RNS Daily Digest

c. 2003 Religion News Service Eds: Information suitable for a graphic can be found below the following item. Poll: Half of Americans Say Out-of-Wedlock Births Acceptable (RNS) Half of Americans now believe it is morally acceptable to have a baby outside of marriage, a Gallup Poll shows. Pollsters found that 51 percent of U.S. adults polled in May said out-of-wedlock births were morally acceptable, compared to 46 percent who said they were morally wrong. One year ago, slightly fewer _ 45 percent _ thought such births were acceptable, while 50 percent thought they were wrong.

NEWS FEATURE: Yoga Stretches Traditional Christian Boundaries

c. 2003 Religion News Service ANNANDALE, Va. _ Marylyn Mandeville sits crossed-legged on a mat in front of 11 of her students. Her hands are folded as if in prayer, framed by the slogan on her T-shirt: “Know Yoga, Know Peace.” A gold cross rests on the Om symbol emblazoned on her shirt. “Namaste,” she says to the class, bowing deeply while offering the Sanskrit salutation “I bow to the God within you.” No one in the Parkwood Baptist Church, not even the pastor, reacts to Mandeville’s T-shirt, gesture, or the New Age flute music playing in the background.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2003 Religion News Service Piracy, Economy Cited as Factors in Lower Christian Music Sales (RNS) Sales of Christian and gospel music dropped 10 percent in the first half of 2003, with industry leaders blaming music piracy and the economy for the drop. At the end of the first six months of 2003, Nielsen SoundScan sales of Christian and gospel music stood at 21,046,000 units. That’s a 10.23 percent decline from the same period in 2002, when 23,445,000 units were sold. Despite the sales decrease, the genre of music maintained its market share in the overall music industry.

NEWS FEATURE: Ossuary Owner Says Artifact is No Fraud

c. 2003 Religion News Service JERUSALEM _ When the so-called “James Ossuary,” was first unveiled last October, a number of prominent archaeologists, geologists and paleographers had already authenticated the artifact’s remarkable inscription of “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” to the first century A.D. Scholars said the ossuary _ a ritual burial box in which the bones of deceased first century Jews were typically stored _ was likely the first physical link to the figure of Jesus, who Christians believe was the Messiah. But two weeks ago, sensation turned to scandal when a seven-member panel of experts appointed by the Israel Antiquities Authority ruled the inscription on the ossuary a probable forgery. The panel concluded that the patina, or crust of chalk, covering most of the inscription was a recent addition, not a natural result of aging over time. Handwriting experts also contended that most of the inscription is probably a new addition, not from the first century period.