What would Pope Francis pick as top 2013 news story?

Popes come and popes go, with a new pope elected every few years or decades.Thus, when viewed through the lens of history, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was a stunning event in the history of Roman Catholicism and, thus, all of Western Christianity. He was the first man to resign St. Peter's throne in 600 years. Surely this was the most important religion-news story of 2013?But when seen through the lens of the mainstream press, the bookish Benedict's exit was a mere ripple in the … [Read more...]

Hellish flashbacks on the Christian persecution front

Churches were burning in Pakistan, while African Christians died and radical forms of Islam threatened monasteries, sanctuaries and villages in Egypt, Syria and Iraq.That was 1997. Human-rights scholar Paul Marshall kept hearing one question over and over when he addressed this rising tide of persecution: Why didn't more American Christians protest as their sisters and brothers in the faith were jailed, raped, tortured and killed?Some Christians, he said, were distracted by apocalyptic … [Read more...]

Old religious realities in a not-so-new Egypt

At the moment, Egypt is operating under a Constitutional Declaration issued soon after the recent military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.This temporary declaration replaced a constitution signed by Morsi in 2012, after Islamist parties pushed it through a referendum process that turned off many voters. That new constitution replaced an ad hoc, provisional document used after the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. His regime had operated for … [Read more...]

Hillary Clinton defends religious liberty — abroad

The U.S. State Department wasn't surprised last October when Egyptian security forces smashed into flocks of demonstrators outside the state Radio and Television Building, killing 25 and injuring hundreds.After all, the rally was called to protest the government's failure to stop the burning of Coptic Orthodox churches or to arrest and convict leaders of the mobs. Sure enough, waves of thugs attacked the Copts, starting riots that drew deadly police vehicles.Once again, it didn't shock State … [Read more...]

Define fundamentalist, please

Few hot-button, "fighting words" are tossed around with wilder abandon in journalism today than the historical term "fundamentalist."The powers that be at the Associated Press know this label is loaded and, thus, for several decades the wire service's style manual has offered this guidance for reporters, editors and broadcast producers around the world."fundamentalist: The word gained usage in an early 20th century fundamentalist-modernist controversy within Protestantism. ... However, … [Read more...]


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