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Friday’s Religion News Roundup: Fugee out * Madonna a Methodist? * Pop Quiz

Father Fugee is out, Archbishop Myers is still in. Why is the Christian faith of Jason Collins overlooked and Tim Tebow's overhyped? Bonus question: can you define 'schismogenesis'? Answer below.

Graphic via Christianity Today
Graphic via Christianity Today

Graphic via Christianity Today

The Rev. Michael Fugee, the New Jersey priest under fire for working with children despite a legal ban, has resigned.

The archbishop who allowed the priest to minister despite the ban is still in office. And the archdiocese has reversed course and now says they did not know about Fugee’s activities with kids and that it was in fact against the law – contrary to what they had been saying.

Read Mark Mueller’s story at the Star-Ledger and you may be able to figure it out. Bill Donohue of the Catholic League may be trying to figure it out too, after his full-throated defense of Myers. Our own Mark Silk deconstructed that one.

Some, like Kevin O’Brien (via Frank Weathers), are not happy about the bishops, and they don’t mince words:

“It is not surprising that our shepherds fall short of the high standards of the Christian Faith. It is surprising that they don’t even rise to the low standards of the secular world.”


Rhode Island, the most Catholic state in the country, becomes the 10th to legalize gay marriage. Bishops not happy.

Maryland, a historically Catholic state with a Catholic governor, becomes the 18th to ban the death penalty. Bishops happy.

Speaking of bishops: One Vatican now housing two popes. Is it warm in here or is it just me?

Our own Alessandro Speciale has the details of Benedict XVI’s return, but the New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz has the inside scoop.

Speaking of popes on Twitter, Francis is making the most of 140 characters, and not everyone in the business world is happy.

Carnegie Mellon University apologizes for the worst spoof ever, the half-naked coed (don’t ask which half) who dressed like the pope, kind of. Hard to tell which part didn’t work most.

Want a real spoof? Try this headline: “Madonna foreswears celebrity religion; converts to Methodism.” Genius.

Noted theater critic and occasional religion writer Sarah Pulliam Bailey explains why Broadway hasn’t been so good to God lately.

The Pentagon likes God, or at least isn’t dissing him the way the Christian right is saying – and the Defense Department has the stats and statements to prove it, as I write here.

Warren Throckmorton shows how the misunderstanding got started, while Elizabeth Brown shows that the “no proselytizing” policy has been around for decades, and was in fact bolstered by that notoriously anti-Christian president, George W. Bush.

So we’re all good, right? Maybe not, says the FRC’s Tony Perkins:

“While we appreciate the DOD’s public assurances, they mean nothing until the Pentagon and the Air Force take specific steps to roll back the climate of religious hostility in our military…”

Tony was one of those observing yesterday’s National Day of Prayer, and Adelle Banks was there too, and returned with an awesome slideshow.

Ponder this: The suicide rate in the U.S. rises sharply, and in Britain wide majorities of most faiths (except Muslims) support assisted suicide.

And in the wake of the suicide of Matthew Warren, son of megapastor Rick Warren, Dan Burke looks at the pressure faced by PKs – pastor’s kids – from Franklin Graham to Jay Bakker.

That byline, by the way, is Dan’s valedictory here at RNS, after many award-winning years of work. Now he moves on to CNN’s Belief Blog. I’m sure you’ll have enough fingers to click on both sites.

Good question: Why is the Christian faith of Jason Collins overlooked while Tim Tebow’s is played up?

At Christianity Today, Ted Olson looks at the sex lives of unmarried evangelicals. Don’t worry, he uses a graphic — the one above, that looks like a biology chart — and it isn’t as graphic as you might fear. Or want. Whatever.

Ever try to figure out your Catholic teenager? Mark Gray at CARA has some stats that could help. The rest is up to you…

From Faith & Leadership, an enlightening conversation with the great church historian Mark Noll on the innovations of early American Protestantism in tackling social ills.

Finally, our Pop Quiz of the Day: What is “schismogenesis”?

  • a) The moment when Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden;
  • b) The theological term to explain Phil Collins’ career;
  • c) The theory holding that one side in a competition mimics another and both grow more extreme, like an arms race;
  • d) All of the above;
  • e) None of the above.

Answer correctly and you’ll have a chance to get some RNS swag by donating to our brief campaign — click here for details. If you don’t get the right answer, you’ll still have the same opportunity. Because that’s the kind of people were are here at the Daily Religion News Roundup. Thanks for helping out.

David Gibson

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