Or would pending rent and an already overstretched budget be reason enough not to give this one time?

It was a question the "40-something" mother of two pondered.

Officially ...Read more

Churches, nonprofits could profit politically under House tax bill

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- Not only would houses of worship be able to more actively promote political candidates, but so would nonprofit groups under a section inserted into the House tax bill an hour before it was due for a key vote.

The last-minute change affecting the so-called Johnson amendment was tucked into a "manager's amendment" to the GOP tax ...Read more

Light Notes: Random acts of kindness spread around the world

Religion / Religious News /

Without a doubt, it was contagious. In less than 30 days, the phenomenon had affected countless numbers, traveled from coast to coast -- even internationally -- and spread smiles ear to ear.

The random acts of kindness had multiplied at an astonishing rate, all because of a birthday invitation from Kristi Black to her Facebook friends one year....Read more

Poll: Most US adults say you don't have to be religious to be moral

Religion / Religious News /

It's an age-old topic debate: Must you believe in God in order to hold strong moral values?

Most Americans now say no, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. Fifty-six percent of adults surveyed say you can be a good person without divine faith, up from 49 percent in 2011.

Not surprisingly, 85 percent of adults who were not ...Read more

GOP plan to ease law on political speech from the pulpit gets lukewarm reception

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- Faith-based leaders and political conservatives are annoyed that a provision in the House Republican tax bill that seeks to roll back a law preventing houses of worship from endorsing political candidates doesn't go far enough.

The provision, tucked into the back of the 429-page GOP bill, appears to allow political speech from the...Read more

GOP tax bill would allow politics from the pulpit

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- The House Republican tax plan would upend a longstanding measure, known as the Johnson Amendment, that prohibits politicking from the pulpit, and critics say it could turn churches into new conduits for political money.

Under current law, churches, charities and other 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations are prohibited from ...Read more

Light Notes: Wartime love letters offer vital link

Religion / Religious News /

In the early 1940s when a teenage boy deftly flung the newspaper to front porches in Twin Falls, Idaho, little did he know that in a few short years he would be part of the news. Nor did he know how words on a page would be a lifeline.

"Pearl Harbor happened smack in the middle of my senior year," Bob Bush of Richland, Wash., recalled in 2013 ...Read more

They are deaf, but this church's members still hear the word of God

Religion / Religious News /

FRESNO, Calif. -- As music plays at the Fresno Deaf Church on a recent Sunday, most people sitting in the pews sign along. The only audible voice in the room is the one on the recording, singing a soulful, "I Can Only Imagine," but sound isn't needed to make the devotion of the worship evident.

They are expressing themselves in their own ...Read more

Two women ask a simple question: 'Need prayer?' Now prayer tents are springing up

Religion / Religious News /

FRESNO, Calif. -- Farm worker Ivan Mendoza is riding his bicycle down a busy central Fresno street carrying a bag of recyclables so he can "buy some milk or something" when he comes upon a sign, "Need prayer?" hanging off the side of a pop-up tent.

Pulling his bike over Friday morning, he's greeted by Virginia La Salle and Linda Crowder under a...Read more

Spiritual Life: An honest prayer comes from the heart

Religion / Religious News /

"Please pray for me." "We are praying for you." "Let me pray about that." "You are in our prayers."

These and others like them are common statements -- full of grace, mercy and compassion -- that are frequently shared among us. They transcend spiritual and religious orientation, cultural context and social setting. Such phrases are shared face ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Walk with Jesus on life's treacherous path

Religion / Religious News /

Perched on a basalt bluff, I peered down at the Kootenai River, hundreds of feet below.

Eli Sackett (my dog) and I had picked our way down the bluff and crossed the Burlington Northern tracks. Running ahead, Eli quickly finds the dim game trail, just to the right of the old apple tree. The tree, possibly a survivor of a forgotten homestead, ...Read more

Senators debate when nominee's religion is fair game

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- A Senate Judiciary Committee vote on a controversial appeals court pick Thursday prompted a discussion about when it is appropriate to ask questions about a nominee's religion -- and even a suggestion to hold a public hearing on the issue.

The topic arose because of questions Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and ...Read more

To see 'forgotten people' and stop injustice, Catholic leaders take Mass on the road

Religion / Religious News /

VISALIA, Calif. -- Bishop Armando Ochoa begins the Mass outside a building that resembles a large red barn. He carries a hooked staff covered in animal fur and wears moccasins and a leather sash -- a tribute to the nearby Tule River Tribe.

The recent service among old oak trees in Visalia's Mooney Grove Park was one of nine stops on a yearlong ...Read more

Justice Department issues policy memo declaring religious freedom is 'paramount' in US

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- A sweeping new statement by the Justice Department calls religious freedom a "fundamental right of paramount importance," placing the Trump administration squarely on the side of religious conservatives in America's culture wars.

The statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with a long legal analysis by the department's ...Read more

Light Notes: Columnist's breast cancer journey not fearless

Religion / Religious News /

Fear. It had wrapped itself around me strangling thoughts of hope. And while I gasped at the thought -- me, how could it happen to me? -- the world breathed its routine.

"You have breast cancer," the doctor had told me quietly as my heart-rate rocketed; my breath paused at the frightening news. The grave words had knocked courage flat while ...Read more

Light Notes: Actor Kirk Cameron on nationwide mission to help marriages

Religion / Religious News /

Kirk Cameron is a man on a mission, a guy filled with purpose. Interestingly, this go-getter actor is named after another high achiever; a television series character determined to lead -- Captain Kirk of Star Trek.

"That's the story I've been told," Kirk said as he joked about his TV namesake. "And as the family legend goes, my sister would ...Read more

Las Vegas shooting brings more human suffering, but some find hope mixed with the grief

Religion / Religious News /

As investigators try to figure out why a 64-year-old man opened fire onto an outdoor concert crowd in Las Vegas Sunday night, killing at least 58 people and wounding hundreds more, some people of faith pondered a more eternal question: Why do terrible things to happen to innocent people?

"The suffering of very good people is a theme that just ...Read more

Evangelicals say Trump should call alt-right by its real name: Evil

Religion / Religious News /

President Donald Trump needs to provide moral leadership and denounce the "demonic racist force" that is the alt-right before it further fractures the country, a group of evangelical leaders says.

Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, along with other conservative leaders from North Carolina and ...Read more

Austin church: We won't hold weddings until we can marry same-sex couples

Religion / Religious News /

AUSTIN, Texas -- An Austin church is making much ado about "I do" as a statement in support of marriage equality.

First United Methodist Church says it will no longer hold weddings in its sanctuary or chapel until denominational leadership lifts its ban on marrying same-sex couples, according to a statement from the church. The downtown Austin ...Read more

Light Notes: 2011 flood victim cherishes keepsake after loss

Religion / Religious News /

The floodwaters had been deep, spilling river water relentlessly over miles of gentle banks. In its wake lay devastation ... and broken hearts.

"They said we'd have 24 hours to evacuate, but it was only four," Tricia Pryor said as she remembered how the Souris River in Minot, N.D., had overtopped its levees back in 2011. "We tried to bring ...Read more