Liberation theology is a movement that recalls the kind of ideological clashes that were considered obsolete when the Cold War ended. But the election of Pope Francis, a vocal advocate for the poor as a priest and bishop in Argentina, and now as pope, has renewed debates about this controversial strain of theology.
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Superman turns 75 this year, and in the latest cinematic retelling of his story, “Man of Steel,” Clark Kent is looking as youthful as ever. In fact, the coming Superman movie is one of a number of new superhero and sci-fi epics that demonstrate again our appetite for action flicks – and religious themes.
The bombings at the Boston Marathon and the subsequent identification of two ethnic Chechen immigrant brothers as the suspected perpetrators once again raised questions about the relationship between religion and violence. The older of the two men in particular seemed to be inspired in part by radicalized elements of Islam.
The suicide of evangelist Rick Warren’s son this month shocked the pastor’s followers and the public, but it also revealed a growing awareness within Christianity about the importance of dealing with mental illness. This edition of ReligionLink provides resources on covering issues related to faith and psychiatry.
The U.S. Supreme Court takes up two cases this week on the fiercely debated moral question of same-sex marriage, and religious voices on both sides of the issue are weighing in on what could become pivotal decisions in the court’s — and the nation’s — history.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is now Pope Francis, the 265th successor to St. Peter, after his election in the Sistine Chapel by the 115 electors of the College of Cardinals. This edition of ReligionLink provides resources and regular news updates for reporters covering this historic event.
Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world, and many within the Roman Catholic Church, by announcing Monday, Feb. 11, that he would resign at the end of the month. His decision marks the first time in nearly six centuries that a pontiff has stepped down.
America’s Founding Fathers serve as patriarchs of the nation’s civil religion, but also as flashpoints in debates about faith in U.S. society. The President’s Day holiday spotlights this enduring focus on religion and the nation’s leaders – then and now – a theme running through recent books and movies, and in ongoing arguments about church and state.
For the first time in recent history, immigration reform is a priority for the White House and Congress, thanks to politics and demographics – the growing Latino vote fueled Democratic electoral successes in 2012. But faith groups say the issue is more than cold calculus, and they are adding their voices to the debate.
The 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion falls on Jan. 22, and the March for Life, the annual anti-abortion rally in Washington, is on Jan. 25. Debate over this issue is as intense as ever yet it’s unclear that either opponents or supporters of abortion rights are winning.
The shooting massacre at a Connecticut grade school has shocked the nation and prompted a flood of reflections on the role of faith in providing consolation and understanding. But there is also an intense debate over how, or whether, religious groups should weigh in on the public policy debate about gun violence.
Predictions about the world’s demise are not new but rumors of apocalypse have spiked as Dec. 21 approaches, a date when many say an ancient Mayan calendar will wind down – and signal the end of the world as we know it. Experts debunk this idea but the story illustrates our fascination with The End.
The Rev. Billy Graham turns 94 on Nov. 7, but still manages to meet with major public figures and releases periodic reflections on his life and faith. Indeed, though Graham is infirm and in virtual seclusion in his home in North Carolina, his stature and legacy seem to grow as he ages.
Paul Kurtz, a leading humanist who founded several secularist organizations, is being mourned by nontheists across the spectrum. Kurtz, who was 86 when he died on Oct. 20, helped establish the infrastructure of what has become a burgeoning freethought movement. His followers say that movement will thrive in his wake.
Too much work and too little pay, too much stress and too little pray. Many religious leaders today find themselves overwhelmed by their jobs, and can succumb to the very ills that they try to help their congregants overcome. Along with growing evidence of the toll from clergy burnout are efforts to combat it.
Seminaries are welcoming students back to school this fall, but both the students and these institutions are facing pressures that are transforming the way clergy are trained. Schools are struggling financially, enrollment is declining, and many seminarians face increasing debts. Other factors, however, could make a seminary education more accessible.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church and supporter of conservative causes who founded The Washington Times newspaper, died early Monday (Sept. 3) in South Korea. He was 92.
The Republican and Democratic presidential tickets are set, with Mitt Romney, a Mormon, heading the GOP slate and Paul Ryan, a Catholic, as his vice presidential pick. That’s the first time the Republican ticket includes no Protestants. They will face President Barack Obama, a Protestant who worships in different churches, and Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic.
The shooting massacres in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday and just two weeks earlier in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., have reopened the long-standing national debate over gun control. The attacks also generated a dispute within faith communities about the proper religious response to gun violence.
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life on Thursday, July 19, published an extensive new survey titled “Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths.” The research provides a unique and comprehensive overview of the religious composition of the Asian-American community.
Buddha, from the Sanskrit language, means “awakened,” and in the United States today, Buddhism has come wide awake. Immigration from Asia and a growing indigenous following has made Buddhism is a major religious presence in the U.S. with more than 1.5 million practitioners. That growth is bringing awareness, influence and some contentious issues.
Hinduism is the third-largest organized religion in the world and the Hindu population in the United States is estimated to have tripled in just over 15 years, to around 1 million. As Hindus’ numbers grow and as new generations are born here, journalists can find rich stories to tell about Hindus engaging in U.S. society.
America has long been home to all manner of skeptics and secularists, who have found protection — but not necessarily popular acceptance — under the Constitution’s guarantees against the establishment of religion and religious tests for office. Nowadays, though, nontheism is going mainstream.
News that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing is fodder for glossy celebrity magazines, but there is an important religion angle to the story because Cruise’s involvement in Scientology is central to the marriage and the media coverage. ReligionLink has an extensive source guide for writing about Scientology.
A major Supreme Court ruling and a decision by President Barack Obama are scrambling the political and religious calculus of the immigration debate. On June 15, the president said he would stop deporting some immigrants who came to the country as children, and the high court’s ruling on a tough Arizona law is due.
Congress has begun debating a massive farm bill that affects struggling families as well as those who make their living from agriculture: Food stamps and other federal nutrition programs account for about 80 percent of the $100 billion in annual spending under the legislation. ReligionLink explores the role faith groups are playing in shaping the debate.
Even as attention focuses on political battles over gay rights and on the growing acceptance of homosexuality in society, religious communities also continue to struggle with the role of gays and lesbians in their ranks. Can homosexuals be ordained? Can gay relationships be blessed?
On May 8, voters in North Carolina will decide whether to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage and civil unions. The referendum is the latest is a series of state-level initiatives on a fiercely debated moral issue – same-sex marriage – that is gaining support among the public. The opinion shift hasn’t eased the controversy.
New York City is often cast as a modern-day Babylon, but Tim Tebow’s trade to the Jets makes him another marquee Christian in the Big Apple’s sports circus, along with Knicks guard Jeremy Lin. The media buzz has revealed a deep evangelical presence in the city but raises questions about sports and faith.
Easter is an annual rite of spring, and so it seems are new claims and books and television programs about the Jesus of history. This year is no exception, as a number of developments related to the Bible and archaeology are coinciding with the Christian remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus.