Praying for peace and quiet

Karen Clark of Glenwood, Fla. “We’re not trying to prevent anyone from praying. But when Jesus went into the woods to pray to his father, he didn’t bring a 4,000-pound bell.” -Karen Clark, president of the Glenwood Civic Association in Glenwood, Fla., complaining about loud bells that call monks to prayer at the nearby Mother of Good Shepherd Monastery. Neighbors say the bells, rung five times a day, are too loud.

Praying for peace and quiet

Karen Clark of Glenwood, Fla. “We’re not trying to prevent anyone from praying. But when Jesus went into the woods to pray to his father, he didn’t bring a 4,000-pound bell.” -Karen Clark, president of the Glenwood Civic Association in Glenwood, Fla., complaining about loud bells that call monks to prayer at the nearby Mother of Good Shepherd Monastery. Neighbors say the bells, rung five times a day, are too loud.

Summer spirituality, musings on the Supreme Court nominee

Today RNS considers the spirituality of summer, offering thoughts on the subject from different writers: “Listen to fantasy writer Ray Bradbury describe in his book ‘Dandelion Wine’ how 12-year-old Douglas Spaulding contemplates the first morning of summer in Greentown, Ill.: ‘He saw his hands jump everywhere, pluck sour apples, peaches and midnight plums. He would be clothed in trees and bushes and rivers. He would freeze, gladly, in the hoarfrosted ice-house door. He would bake, happily, with 10,000 chickens in Grandma’s kitchen.'” On a more serious note, we consider Supreme Court nominee John Roberts’ stance on assisted suicide: “Little is known about Roberts’ views on a range of issues, but in a 2003 dissenting opinion that is now being scrutinized, he expressed a view held dear by many conservatives: that the reach of federal power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution should be strictly limited. ”

Summer spirituality, musings on the Supreme Court nominee

Today RNS considers the spirituality of summer, offering thoughts on the subject from different writers: “Listen to fantasy writer Ray Bradbury describe in his book ‘Dandelion Wine’ how 12-year-old Douglas Spaulding contemplates the first morning of summer in Greentown, Ill.: ‘He saw his hands jump everywhere, pluck sour apples, peaches and midnight plums. He would be clothed in trees and bushes and rivers. He would freeze, gladly, in the hoarfrosted ice-house door. He would bake, happily, with 10,000 chickens in Grandma’s kitchen.'” On a more serious note, we consider Supreme Court nominee John Roberts’ stance on assisted suicide: “Little is known about Roberts’ views on a range of issues, but in a 2003 dissenting opinion that is now being scrutinized, he expressed a view held dear by many conservatives: that the reach of federal power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution should be strictly limited. ”

COMMENTARY: Denunciations Roll Down Regardless

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Democrats have spent the past two weeks telling the world that President Bush must find another Sandra Day O’Connor to fill Justice O’Connor’s seat on the Supreme Court. Well, after Bush named John G. Roberts Jr. as her replacement, here was O’Connor’s verdict on her replacement: “That’s fabulous!” she told The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review. She said he is a “brilliant legal mind, a straight shooter, articulate, and he should not have trouble being confirmed by October. He’s good in every way, except he’s not a woman.” Maybe Democrats and those who’ve been hailing the retiring justice will try to out-O’Connor O’Connor and filibuster Roberts over the fact that he is _ we probably can achieve bipartisan agreement on this _ “not a woman.” But now that Bush’s Supreme Court pick has passed the O’Connor test, they’re really going to have to work to derail this first-rate nominee.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Fundraising for Graham’s NY Budget at 60 Percent; Efforts Continue (RNS) Fundraising for evangelist Billy Graham’s recent New York crusade has reached about 60 percent of its projected budget, but a crusade official said he’s confident that donors will provide the necessary money to cover all costs. Art Bailey, director of Graham’s Greater New York Crusade, told Religion News Service that the local crusade committee has raised about $4.2 million, just over 60 percent of a projected $6.8 million budget. “Most crusades we are further along,” he said Thursday (July 21) of past fundraising efforts. The New York crusade budget is the largest Graham’s organization has had in North America.

