Friday’s Religion News Roundup

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The NYT takes a stroll down Memory Lane into Michele Bachmann‘s formative years in constitutional law at Oral Roberts University. CNN takes a look at the Presidential Prayer Team which, curiously, costs $30,000 a month to operate.

Let’s say you’re Rick Perry and one of your big backers called your opponent’s Mormon faith a “cult.” Your response, Mr. Governor? Voters aren’t interested in “side issues and sideshows.”

Meanwhile, if you’re his wife, Anita Perry, you say: “We are being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party. So much of that is, I think they look at him, because of his faith.” To which Perry responds: “I’ll stand by my wife.”

The AP says evangelical pastors in Iowa still can’t decide whom to support.

A Florida lawmaker says death row inmates get off too easy with lethal injection so it’s time to bring back firing squads.

A 16-year-old atheist in Rhode Island is taking her high school to court over a “prayer mural” (still not entirely sure what that is) that she deems offensive.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a teacher who advises a student prayer group is under investigation for calling homosexuality “perverted” and “spreads like cancer.”

Over in Illinois, a Muslim teacher who sued her school district after being denied time off to make the Hajj pilgirmage to Mecca has won her fight, including $75,000 in back pay and damages.

There’s a two-year-old celibacy support group for Roman Catholic priests, brothers and sisters: “Unfortunately, the church has embraced the notion that once you’ve chosen this profession your sexuality goes away,” Brother Patrick said. “But it doesn’t. God would never expect something so absurd as that.”

Evangelical icon and disability activist Joni Eareckson Tada is challenging other conservatives not to see federal programs for the elderly and disabled as “line items in a budget.”

Things are deteriorating between anti-abortion crusader Father Frank Pavone and the Texas bishop who’s trying to put him on a short leash: Pavone didn’t show up for a meeting on Thursday, as promised.

Evangelicals and Bible translators are trying to figure out how to use the term “Son of God” for Jesus without offending potential converts in Islamic countries. And the Brits are mulling whether to allow members of the royal family to marry Catholics (even as Catholics would still be barred from the throne).

It’s been a tough road for Irish Catholics of late; now thieves have made off with a reliquary believed to contain a piece of the True Cross.

— Kevin Eckstrom

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