Pope writes letter to atheist newspaper founder

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Once again breaking with traditional Vatican protocol, Pope Francis on Wednesday (Sept. 11) penned a long letter to the Italian liberal daily La Repubblica to affirm that dialogue between Christians and atheists is “necessary and precious.” Francis’ letter is published on the newspaper’s front page. It is a response to two open letters […]

Mormon church grows in Southeastern North Carolina

In 1995, the Wilmington stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had roughly 1,600 members. By 2012, that number had grown to more than 4,500, with units scattered as far as Shallotte, Southport, Wallace and Whiteville.

Man behind ‘near-death experience’ ponders the afterlife

    By PIET LEVY c. 2012 Religion News Service Reprinted with permission (RNS) Raymond Moody has spent nearly 40 years looking forward, trying to understand what happens when people die. That pursuit led to the publication of “Life After Life” in 1975, a seminal collection that actually coined the term “near-death experience.” But in […]

Mitt Romney on the cusp of making major Mormon history

    By THOMAS BURR and PEGGY FLETCHER STACK c. 2012 The Salt Lake Tribune Reprinted with permission WASHINGTON (RNS) With Rick Santorum's exit from the White House race, Mitt Romney stands on the cusp of history as the first Mormon to appear at the top of a major party ticket in a general presidential […]

Obama hosts Easter prayer breakfast with meditation on suffering

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puGGm-znSlU By LAUREN MARKOE c. 2012 Religion News Service Reprinted with permission WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama hosted his third annual Easter prayer breakfast at the White House on Wednesday (April 4), saying that Jesus' suffering and sacrifice during Holy Week puts the travails of his own life in perspective. His five-minute mini-sermon provoked sympathetic laughter […]

Church’s mock raid leaves teen traumatized

By ED KOMENDA c. 2012 Religion News Service Reprinted with permission MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (RNS) The men burst into the church classroom and ordered the 15 teens in the youth group to the floor. They covered the teens' heads with pillowcases and bound their hands. One man waved an unloaded gun, and another yelled, his face […]

Franklin Graham meets with black church leaders

    By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2012 Religion News Service Reprinted with permission (RNS) Religious leaders from the NAACP met with evangelist Franklin Graham Tuesday (March 20), less than a month after they accused him of “bearing false witness” when he questioned President Obama's Christian faith. “All parties were in agreement that it is […]

Atheists’ slavery billboard raises tempers in Pa.

    By DIANA FISHLOCK c. 2012 Religion News Service Reprinted with permission HARRISBURG, Pa. (RNS) The billboard is down, but the issue's not gone. A billboard erected in one of the city's most racially diverse neighborhoods featured an African slave with the biblical quote, “Slaves, obey your masters.” It lasted less than a day […]