Religion

Feds Recognize Satanic Temple As Tax-Exempt Church

Religion News Service reports: The Almighty may not think the Satanic Temple is a church. But the taxman has given it the thumbs-up. The Satanic Temple, which is featured in a documentary called “Hail Satan?,” announced this week that the IRS now recognizes it as a church. That recognition means the group can now get the same benefits as religious …

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Sri Lanka Claims Bombings Were Retaliation For New Zealand Mosque Shootings, ISIS Claims Responsibility

NPR reports: A Sri Lankan government official says coordinated suicide bombings in the island nation on Easter Sunday, which killed more than 320 people, were carried out in retaliation for last month’s mass shooting at mosques in New Zealand. State minister for defense, Ruwan Wijewardene, said the attacks were carried out by two Islamist organizations. As NPR’s Lauren Frayer reports, …

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Sri Lanka Bombings Blamed On International Network

The BBC reports: A wave of bombings that killed 290 people in Sri Lanka on Sunday was carried out with the support of an international network, officials say. The government has blamed a little-known local jihadist group, National Thowheed Jamath, although no-one has yet admitted carrying out the attacks. Another 500 people were injured in the suicide attacks on churches …

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San Diego: Woman With Baby And Gun Rushes Church Stage, Rants About Rapture, Tackled By Congregants

San Diego’s Fox affiliate reports: Parishioners and police tackled a woman who entered a Clairemont church service carrying a baby and a handgun on Easter Sunday. Police first received calls about an armed woman at a church service hosted at Mt. Everest Academy, near the intersection of Balboa and Genessee avenues, around noon. Witnesses said the woman came up on …

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Court Rules US House Can Ban Secular Invocations

Roll Call reports: The House chaplain scored a legal victory on Good Friday, when a federal appeals court ruled he could not be ordered to allow a self-described atheist to offer a secular prayer to the House of Representatives. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, in his official capacity as the …

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Man With Gas Cans Arrested In St. Patrick’s Cathedral

NBC News reports: A man carrying two gas cans, lighter fluid and lighters tried to enter St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on Wednesday but was stopped by a security officer and taken into custody, an NYPD official said. “Nothing happened inside the cathedral,” the Archdiocese of New York said in a statement. There was no fire, but there …

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Study: Church Membership Plummets 20 Points To 50%

The Associated Press reports: The percentage of U.S. adults who belong to a church or other religious institution has plunged by 20 percentage points over the past two decades, hitting a low of 50% last year, according to a new Gallup poll. Among major demographic groups, the biggest drops were recorded among Democrats and Hispanics. Gallup said church membership was …

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Notre Dame Officials Forecast Three Years Of Repairs Before Reopening, Pledged Donations Top $700 Million

ABC News reports: Ravaged by a massive fire that completely destroyed its roof, the Notre Dame Cathedral will likely not be reopened to the public for three years, a spokesman for the 13th Century basilica told ABC News. Andrew Finot, head of communications for Notre Dame, said he got a brief look inside the decimated sanctuary and reported the “entire …

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Billionaires Pledge €300M To Rebuild Notre Dame

Buzzfeed News reports: Two French billionaires have pledged to donate a total of 300 million euros to help reconstruct the Notre Dame Cathedral after a catastrophic fire tore through the historic structure, collapsing its spire and causing significant damage. Their donations came as Paris firefighters declared Tuesday morning that “the entire fire is out”. “A group of experts are analysing …

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Ex-Pope Blames Abuse On Gays, Porn, Sex Education

The New York Daily News reports: Former Pope Benedict XVI blamed the widespread clerical abuse on the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the “collapse” of theological and societal moral teachings — contradicting Pope Francis in his most extended statement since resigning more than six years ago. “Why did pedophilia reach such proportions?” he writes. “Ultimately, the reason is the …

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Top Vatican Official Meets With Activists On Call For Pope To Condemn Laws That Criminalize Homosexuality

The Washington Blade reports: A group of more than 50 LGBTI rights advocates on Friday met with a high-ranking Vatican official and renewed their calls for the Catholic Church to condemn laws that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations. ILGA World in a press release said the activists met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, and presented him …

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Petition Calls For Australia To Ban Royal Brunei Airlines

SBS News reports: A petition to ban Royal Brunei Airlines from landing in Australia has gathered steam as Virgin Australian cancelled staff travel on the airline following the country’s introduction of harsh Sharia law that includes the death penalty for gay sex. The petition, directed to the Minister and Shadow Minister for Transport, calls on the government to “commit to …

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Reversal: Mormon Church To Baptize Children Of LGBTs

The New York Times reports: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a remarkable reversal to its policies on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on Thursday. The decision rolls back a 2015 policy that barred children living with same-sex couples from important religious practices like baby-naming ceremonies and baptisms. That policy also declared that church members in …

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Hotels Owned By Brunei Sultan Delete Social Media Accounts Over “Abuse” Due To Gay Death Penalty Law

The Hill reports: A number of luxury hotels owned by the ruler of Brunei have deleted their social media accounts amid calls for a boycott over the island nation’s new law punishing homosexuality. The accounts were removed the same day that the law, which makes gay sex and adultery punishable by death and calls for stoning, took effect. The Dorchester …

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TEXAS: State Bans All Prison Chaplains From Execution Chamber Rather Than Allow Buddhists In The Room

The Texas Tribune reports: The state of Texas has banned all prison chaplains from its execution chamber, days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state was violating an inmate’s rights by not allowing a Buddhist chaplain into the death chamber with him. The high court last week halted the execution of Patrick Murphy, a member of the infamous …

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BRUNEI: Gay Death Penalty Law Goes Into Effect

The BBC reports: Brunei is introducing strict new Islamic laws that make gay sex and adultery offences punishable by stoning to death. The new measures, that come into force on Wednesday, also cover a range of other crimes including punishment for theft by amputation. The move has sparked international condemnation. Brunei’s gay community has expressed shock and fear at the …

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POLAND: Catholic Priests Burn Harry Potter Books

The Guardian reports: Catholic priests in Poland have burned books that they say promote sorcery, including JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, in a ceremony they photographed and posted on Facebook. Three priests in the northern city of Koszalin were pictured carrying the books in a large basket from inside a church to a stone area outside. The books were set …

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Pope Issues “Mandatory Reporting” Law On Abuses

NPR reports: Pope Francis issued a new decree making it mandatory for Vatican City officials or its diplomats around the globe to immediately report allegations of sexual abuse to authorities or face possible jail time. The edict, called a Motu Proprio and which goes into effect on June 1, comes after an international summit of church leaders convened at the …

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Australia Tells Gay Tourists They Won’t Be Executed In Brunei As Long As They Just “Act Heterosexual”

Australia’s News Corp outlet reports: A gay couple that had booked flights to a tiny Asian nation before it introduced laws allowing it to stone people to death for gay sex received shocking advice from the federal government’s Smart Traveller hotline. Adultery and gay sex in Brunei will be subject to death by stoning and thieves will have their limbs …

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Puerto Rico Gov Signs Order Banning Ex-Gay Torture

The New York Times reports: The governor of Puerto Rico signed an executive order on Wednesday banning so-called conversion therapy for gay or transgender minors on the island. The decision came after Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives refused to vote on a bill that would have prohibited conversion therapy, a discredited practice that proponents claim can change a person’s sexual …

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