religion

Westboro Baptist Church
12:43 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Sr. Dies

July 2007: The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. prepares to protest outside the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:03 am

The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., whose tiny Westboro Baptist Church has protested outside the funerals of fallen soldiers and celebrities to spread its views about homosexuality and abortion, has died, according to news reports. He was 84.

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Health
11:03 am
Mon February 24, 2014

112 Years Later, Seton Hospital Founders Daughters of Charity Are Moving On

After building and opening Seton Infirmary in 1902, the Daughters of Charity respond to a variety of health crises, including the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic.
Seton Healthcare Family Archives Division

The Daughters of Charity came to Austin in 1902, in response to a letter writing campaign by a group of local women. Their mission: to build and operate a first-class medical facility.

At the time, Austin’s existing hospital was decidedly less than first-class.

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Religion
9:57 am
Wed February 19, 2014

'Crypto-Jews' In The Southwest Find Faith In A Shrouded Legacy

Rabbi Stephen Leon leads a Friday night service at B'nai Zion synagogue in El Paso, Texas. Leon has converted crypto-Jews in the region.
Courtesy of Peter Svarzbein/ mongovision.com

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 11:32 am

Code Switch has been writing about some overlooked cultural interactions that have helped shape what Jewish identity is today, and we continue the series with this post about the murky and fascinating history of crypto-Jews in the Southwest.

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Islam
5:01 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Interview: Texas Should Teach Terrorism Lurks in All Radical Faiths – Not Just Islam

Professor Deepa Kumar says people of all faiths could gain something for her lecture on the construction of the "Muslim enemy."
flickr.com/glenscott

Wednesday marked 12 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The attacks thrust radical Islam into the spotlight and arguably ushered in an era of Islamophobia. But do stereotypes about Muslims actually go back much further?

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Texas
11:08 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Texas Megachurch At Center Of Measles Outbreak

The Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, is linked to at least 21 cases of measles.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 2:58 pm

Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. more than a decade ago. But in recent years, the highly infectious disease has cropped up in communities with low vaccination rates, most recently in North Texas.

There, 21 people — the majority of whom have not been immunized — have gotten the disease, which began at a vaccine-skeptical megachurch.

The outbreak began when a man who contracted the virus on a recent trip to Indonesia visited the Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, about an hour and a half northwest of Dallas.

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Ramadan
10:34 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Over Ramadan, Muslim Austinites Share Halal Food Near Campus

Established by the University of Texas Muslim Students Association in 1977, the Nueces Mosque was Austin’s very first. Women take off their shoes before entering the prayer room.
Minza Khan for KUT News

During the Islamic month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk. Austin's Nueces Mosque in West Campus hosts free iftar dinners, a communal feast where Muslims break their day’s fast after sunset. The iftars are open to all members of the community, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

Sabrina Khwaja, a University of Texas senior, said she frequents Nueces Mosque during Ramadan to engage with the local Muslim community. The location makes it easy for her to stop by. When she first heard about Nueces, Khwaja was relieved to find out she no longer had to break her fast alone.

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Religion
2:28 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Southern Baptists Decry End of Boy Scouts' Ban on Gay Members

A Cub Scout neckerchief tie. The Southern Baptist Convention opposes the scouts’ lifting on a ban on gay members.
flickr.com/thed34n

The Southern Baptist Convention has approved a resolution opposing a new Boy Scouts of America policy that lifts a ban on gay membership.

The decision was made earlier today, at the group’s annual convention in Houston.

The resolution itself does not demand that affiliated churches discontinue their sponsorship of troops. But the resolution voices its support for churches that choose to do so, while reiterating earlier declarations calling for the removal of the various leaders that instituted the new Boy Scouts policy this past May.

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Religion
9:02 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Video: Hip East Austin Church Gets Nod from 'New York Times'

An East Austin church is evolving to match the way Austin worships.

Vox Veniae, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church, began as part of the Austin Chinese Church for Asian Americans and Asian immigrants to worship. But it has since grown into a very diverse environment. It now has worshipers come to its Sunday service that are white, Latino and African American.

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Texas
4:42 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Judge: Cheerleaders Can Keep Bible Verses On Banners

As two Kountze football players prepare to play a game on Oct. 5, 2012, one holds a banner with a Bible verse.
Eric Kayne for Texas Tribune

Cheerleaders at an East Texas high school who were told to stop displaying Bible verses on banners at school athletic events can resume such displays, after a state district judge ruled in their favor Wednesday.

The national headline-grabbing lawsuit arose last fall when Kountze Independent School District administrators ordered its high school cheerleaders to stop displaying religious messages during athletic events after a group advocating for the separation of church and state threatened to sue. 

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Religion
2:11 pm
Sat March 30, 2013

Humble Gestures are New Pope Francis' Symbol of Service

Pope Francis washes the feet of a prisoner at the Casal Del Marmo Youth Detention Center during the mass of the Lord's Supper on Thursday in Rome.
L'Osservatore Romano Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 3:55 pm

Sometimes great change can be revealed in small gestures. This week Pope Francis knelt on the stone floor of a detention facility in Rome to wash and kiss the feet of 12 young inmates.

