The cover story of the new issue of Religion in the News pictures Pope Francis roaring into town on a Harley. And why not, after Steven Avella, Milwaukee priest and professor, witnessed His Holiness blessing the giant Hog rally in Rome last summer? For those who imagine that the cardinals didn’t know what they were getting into when they gave Jorge Bergoglio the job, Andrew Walsh is on hand to say otherwise.
Next up is Adrienne Fulco, who took a safari through the amicus briefs in last years marriage equality cases and came back with the conclusion that they lay the groundwork for the big religious liberty cases to coming down the pike. Roger Olson then lays out the whys and wherefores of the Calvinist youth movement gracing (or afflicting) the Southern Baptist Convention.
No global religion story was bigger this year than the military ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi as president of Egypt, which Ronald Kiener places in grim context. Kiener also serves up his definitive hashtag Baedeker for following developments along the Nile. Our Middle Eastern package continues with Andrew Walsh’s examination of the place of Christian communities in the Syrian civil war, and how that undermined support for President Obama’s plan to bomb the Assad regime. Click over to the editor’s column and you’ll find my own reflection on the united front of American Christian opposition to the Obama plan.
While it’s still probably in the 21st century that no professing atheist can be elected president, we do have our first professing None in Congress; and Juhem Navarro-Rivera takes a look at her. The issue wraps up with Christine McCarthy McMorris’ exploration of the spate of best-sellers about going to heaven. Too bad the authors can’t take it with them.