Multifaith

Faith leaders urge Congress to honor election result

January 4, 2021

More than 2,000 faith leaders and religious activists are calling on members of Congress to honor the result of November’s election and avoid “a delayed and drawn out objection” this week when President-elect Joe Biden’s win is set to be certified.

Signatories to the statement released Monday include many prominent religious liberals, such as Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-convener of the National African American Clergy Network, and the Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of Washington’s Episcopal diocese.

Also signing on are a handful of evangelicals who have criticized...

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Religious leaders worldwide across faiths died in 2020

January 1, 2021

The Catholic priest who for decades had been one of the Vatican's top experts on the Latin language died on Christmas Day at a nursing home in Milwaukee. A United Methodist Church bishop in the West African nation of Sierra Leone died in a traffic accident in August as he was engaged in efforts to resolve the denomination's conflicts over inclusion of LGBTQ people. Back in March, a 49-year-old priest in Brooklyn became the first Catholic cleric in the United States killed by the coronavirus. They were among many religious leaders — some admired worldwide, others beloved only locally —...

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Pelosi Names 1st Female Chaplain To Serve Congress

December 31, 2020

Speaker Nancy Pelosi marked another milestone for women in Congress Thursday by appointing retired Navy Rear Adm. Margaret Grun Kibben as chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives. Kibben is the first female congressional chaplain since Congress' founding in 1789.

"Kibben brings decades of decorated experience in the military and the ministry, as a retired Rear Admiral who served as the U.S. Navy's Chief Chaplain and the chaplain of the Marine Corps," Pelosi said in a statement. "Her integrity, experience and patriotism will serve the Congress and the Country well, as she...

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Critical religious liberty disputes expected for 2021

December 28, 2020

History may show that religious liberties under the Donald Trump administration enjoyed an elevated level of support not seen perhaps since the administration of President George W. Bush.

How far and how quickly the religious liberties landscape will change in the coming four years under an expected Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration remains to be seen. But religious liberty watchers say they are worried.

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The Qur’an on Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the Nativity

December 23, 2020

A mention of the infant Jesus’s birth would likely not, for most Muslims, conjure up manger scenes, a shining star, or visits from shepherds. Instead, a more likely image would be of Mary alone and in labor at the foot of a palm. Rather than a swaddled infant resting in the hay among manger animals, the Qur’an describes mother and child resting next to a spring. No shepherds gather to rejoice at Jesus’s birth in Qur’anic accounts. Instead, Mary is heckled for having a child out of wedlock.

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After turbulent 2020, faith in America faces more big issues

December 18, 2020

For many religious denominations in the United States, there were two shared preoccupations in 2020 beyond the usual matters of faith: How to cope with the coronavirus pandemic and how to respond to tumultuous political events.

With Joe Biden replacing Donald Trump as president, and with vaccines eventually expected to ease the threat of COVID-19, the challenges for faith leaders in 2021 will shift.

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FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS: Local resident finds outpouring of support for new holiday installation

December 4, 2020

Sometimes, seeing the world thorugh the eyes of a child brings about the most profound insights. This is what happened to local resident Allison Bloodworth last December when her son, then age 6, started asking some important questions.

"He asked me while we were driving around town, 'Why aren't there any Hanukkah lights?'" said Bloodworth.

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Wisconsin faith leaders say that "loving your neighbor" means complying with COVID-19 safeguards

November 30, 2020

Some religious leaders have called measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus — including limits on crowd gatherings and mask requirements — an assault on their religious liberty. The Rev. Sonja Ingebritsen, a Madison pastor, strongly disagrees.

“When Jesus is asked which of the commandments is most important, he answers, to love God with one’s whole being and to love one’s neighbor as oneself,” says Ingebritsen, pastor at the Community of Hope United Church of Christ in Madison. “Despite some of the rhetoric, religious liberty is not threatened by health mandates to limit...

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Making the Most of Religious Holidays Amidst a Pandemic

November 13, 2020

2020 has taken away countless events that many people were looking forward to, including many important religious holidays. For Muslims, many were unable to celebrate the end of Ramadan with Eid-al-Fitr in May, Eid-al-Adha in July and many other religious events. For Hindus, the nine-night celebration of Navaratri was unable to be celebrated in person and one of the most sacred holidays, Diwali, will ultimately not be the same as previous years. A commonality amongst all of these celebrations is that they are normally spent with large groups, typically family, friends and loved ones....

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Anxiety, loneliness and spiritual isolation characterize life in prison during pandemic

November 11, 2020

NEW YORK (RNS) — The men incarcerated in a New Jersey state prison have a favorite prayer to chant along with the volunteer rabbi who, before coronavirus lockdowns, visited every Friday evening for shabbat: Shalom alechiem.

“It resounds throughout the room when they sing it out, the idea that angels are with them,” the rabbi, who did not want to use her name or the name of the prison in case it led to her visiting privileges being revoked, told Religion News Service over the phone.

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