Top Ten Religion News Stories of 2012

Catholic bishops testify against Obamacare

According to the Religion Newswriters Association, the top religion news story of the year was the way that religious leaders responded to the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. But they’d already voted on their Top 10 prior to that. So, here are the Top 10 Religion Stories of the Year, from the RNA:

1. U.S. Catholic bishops lead opposition to Obamacare requirement that insurance coverage for contraception be provided for employees. The government backs down a bit, but not enough to satisfy the opposition.

2. A Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey shows that “nones” is the fastest-growing religious group in the United States, rising to 19.6 percent of the population.

3. The circulation of an anti-Islam film trailer, “Innocence of Muslims,” causes unrest in several countries, leading to claims that it inspired the fatal attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya. President Obama, at the U.N., calls for toleration tolerance of blasphemy, and respect as a two-way street.

4. Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith turns out to be a virtual non-issue for white evangelical voters, who support him more strongly than they did John McCain, in the U.S. presidential race.

5. Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia becomes the first senior Catholic official in the U.S. to be found guilty of covering up priestly child abuse; later Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Mo., becomes the first bishop to be found guilty of it

[Read more…]

Think Same Sex Marriage Isn’t Inevitable?

Then you’ve got your head in the sand.  Check out the numbers released by the Pew Research Center last week:

They write:

The gradual shift in public opinion on same-sex marriage largely reflects the changing views of successive generations. Over the last 15 years, each generation has been more supportive of gay marriage than its predecessor. As the younger generations make up a larger share of the public, the balance of opinion has shifted.

But the bump in support for gay marriage has been more pronounced in recent years because of significant attitude changes within generational groups. As recently as 2009, just 23% of Silents supported gay marriage; now 33% share this view. Notable increases in the past two years have also been seen among Boomers (from 32% to 42%), Gen Xers (from 41% to 50%) and Millennials (from 51% to 59%).

The Pew Numbers also show liberalizing trends in other social issues, from the legalization of marijuana to gun rights, but none is as pronounced as same sex marriage.

The question, I suppose, is how conservative the Millennials will become as they age.  Surely the Boomers were pretty liberal when they were in college, and they’ve moved right as a group — though not as far as their parents and grandparents.

HT: Bethany Stolle

Five Religious Predictions for 2011

I’ll be on Doug Pagitt Radio tomorrow (Sunday, December 19), going over my predictions for the year in religion from last year, recapping the big stories, and making my predictions for next year.

You can read my Five Predictions for 2010,

  1. Political correctness toward Islam will decrease
  2. The pope will not say or do anything particularly controversial
  3. Universalism will become a hot topic among evangelicals
  4. Rick Warren’s influence will wane and new evangelical leaders will emerge
  5. A handful of evangelical leaders will come out in support of GLBT marriage/ordination

And here are the top ten religion stories for 2010, according to the Religion News Service:

  1. NYC mosque
  2. Religious response to the Haiti earthquake
  3. Catholic clergy sex abuse and cover-up
  4. Rise of the Tea Party
  5. Obama health care bill
  6. Denominational debates on GLBT issues
  7. Bankruptcy of the Crystal Cathedral
  8. Gay teen suicides
  9. Pew Forum survey showing atheists know more about Christianity than Christians
  10. No Protestant on the Supreme Court

So, how did I do?

What you you think is in store for 2011 in religious news? Help me make my list, and be sure to listen in tomorrow!