N.J. leaders seek to ease anger over NYPD probe of Muslims

NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) Amid concern over the New York Police Department's surveillance of Muslims beyond New York City, state and federal law enforcement officials plan to hold a summit Saturday to assure religious leaders that they are addressing the NYPD incursions into New Jersey. By James Queally and Christopher Baxter.

Catholic voter guide differs from two Catholic candidates

(RNS) A group of Democratic-leaning Catholics on Wednesday (Feb. 29) released a 2012 voter guide that includes abortion among a range of “pro-life issues,” such as war, euthanasia and poverty, and highlights economic and social justice issues as concerns Catholics should weigh as they consider which candidate to support.

Religion News Service file photo by Michael Falco.

U.S. mosques report rapid growth in past 10 years

WASHINGTON (RNS) Researchers plan to release a comprehensive census of American mosques on Wednesday, charting their growth, followers and their leaders' interpretations of Islam. By Lauren Markoe.

Priest fired over Mass prayers fights to keep his job

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (RNS) A Roman Catholic priest who was fired for altering the words of the Mass is now digging deep into the letter of church law in an effort to regain his post as parish priest. By Tim Townsend.

RNS photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Mormons, GOP didn’t always get along so well

WASHINGTON (RNS) As Mitt Romney presses his White House bid, many Americans don't realize that his Mormon faith played an important role as foil in the early days of the GOP, and how its first candidates won by whipping up anti-Mormon sentiments. By Thomas Burr.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup: Mitt Romney wins; Franklin Graham apologizes; lesbian denied Communion

As you've probably heard, Mitt Romney won big in Arizona and eked out a narrow victory in his native state of Michigan on Tuesday.  Santorum bested Romney among evangelicals in Michigan 51-35, but lost non-evangelicals, including Catholics, in Michigan and Arizona.  Mark Silk's take: “Those numbers suggest that come next week's Super Tuesday contests, Santorum should have no trouble picking up Tennessee and Oklahoma, where the evangelical portion of the GOP primary electorate was 73 percent and 72 percent respectively in 2008. But unfortunately for him, he couldn't manage to make it onto the ballot in Virginia, where, with an evangelical vote of 46 percent, he'd have had a shot. And Georgia appears to be Newt's last hurrah. So the key state will be Ohio, where the evangelical vote was 44 percent last time around.”  For what it's worth, Santorum now says he wants to take back that line about JFK's speech making him want to throw up.  NPR reports on a conservative group that's using data mining to find five million unregistered evangelical voters.  Politico looks a the slow fade of Obama's faith-based council. Franklin Graham apologized for questioning Obama's faith, but doesn't sound like he's ready to sit on the president's council.  The Justice Department is beginning an investigation into possible civil rights violations incurred by the NYPD's surveillance of entire American Muslim neighborhoods.

Franklin Graham apologizes for questioning Obama’s faith

WASHINGTON (RNS) “I regret any comments I have ever made which may have cast any doubt on the personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama,” evangelist Franklin Graham said.  “I apologize to him and to any I have offended for not better articulating my reason for not supporting him in this election.”  By Adelle M. Banks.

Experts say Quran burning ‘tailor-made’ for Taliban

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Taliban is attempting to capitalize on the outbreak of violence that followed the inadvertent burning of a Quran by NATO troops by characterizing the war as a conflict between infidels and Islam, analysts said.

RNS photo by Chris Clark/The Grand Rapids Press.

Santorum might not be Mitt Romney’s only problem in Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) Mitt Romney’s position on the Detroit auto bailout and health care plan have been blasted, but a pollster suggests one issue not often discussed on the campaign trail this year could end up costing him Tuesday's Michigan primary victory: his Mormon faith. EPIC-MRA pollster Bernie Porn said the former Massachusetts governor’s faith hasn’t been as big of a topic as it was when he sought the nomination in 2008. But Porn said on WGVU’s “West Michigan Week” that his polls show that 7 percent of the Republicans tallied said they wouldn’t vote for Romney because he is a Mormon – and the actual number might be higher. With a race that could be decided by less than 5 percent, that could be a problem for Romney, he said.

COMMENTARY: Abortion as a cover war

(RNS) Anti-abortion zealots are behaving like radical Islamists: trying to balance society's moral ledger by scapegoating women and taking away their freedom. The abortion debate isn't about the unborn, it's about insecure men demanding the right to control women's lives.


10 Commandments judge seeks his old job back

MOBILE, Ala. (RNS) Republican Roy Moore's forced exit, almost a decade ago, as Alabama's chief justice position over a Ten Commandments monument is barely mentioned as he seeks to reclaim the job. Voters don't ask about it, and the two men running against him never mention it.

TuesdayâÂ?Â?s Religion Roundup: âÂ?Â?Mullah RickâÂ?; Jewish hoops; the popeâÂ?Â?s teddy bears

Rick Santorum takes and gives criticism on religious issues ahead of today's Michigan primary, but pulls even with Mitt Romney. The “ad-libbing” Catholic priest rescinds his resignation, Cuba gets ready for the pope, the pope's brother writes a “tell-all” of sorts, and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington has too many seminarians and not enough churches. A Jewish hoops team has to forfeit a playoff game because it's on the Sabbath.

RNS file photo by Ted Parks.

Louis Farrakhan blasts Jews, Obama

(RNS) Saying “I'm not anti-Semitic, I'm just telling the truth,” Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan told followers that Jews control the media and entertainment industries, and said President Obama could be assassinated in an inside plot that could be blamed on Muslims. By Omar Sacirbey