Tempers flare over priest fired over Mass prayers

ST. LOUIS (RNS) A Roman Catholic bishop in Illinois confirmed that a priest was fired because he “simply would not and could not pray the prayers of the Mass” as written in a new translation of the Mass. By Tim Townsend.

Both sides gear up in N.C. gay marriage fight

WILMINGTON, N.C. (RNS) Here in the only Southern state that does not have a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, both sides are gearing up for a fight at the ballot box on May 8. By Amanda Greene.

Ala. bill would move religion classes off campus

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) A proposed Alabama law would allow churches or ministries to teach a religion class to public school students off campus, if parents and school boards give permission and the churches provide transportation and other expenses. By Greg Garrison.

RNS photo by Bob Mahoney.

Blacks say atheists were unseen civil rights heroes

Why is Martin Luther King, a Christian, remembered by so many for his contributions to the civil rights movement while A. Philip Randolph, an atheist, is honored by so few? That is a question many black nonbelievers are asking this Black History Month. By Kimberly Winston.

RNS photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Sketches of famous black atheists

(RNS) Sunday's (Feb. 26) “Day of Solidarity for Black Non-Believers, will include a remembrance of African-American atheists of the past. Here's a list of some famous (and not-so-famous) black nonbelievers. By Kimberly Winston.

Wednesday’s Religion Roundup: Ashes on the go; Obama’s faith; Mormon Pinners

Here's wishing all our Christian readers a prayerful Lent.  Today, of course, is Ash Wednesday. Episcopalians have started a tradition of sorts with an “Ashes on the Go” program for commuters. Episcopal priest and serial memoirist Lauren Winner says Ash Wednesday belongs on the streets. CNN asks if Ash Wednesday will also make an appearance on the foreheads of Catholics Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum at tonight's presidential debate.  For an election that was supposed to be about the economy, there's been a whole lot of religion-talk lately, much to the chagrin of some liberal church-state watchdogs.  In Ohio on Tuesday, Mitt Romney accused the Obama administration of having “fought against religion” these last three years. This comes after Santorum lambasted Obama's “phony theology” and Franklin Graham questioned the president's Christian bona fides. (BTW, have you heard about MSNBC's new quiz show, “Who's a Christian?”

Why Ash Wednesday belongs out of the church and out on the streets

The priests who offer ashes in public on Ash Wednesday are not doing something for the sake of convenience or expediency; Rather, we will be in public, with our prayers and our crosses of ash, to meet the Christ who died in a public place. By Lauren Winner.

Rick Santorum defends views on Obama’s theology

 WASHINGTON (RNS) Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum, leading the GOP field in national polls, is defending his views questioning prenatal testing and President Obama's “theology.” By Susan Page.

RNS photo courtesy Canticle Communications.

On Ash Wednesday, Episcopalians take it to the streets

CHICAGO (RNS) At least 49 Episcopal churches in 12 states will offer ashes to passersby on Ash Wednesday at train stations, bus stops, college campuses and busy intersections. “We live in a time where we can’t just sit back and wait for people to come to us,” said Bishop Stacy Sauls. By Piet Levy.

RNS photo by G. Jeffrey MacDonald.

After C.S. Lewis College flops, a free campus for the taking

NORTHFIELD, Mass. (RNS) The billionaire Oklahoma family that owns the 217-acre college campus here aims to give it away to a Christian institution for free. All the winner needs is an orthodox Christian vision and the financial wherewithal to pull it off. By G. Jeffrey MacDonald.

COMMENTARY: The phony war on religion

(RNS) Religion's enemy isn't government. If anything, the American system has bent over backwards to protect religion from the accountability, fairness and justice that are expected of other citizens. No, religion's enemy — if it has one — is itself. By Tom Ehrich.