Oprah Winfrey by s_bukley via Shutterstock

Oprah vs. Atheists * Welby vs. Big Energy * Gay vs. Tennessee : Tuesday's Religion News Roundup


Oprah Winfrey by s_bukley via Shutterstock

Oprah Winfrey by s_bukley via Shutterstock

Atheists to Oprah: That was not cool. During Oprah's interview with Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old who recently swam from Cuba to Florida, Nyad said she was an atheist. Oprah's response: you appreciate the wonder of the world so therefore you believe in God.

Gov. Chris Christie to America: I'm not going to stand in the way of gay marriage in New Jersey. You can also read that as: I could be a nice alternative to the extremists who are going to try to hijack the next Republican presidential primary.

And on the same day that same-sex couples began marrying in New Jersey, four same-sex Tennessee couples filed a federal suit to get the Volunteer State to recognize their marriages, all legal in the states in which they were married.

Fredrick Nwzili, our man in Nairobi, writes that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby emphasized the need for mission and evangelism before an audience of conservative Anglican clergy -- a message the conservatives interpreted as heartening.

And Trevor Grundy, our man in London, writes that Welby on Monday blasted British energy companies for steep price hikes.

My take on this: Welby cannot hide from Religion News Service.

Tomorrow Welby will baptize Prince George. Welby hopes this "extraordinary" event will inspire other parents to baptize their children.

An interesting piece from Brant Hansen, a Christian with Asperger's syndrome, who says he feels out of place at church:

Imagine Mr. Spock at an evangelical Christian tent revival, and you’ll get the idea.

As the landmark Pew study showed, American Jews are increasingly calling themselves cultural as opposed to religious Jews. So maybe that growing group should hold on to its Jewish roots by connecting with its "Israelness" -- an idea offered by Miri Belsky, president of the Israeli American Council.

As Israeli expats strive to instill a secular Israeli identity in the next generation, many American Jews find themselves relating.

But Israeli writer David Hazony's piece in the Forward today comes to the opposite conclusion: American Jews need to take pride in an American-centered Judaism.

Maybe if Jewish leaders would just own it, taking real sovereign pride, their own kids would be much more interested in keeping alive the flame of Jewish identity.

O Jersualem! It's hard to be your mayor! USA Today looks at the race to govern the holy city, and the issues for Christians, Jews and Muslims.

A new report, citing rising anti-Semitism in Europe, finds that German synagogues were attacked at least 82 times in the past four years.

Molotov cocktails thrown at a Muslim house of prayer set it on fire, a day after a suspected Islamic militant killed herself and six others on a bus in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.

In Britain, a white supremacist student from the Ukraine has admitted to killing an 82-year-old Muslim man and trying to blow up several mosques. In Missouri, a man confesses to setting a fire that gutted the Islamic Society of Joplin last year, and to twice trying to do the same at a Planned Parenthood office.

A group of hajj pilgrims from Detroit said they were attacked at a campsite by Sunni Muslims who objected to the American Muslims' presence because they are Shiite.

In Cairo, thousands of Coptic Christians turn out for the funeral of four members of a family gunned down as they waited for a wedding party Monday outside the Church of the Virgin Mary.

Obituary: Goodbye to Lee Bandy, son of an evangelical preacher, singer in the church choir and the dean of South Carolina reporters. With uncommon skill and humility, "Bandy" covered every presidential candidate since 1968, and, with particular insight, the rise of the Christian Coalition. He humbly and generously taught generations of younger reporters. For this, and much more, I will miss him.

- Lauren Markoe

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