Posted by Daniel Dillard

NEWS: Big Week for Religion in Germany

Some significant stories pertaining to religion came out of Germany this week. On Friday, July 16, Bishop Maria Jepsen, the first woman worldwide ever elected – in 1992 – as a Lutheran bishop, resigned from her post in northern Germany after being accused of mishandling abuse complaints. According to the New York Times, hundreds of … Continue reading

NEWS: Christian Science Update

In response to the recent New York Times article on Christian Science (see my April 2 post, “Christian Science Church Makes Rooms for Modern Medical Care,” below), Mary M. Trammell, chairwoman of the Christian Science board of directors, issued a response in the form of a letter to the editor. In it, she highlights what … Continue reading

NEWS: Tax-Exempt Status for The Family?

The Family, an elite Christian network with strong political ties, is back in the news. Jeff Sharlet’s 2008 bestseller, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, introduced many to this organization, also known as the Fellowship, which is perhaps most recognized for sponsoring the National Prayer Breakfast each February in Washington, … Continue reading

NEWS: $4.4 Million Grant to Study Free Will

The John Templeton Foundation recently awarded Alfred Mele, the William H. and Lucyle Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University (FSU), a $4.4 million grant to “oversee a four-year project to improve understanding of free will in philosophy, religion and science.” Funding for the project, “Free Will: Human and Divine — Empirical and Philosophical … Continue reading

NEWS: Religion and the Haiti Earthquake

Haitian and non-Haitian observers alike have been attributing religious explanations to the devastating earthquake that occurred earlier this week. On the one side are those Haitians praying and singing songs with lines such as “Forgive me, Jesus” and “O Lord, keep me close to you.” Pooja Bhatia, a fellow at the Institute of Current World … Continue reading

NEWS: Religious Terrorists Most Often Elite

According to a recent article by Richard Bernstein, though many suicide bombers worldwide are poor and disenfranchised, most of the religious extremists who have engaged in acts of violent terrorism against the U.S. in the last decade have been intellectuals from elite backgrounds. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian Muslim accused of attempting to bomb a … Continue reading

NEWS: Oral Roberts (1918-2009)

Oral Roberts, the charismatic Pentecostal, controversial faith healer, and groundbreaking televangelist, died Tuesday (Dec. 15) from pneumonia complications at the age of 91. Roberts, who began his ministry in the 1940s and first broadcast his revivals in 1955, is perhaps best known for his notorious on-air plea in 1987. In a tearful performance, Roberts told … Continue reading

NEWS: H1N1 and the Hajj, Part Two

Last summer, Arab health ministers and the World Health Organization decided to ban certain groups of people from making the hajj pilgrimage this year because of fears the H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as “swine flu,” would spread more quickly. (For the earlier Religion Compass Exchanges post, “H1N1 and the Hajj,” click here.) But Saudi … Continue reading

NEWS: Elizabeth Prophet, 1939-2009

Elizabeth Prophet, former New Age leader of the Summit Lighthouse and the Church Universal and Triumphant, died earlier this week at the age of 70 from Alzheimer’s. Born Elizabeth Clare Wulf in 1939, Prophet was raised a Christian Scientist and in 1963 married Mark Prophet who had founded the Summit Lighthouse, a group that blended … Continue reading

NEWS: Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God

Karen Armstrong has a new book out, The Case for God. The former Roman Catholic nun turned “Jesus Seminar” fellow and prolific historian has in 27 years published almost as many books. Perhaps the most famous is her 1993 work, A History of God. Armstrong is also renowned for her interfaith initiatives, advising responsibilities for … Continue reading

NEWS: Pullman’s Next Book to Tackle Jesus

Phillip Pullman is in the news once again for a controversial novel about religion. Pullman first broke onto the scene with his wildly popular trilogy, “His Dark Materials,” a series of novels for young adults about a group of free-thinkers waging war on God in an attempt to found the Kingdom of Heaven here on … Continue reading