Divorced Parents Battle Over Son’s Circumcision

c. 2007 Religion News Service PORTLAND, Ore. _ A Washington state man who converted to Judaism wants his 12-year-old son to do the same. That requires circumcision _ something the mother adamantly opposes. The divorced couple has been battling over the issue for three years, including whether the boy wants to undergo the procedure.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Gay Bishop to Enter N.H. Civil Union With Partner (RNS) Openly gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson said he and his longtime partner will register under New Hampshire’s new civil union law for gay couples when it takes effect next year. “My partner and I look forward to taking full advantage of the law,” Robinson told The Associated Press. The 59-year-old Robinson, whose 2003 election as bishop of New Hampshire has brought the global Anglican Communion to the brink of schism, has been with his partner, Mark Andrew, 53, for 18 years. New Hampshire is set to become the fourth state to offer civil unions after the state legislature voted Thursday (April 26) to approve them.

RNS Daily Digest

Gay Bishop to Enter N.H. Civil Union With Partner (RNS) Openly gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson said he and his longtime partner will register under New Hampshire’s new civil union law for gay couples when it takes effect next year. “My partner and I look forward to taking full advantage of the law,” Robinson told The Associated Press. The 59-year-old Robinson, whose 2003 election as bishop of New Hampshire has brought the global Anglican Communion to the brink of schism, has been with his partner, Mark Andrew, 53, for 18 years. New Hampshire is set to become the fourth state to offer civil unions after the state legislature voted Thursday (April 26) to approve them. Gov. John Lynch said he would sign the law.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Religion Important, but So Is Nation, Europe’s Muslims Say (RNS) Muslims in three major European cities were just as likely as non-Muslims to identify strongly with the country in which they live and sometimes even more so, according to a new Gallup Poll. Conducted between November 2006 and February 2007, the survey of 1,518 Muslims in London, Paris and Berlin found that most felt their religious belief did not compromise their loyalty to the countries where they reside. In London, 88 percent of Muslims surveyed said religion is an important part of their lives, while 85 percent in Berlin and 68 percent in Paris agreed. When asked if Muslims are loyal to the countries in which they live, 74 percent of Muslims in London answered yes, as did 73 percent of Muslims in Paris and 72 percent in Berlin.

400 Years Later, Evangelicals to `Rededicate’ Jamestown for Christ

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) A number of prominent evangelicals will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first English settlers landing in Virginia by holding services “rededicating the land for Christ” on Sunday (April 29). The event, dubbed The Assembly 2007, is separate from the scores of others _ including a visit from Queen Elizabeth II of England _ coordinated by the official Jamestown 2007 organizers. The Assembly, with an executive committee including conservative Christian notables like religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and Texas pastor John Hagee, bills itself as one of the only explicitly religious ceremonies taking place during the quadricentennial celebrations. (The Episcopal Church, heir to the Anglicans who landed in Jamestown, also plans events this summer.) Calling April 29 “Dedication Sunday,” organizers say The Assembly “will both make history and renew it _ by re-establishing a 400-year-old covenant with God.” The evangelicals plan to plant crosses on the beach where the settlers landed in 1607, and are encouraging Christians throughout the U.S. to do the same on their front lawns.

Oregon Couple Protests War by Deducting Money from Taxes

c. 2007 Religion News Service PORTLAND, Ore. _ The Rev. John Schwiebert, 68, and his wife, Pat, 62, are conscientious objectors to war. As such, they have refused to support the U.S. military by withholding all or part of their federal income tax since 1977. They do not object to paying taxes, however, and for the past several years have paid the amount they think they would owe in federal taxes to Multnomah County, Ore., instead.

Oregon Couple Protests War by Deducting Money from Taxes

c. 2007 Religion News Service PORTLAND, Ore. _ The Rev. John Schwiebert, 68, and his wife, Pat, 62, are conscientious objectors to war. As such, they have refused to support the U.S. military by withholding all or part of their federal income tax since 1977. They do not object to paying taxes, however, and for the past several years have paid the amount they think they would owe in federal taxes to Multnomah County, Ore., instead.

