Savor this roundup. You're not getting another one until Monday. Sorry for the gap, but Religion News Service is going on retreat. To Vegas, baby!
April Fools'. We are going to Columbia, Missouri. It is going to rain there.
In our absence, we suggest you not try writing the roundup on your own, unless you are a member of the RNA. If you insist, remember that Pope Francis is simply "Francis" on second reference and that the words "Episcopal" and "Episcopalian" are not interchangeable. Meanwhile . . .
April Fools' Day is not a religious holiday . . . or is it?
It's not a religious holiday to all but the most annoying people, but its roots are very religious. They go back to Pope Gregory XIII who ushered in our Gregorian calendar and changed New Year's Day from the end of March to January 1. Yet there were still these foolish folks who continued to celebrate the new year in April.
'Enough with the Hobby Lobby cases,' say the Supremes
Apparently the Supreme Court has had its fill of Affordable Care Act/religious liberty plaintiffs. On Monday, the National Law Journal reports, the court refused to take two challenges from religious non-profits to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. The cases, now in the D.C. Circuit, are: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Sebelius and Priests for Life v. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Greens meet Pope Francis
From the Supreme Court to the Vatican in less than a week. Eighteen members of the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby stores -- and filed the famed lawsuit on religious freedom and the Affordable Care Act -- met with Pope Francis Monday. He asked how the case was going.
Archbishops, bishops to walk the border fence
On the heels of Pope Francis and President Obama's immigration discussion, a delegation of American Catholic leaders is going to walk in the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona today to call attention to the plight of immigrants and press for immigration reform.
Jonathan Merritt reveals
RNS blogger Jonathan Merritt is in the spotlight for a personal chapter in his new book, "Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined," which explores his childhood sexual abuse and his attraction to other men. His acknowledgement that he is not sure whether his abuse and same-sex attractions are related is likely to touch nerves. Here in his RNS blog, he explains why he chose to share his story.
Search ends for man assisting in baptism
Benito Flores, 43, of Santa Maria, Calif., was helping his pastor baptize a man - Flores' cousin - when a wave swept him into the Pacific Ocean Sunday. The Coast Guard has called off the search, saying that no one could survive in water that cold for more than 30 minutes.
Some Muslim countries won't screen 'Noah'
Though most Muslim nations allow the epic to be shown, bans and fatwas abound -- including in Indonesia, home to the largest Muslim population in the world. Though nothing in the Quran prohibits the depiction of prophets, some Islamic scholars say it's not respectful, Omar Sacirbey explains.
Rohingya Muslims imperiled
International relief groups who fled western Myanmar after being targeted by Buddhist mobs say they can't return to help 140,000 Rohingya Muslims in a desperate refugee camp without the government's help, the Associated Press reports.
Santeria has a firm foothold in South Florida and Haiti, but adherents are increasingly voyaging to Nigeria to study the faith's African origins. Many come back inspired, with more firmly held convictions and new rituals to practice. But others say that some Nigerians are fleecing the pilgrims, or convincing them that what they practiced at home was something less than authentic, the Miami Herald's David Ovalle reports from Nigeria.
Russell Moore and Ralph Reed in the Wall Street Journal on the imperative for immigration reform.
Pat Robertson was trying to pay a compliment to the Jews, I think, but instead hurled an offensive stereotype at a rabbi.
The Passover seder in Kathmandu, Nepal, which typically draws more than 1,000 people, is threatened because of a strike that has cut off the Himalayan kingdom's supply of matzo. They may have to make it themselves.
I don't know how you're going to know about things like the Nepalese matzo crisis without the roundup these next few days. Hang in there. And sign up for the Religion News Roundup if you don't get it already. It's free and spamless. See y'all Monday.
- Lauren Markoe