Baptist leader critiques anti-gay comments

(RNS) A Southern Baptist leader who works on gay outreach has criticized recent anti-gay comments by North Carolina pastors, saying they “show a complete lack of understanding of how to minister to those struggling with this particular temptation.” By Adelle M. Banks.

RNS photo by Yusuke Ogawa/courtesy the Unification Church

Does love last longer in arranged marriages?

NEW YORK (RNS) The Unification Church has a new strategy for drumming up interest. Studies appear to show that arranged marriages like those practiced by Unificationists last longer. But will Americans take heed? By Daniel Burke.

GUEST COMMENTARY: HHS doesn’t speak for me, or many women

(RNS) In the propaganda surrounding the Obama administration's contraception mandate, the Department of Health and Human Services seems to suggest that women’s only stake in the matter is “free” contraception.  This is a shallow — and frankly demeaning — view of women. By Helen Alvare.

Catholic bishops to scrutinize Girl Scouts

(RNS) The nation's Catholic bishops are reviewing the church's ties to the Girl Scouts of America after complaints that some of the venerable organization's programs and policies might run afoul of church teachings on contraception and abortion. By David Gibson.

Obama and gay marriage: In U.S. religion, the Golden Rule rules

(RNS) As pundits and politicians gauge the political fallout from President Obama’s sudden endorsement of gay marriage, one thing has become clear: the Golden Rule invoked by Obama to support his change of heart is the closest thing Americans have to a common religious law, and that has implications beyond the battle for gay rights. By David Gibson.

President Obama endorses same-sex marriage, religious leaders respond

Citing his Christian faith, President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC news on Wednesday. “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said, less than a week after Vice President Joe Biden also backed same-sex marriage.  “I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient,” Obama said. “I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that invokes very powerful traditions and religious beliefs.” Obama's announcement on Wednesday marked a shift in his religious views on marriage. When he was campaigning for the Senate in 2004, Obama said: “What I believe, in my faith, is that a man and a woman, when they get married, are performing something before God, and it’s not simply the two persons who are meeting.” Obama repeated that sentiment in a 2008 campaign event at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, saying “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.

Jennifer Knapp is as shocked as anyone with her newfound role -- as a gay Christian artist urging fellow Christians to affirm homosexuals. RNS photo courtesy Fairlight Hubbard for Eye Photography

Jennifer Knapp, an unlikely gay Christian icon

(RNS) Jennifer Knapp is as shocked as anyone with her newfound role – as a gay Christian artist urging fellow Christians to affirm homosexuals. And she finds herself singing and making her case in a most unlikely venue — in churches. By Greg Warner.