RNS photo by Aamir Syed

Why basketball is Muslims’ favorite sport

(RNS) Muslims' love of basketball is manifesting itself in Muslim basketball leagues and tournaments across the country, and is even recognized by the country’s major Islamic organizations, which are often criticized for being out of touch with Muslim youth. By Omar Sacirbey.

RNS photo courtesy Rev. James Semmelroth Darnell

Church softball league calls a foul on bisexual pastor

ST. CLAIR, Mo. (RNS) A league of six church softball teams shrank to five when the pastors of three Baptist churches told one of the member churches that their teams would no longer take the field against that church's team because the pastor is bisexual. By Tim Townsend.

RNS photo by Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger.

Tim Tebow brings a little goodness to Gotham

NEW YORK (RNS) Tim Tebow is Howdy Doody in a helmet, Opie Taylor running for touchdowns — while reciting Bible verses, stopping to find a lost dog, visiting sick children in a hospital and helping a little old lady across the street, all before he reaches the end zone. By Kevin Manahan.

RNS photo courtesy Tim Schenck.

Saints compete for top ranking in ‘Lent Madness’

(RNS) Combining a love of sports and passion for the saints, the online “Lent Madness” competition includes 32 saints from the Episcopal calendar of saints who are eliminated one by one through online votes. By Annalisa Musarra.

Christians join fight against cockfighting

(RNS) Christian leaders are joining with animal rights defenders to advocate against cockfighting, calling the sport antithetical to biblical values. By Chris Herlinger.

Thursday Godbytes: Occult New York City; Holy Punches

Have you ever noticed how many gargoyles there are in New York City? (Probably not, because looking up would make look like a tourist) Does riding the subway make you hear voices? (That’s probably the guy next to you on his cellphone.) Has Grand Central Station ever felt kind of…mystical? (That clock is pretty cool…) If so, your occult-sense (that’s like a Spidey-sense, but with more seances) is spot on: apparently there is a plethora of Occcult-themed architecture in New York City. So a lot of people say God told them to do things these days.

Boy is source of Native American saint’s miracle

(RNS) Jacob “Jake” Finkbonner of Ferndale, Wash., was 5 years old in 2006 when he split his lip playing basketball, developed a deadly flesh-eating strep infection and lay near death for months at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Jake’s father, Don, is Native American and a member of the Lummi tribe. The family’s priest at the time, the Rev. Timothy Sauer, urged Jake’s parents to pray to a 17th-century Mohawk-Algonquin woman to seek God’s miracle. Sauer said he suggested Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha because “I knew Kateri herself had been deeply disfigured by smallpox, so it seemed like she would be a good person to call on for this young boy whose face and head were infected. “And I knew that Native American Christians have been looking forward to the church’s acknowledgment of their contributions in a more public way.