Jerry Falwell Jr. sorry for unzipped pants photo, says he's 'gonna try to be a good boy'
Do as I say, not as I do.Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of the evangelical Christian institution Liberty University, has apologized for an online photo he posted of himself in unzipped pants with his gut exposed and his arm wrapped around a provocatively dressed younger woman.The post, which was quickly removed, drew backlash from non-Christians who deemed Falwell a hypocrite.“Imagine the righteous outrage from people like Jerry Falwell if those kinds of pictures had been posted by (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez),” liberal Christian author John Pavlovitz wrote on Twitter. “The sermonizing we’d ha...
New York Daily News
Could COVID-19 inspire the faithful? Scholars predict spirituality surge in our future
During the Black Death, which originated in Asia and terrorized Europe from 1347 to 1352, artists captured the macabre zeitgeist with depictions of mocking skeletons wielding scythes and leading townsfolk to their painful deaths.Between 25 million and 30 million people perished, and, historians say, the medieval mind blamed the plague’s boils and fevers on God’s failure to hear the prayers of the doomed — not, as it turned out, on fleas infected by rats. The devastation drained the faithful of faith.No such drama will follow the current pandemic, scholars predict. In fact, many believe we will...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Camden's Roman Catholic diocese suspends payments to clergy abuse victims, citing COVID-19 financial stress
Citing financial losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden in New Jersey said Friday that it would halt payments from a clergy sex-abuse victim fund that has paid out nearly $7.6 million.In a statement, the diocese said it had suffered a “precipitous decline in revenue” and was rapidly approaching a point where it would not be able to continue to borrow money to pay authorized awards.“These steps are necessary in order to maintain the critical programs the Diocese of Camden continues to provide for the communities it serves, which, now more than ever,...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Turkey's Erdogan visits Hagia Sofia after reconversion to mosque
Istanbul (AFP) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a surprise visit to Hagia Sofia on Sunday just days before the first Muslim prayers are due to be held at the Istanbul landmark since it was reconverted to a mosque last week.In a lightning visit billed as an inspection, Erdogan took stock of the conversion work, the president's office said, providing pictures showing scaffolding inside the building.Diyanet, the country's religious authority, said Christian icons would be curtained off and unlit "through appropriate means during prayer times"."Our goal is to avoid harming the frescoe...
Austin's religious leaders both embrace, grapple with racial reckoning
AUSTIN, Texas — Rabbi Neil Blumofe and the Rev. Daryl Horton are no strangers to uncomfortable conversations about race.On their annual summer road trips, Blumofe and Horton have visited sites related to Black and Jewish history and documented their experiences on Facebook.So when demonstrators took to the street to protest police brutality after the death of George Floyd, Horton and Blumofe, among other local religious leaders, were ready to meet the moment and continue their work talking about race and racism.However, for other spiritual leaders, many of whom serve congregations that are maj...
An infamous right-wing extremist and congressional candidate died in 2018 and hardly anyone knew
DETROIT — In life, Donald Lobsinger made a lot of noise. He made a lot of enemies.As Detroit’s infamous right-wing agitator from the 1960s through the 1990s, he once assaulted a priest at a peace rally. As an anti-communist zealot at the height of the Cold War, Lobsinger led an organization named Breakthrough that spent years disrupting meetings, tearing banners, scuffling with police, haranguing anti-war protesters, staging publicity-generating stunts and chanting, “Kill abortionists.” His antics and proclivity for violence made him a household name across metro Detroit and he once received a...
Detroit Free Press
Ex-Philly priest pleads guilty to decades-old sex assaults of altar boys
PHILADELPHIA — After decades of dodging allegations of abusing children, a disgraced former Catholic priest pleaded guilty Wednesday to molesting two altar boys in Bucks County decades ago.Francis Trauger, 74, admitted his guilt to two counts of indecent assault of a minor and Bucks County Judge Jeffrey L. Finley sentenced him to 18 to 36 months in a state prison and seven years’ probation.Despite being named in multiple grand jury reports on the abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese, Trauger had not been prosecuted until the case that led to Wednesday’s guilty ...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Evangelicals wrestle with racism and their own silence: 'We repent'
SEATTLE — Joseph Castleberry, president of Northwest University, an evangelical school in Kirkland, Wash., was sitting at his desk in early May when he started seeing Facebook posts about a Black man killed while jogging through a coastal Georgia town.As Castleberry read about 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, fatally shot by white men shown on video chasing him down, he said: “It just broke my heart.”“It was so obviously a case of unjust vigilantism, and it sure looked like racism to me,” said the university president, who is white, and acknowledges intimate knowledge of racism from a childhood in s...
The Seattle Times
Protesters tear down statue of Spanish missionary and saint Junipero Serra in Sacramento
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A statue of Junipero Serra, the Franciscan priest who helped to establish the Spanish missions in California, was torn down by protesters in Sacramento’s Capitol Park on Saturday night after a day of marches throughout the city.Demonstrations across the country Saturday had a focus on the rights and historical struggle of indigenous people, partly a response to the annual celebration of the Fourth of July.In Sacramento, protesters advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement marched from the Tower Bridge to the Capitol, where they joined another group. Some carried a ban...
The Sacramento Bee
Many faithful say it's time to gather. Some governors disagree
WASHINGTON — Gathering to pray feels more important than ever for many Americans of faith, as COVID-19 cases top 2 million in the United States and communities roil with anger about police brutality and systemic racism.Yet many governors and city leaders still prohibit large religious gatherings, angering some clergy — even those who backed pandemic-related restrictions imposed months ago — who see the continuing curbs on services as an attack on their civil rights.Religious leaders, congregations and individuals have filed lawsuits against governors, mayors and other officials in at least 30 ...