The Spirituality of Summer

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) In his last summer, Clay Miller watched the gift of nature’s beauty and a family’s love unfold before him. In that summer of 2001, he had just found out he had a malignant brain tumor, and his family knew they could not go anywhere on vacation. His two sons decided to build him a pond with a waterfall in the back yard of his home in Parma, Ohio. As their father watched from the deck, the young men dug a hole 18 feet long by up to 14 feet wide, and put in 41/2 tons of sandstone and 2 tons of river rock.

COMMENTARY: Hardly a `Godless Constitution’

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The U.S. Supreme Court split the difference in June when it ruled that a Texas Ten Commandments exhibit is constitutional but two Kentucky Decalogue displays are not. “Historical” displays, those graced with age, are fine, it seems, but “religious” displays, those graced by pastors, are not. This most un-Solomonic solution demonstrates again why the plain text of the Constitution is the court’s only escape from the embarrassment and ridicule that so justly arise from its wandering and “brain-spun” jurisprudence. The 10 operative words in the First Amendment could not be more clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It’s hard to see how a Ten Commandments display, which is not a law, not a religion, and surely not an establishment of religion, violates that 10-word limitation.

On Principle, Roberts Could Defend Assisted Suicide

c. 2005 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ The conservative views that propelled John Roberts to a Supreme Court nomination also could make him a defender of the nation’s only assisted suicide law when it is tested before the high court this fall, proponents of the Oregon law say. On many issues, little is known about Roberts’ views. But in a 2003 opinion, he expressed a view held dear by many conservatives: that the reach of federal power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution should be strictly limited. In that case, Rancho Viejo v. Norton, Roberts suggested that the federal government overstepped its constitutional authority by applying the Endangered Species Act to protect the habitat of a toad that is indigenous to California.

Pope weighs in on terrorism

Pope Benedict XVI “Terrorism is irrational. There is not a conflict between civilizations. There are only small groups of fanatics.” -Pope Benedict XVI, speaking during his Alpine vacation, about terrorism by Islamic militants. He was quoted by the Reuters news agency.

Pope weighs in on terrorism

Pope Benedict XVI “Terrorism is irrational. There is not a conflict between civilizations. There are only small groups of fanatics.” -Pope Benedict XVI, speaking during his Alpine vacation, about terrorism by Islamic militants. He was quoted by the Reuters news agency.

COMMENTARY: A Discussion About Nuclear Weapons With a Very Old, Very Wise, Friend

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) I often meet an unusual friend from Israel, Jeremiah (Jerry) ben Hilkiah, at a neighborhood coffee shop where we discuss current events. He’s a lot older (thousands of years older) than me, and more pessimistic about the future, so we balance out one another. I enjoy conversations with Jerry because he speaks a beautiful classical Hebrew that helps me maintain fluency in the language of the Bible. In fact, he says he wrote a major book of the Bible, but that’s another story.

In Europe, a Growing, Religion-Fueled Clash of Values Over Abortion

c. 2005 Religion News Service PORTO, Portugal _ Pregnant with her third child in January, 36-year-old Maria Silva decided to call it quits at two. In most European countries, the next step would have been simple: to check into a clinic for a surgical or medical abortion. But Silva lives in the northern Portuguese town of Aveiro, where seven women went on trial just over a year ago for ending pregnancies. So instead, she followed step-by-step Internet directions on performing the procedure herself.

Has the Spiritual Side of Yoga Been Debased by Its Popularity?

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Millions of Americans are practicing yoga to improve flexibility, strengthen muscles and relieve stress. But they also are co-opting an ancient spiritual philosophy, many yoga experts contend. A sacred practice, they complain, is increasingly being debased and commercialized. Yoga is a lucrative and growing business.

The commercialization of yoga, and the abortion debate in Europe

Today RNS’s top feature is about the popularity of yoga, which leads about 16.5 million Americans to spend $3 billion annually on class and products. But it appears enthusiasts are ignoring the two basic tenets of this ancient spiritual philosophy: that it is unethical to charge money to teach yoga and that you need nothing but your body to learn it. We’re also covering the abortion debate in Europe, where secular and liberal values are clashing with those in conservative, Roman Catholic countries. Correspondent Lisa Bryant reports from Portugal.