New Look at the Quran Ignites Debate on Wife-Beating

c. 2007 Religion News Service NEWARK, N.J. _ A new rendition of the Quran, which has a gentler take on marital relations than usually seen in English translations, has hit a nerve among Muslims. The controversy is over both a single verse and the qualifications of the Muslim woman who translated the new version, “The Sublime Quran,” which hit bookstores in April. Most English renditions of Islam’s sacred book instruct husbands, as a last resort in treating disobedient wives, to beat or strike them, after admonishing them and refusing to share a bed with them. But translator Laleh Bakhtiar of Chicago claims that in the context of Islamic teachings, the Arabic word daraba, usually translated as “beat” or “strike,” actually has the nonviolent meaning of “to go away.” Bakhtiar, 68, isn’t the first Muslim to say or write this. But “The Sublime Quran” is believed to be the first Quran to translate Chapter 4, Verse 34 that way.

COMMENTARY: Israel Is Real Because …

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) There is a small crowded shop in Jerusalem that offers customers a wide assortment of lettered T-shirts. Some shirts display the faces of famous rock stars. Other brightly colored shirts feature comic-strip characters or witty bon mots. Yet the best selling T-shirt has only three words imprinted across its front: “Israel is Real” _ a proud, almost defiant declaration.

Top 10 Religious Right Power Brokers

GOP Candidates Wooing 10 Influential Religious Conservatives RNS’s Daniel Burke and Adelle M. Banks identify the top political power brokers of the religious right in this week’s full text article, linked above. Quote: Most of the people on this “top 10” list have already been courted by GOP presidential candidates, though none except Sekulow is known to have signed on with a particular campaign.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service U.S. Immigration Officials Discriminate Against Muslims, Study Says (RNS) U.S. immigration officials discriminate against Muslims when processing citizenship applications, according to a New York University Law School think tank. Since 9/11, increased security checks of citizenship applications “have illegally delayed the processing of thousands of applications from Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern and South Asian men,” according to the NYU report. “Americans on Hold: Profiling, Citizenship, and the `War on Terror,”’ a 63-page report, was issued Wednesday (April 25) by lawyers at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU’s law school. The report says several issues are behind the delays, such as the association of “terrorists” with men who are perceived to be Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern or South Asian.

Study: Hispanics Transforming Nation’s Religious Landscape

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) About half the nation’s Hispanics _ including many who are Roman Catholic _ consider themselves to be charismatics or Pentecostals, creating a new confluence of streams in American Christianity. “Simply put, Latinos are transforming the nation’s religious landscape,” said Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center, one of two organizations that produced a new study. The survey and accompanying report, released Wednesday (April 25), found that 68 percent _ or two-thirds _ of Hispanics describe themselves as Roman Catholics while 15 percent are evangelical or born-again Protestants. Eight percent do not identify with a religion.

Spring Is Here and Faith Is on the Air

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Three upcoming documentaries about topics ranging from Jehovah’s Witnesses to Mormons to atheism will air nationwide this spring on PBS. Although made independently, each film argues for the relevance of its subject in the United States, both historically and today. In “The Mormons,” Helen Whitney depicts how a once marginalized, home-grown religion went from near extinction in the 19th century to becoming a force in American politics and culture in two generations. “Mormons are everywhere.

10 Minutes With … Michael Apted

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) “Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man,” is the Jesuit motto director Michael Apted used as the baseline for his 1964 documentary “Seven Up!” Originally planned as one installment, the controversial documentary looked at 14 7-year-old boys growing up in the British class system and their views on life. After television documentary succeeded, Apted and the production company Granada Television decided to catch up with the subjects every seven years. Now, with “49 Up” set to air on PBS in the fall, Apted, president of the Directors Guild of America, speaks about the series’ evolution and his own religious background. Q: When did you come across this Jesuit motto?