Other popes have carried out this rite on Holy Thursday. It is a ceremony to emulate the way Jesus washed the feet of his 12 apostles at the Last Supper, just before he was tried and crucified.

But previous popes have washed the feet of priests in Rome's grand, golden St. John Lateran Basilica. Pope Francis went to a penitentiary to wash the feet of prisoners.

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Religion
6:38 am
Tue March 19, 2013

For Pope Francis, A Simple Mass And A Call To Protect The Poor

Greeting the faithful: Pope Francis as he arrived in Vatican City's St. Peter's Square on Tuesday for his inaugural mass.
Valdrin Xhemaj EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 11:14 am

With less silk, lace and gold than many of his predecessors displayed, Pope Francis on Tuesday was inaugurated at a Holy Mass in St. Peter's Square during which he appealed to world leaders to be protectors of the poor and the environment, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast Desk.

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Religion
5:39 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

New Pope Francis a Mystery for Many Austinites

Area Catholics will be learning more about Pope Francis in coming days.
courtesy flickr.com/postmoderngirl/

The eyes of much of the world were on the Vatican this afternoon for the announcement that a new pope had been elected.

Pope Francis of Argentina is the first pope from the Americas. Here in Austin, Bishop Joe Vasquez says that origin suggests someone with a perspective popes of the past have not had.

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Religion
2:24 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Argentina's Cardinal Bergoglio Is The New Pope; He Will Be 'Francis'

Pope Francis as he waved to the crowd in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Wednesday.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:11 am

The world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics have a new spiritual leader, and for the first time it is someone from the Americas.

As afternoon turned to evening in Vatican City on Wednesday, a little after 7 p.m. local time, white smoke rose from a chimney above the Sistine Chapel and bells rang through St. Peter's Square — the traditional signals that the church's cardinals have chosen a new pope.

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Religion
2:11 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Video: White Smoke, Bells Signal New Pope Has Been Selected

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 2:08 pm

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Religion
6:34 am
Wed March 13, 2013

No Pope Yet: Black Smoke Rises on Day Two of Conclave

Black smoke rose from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel at midday Wednesday in Vatican City. That means the cardinals have not yet chosen a new pope.
Pool Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 11:07 am

Update at 6:41 a.m. ET. The Smoke Is Black:

Smoke just started pouring from a special chimney above the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City — and its dark color means the 115 cardinals meeting inside the chapel have not yet agreed on a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

If all has gone as planned inside the chapel, where the cardinals are meeting in secret, they have now cast three ballots and no one name has been written on at last two-thirds of the slips of paper. It takes two-thirds — 77 votes — to become leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

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Religion
8:36 am
Tue March 5, 2013

'No Rush' to Set Conclave; Fake Bishop Tries to Get In

That's not a real bishop on the left: A man later identified as Ralph Napierski of Germany (at left) posed with Cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana and others on Monday at the Vatican. Napierski was an imposter. He was later escorted from the area by Swiss Guards.
Vincenzo Pinto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 10:17 am

Roman Catholic cardinals are in "no rush" to set the date for the start of their conclave that will choose the next pope, a Vatican spokesman told reporters Tuesday.

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Religion
10:13 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Prayers, Oaths Of Secrecy As Catholic Cardinals Meet

Some of the cardinals as they arrived for today's meeting in Vatican City.
Claudio Peri EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 10:35 am

As they begin the process that will lead to selection of the next pope, the Roman Catholic Church's cardinals must first decide just when to officially start deciding, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reminds us from Rome this morning.

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Religion
10:15 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Benedict's Time Is Over; He's No Longer The Pope

A final blessing: Pope Benedict XVI as he blessed those gathered outside his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo on Thursday. He's not expected to make any more public appearances.
Tony Gentile Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 1:11 pm

(We last updated the top of this post at 2 p.m. ET.)

Precisely on time, under dark skies but with the lights of cameras from news outlets around the world illuminating the scene, Swiss Guards on Thursday closed the doors of the palazzo at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome — marking the official end of Pope Benedict XVI's time as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

For the first time in about 600 years, a pope has voluntarily stepped down. His final moment as leader of the church came at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET).

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Religion
10:05 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict's Mixed Legacy

Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.
Gerard Cerles AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 9:41 am

When Pope Benedict XVI steps down at the end of the month, he will be remembered for his efforts to strengthen the Catholic Church's core beliefs and for his powerful and eloquent encyclicals, but also for a mixed record in handling the sexual abuse scandal.

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Religion
5:59 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Is Resigning

Pope Benedict XVI, on Saturday at the Vatican.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 1:49 pm

(Most recent update: 2:50 p.m ET.)

For the first time in nearly 600 years, a pope is resigning from his post as leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday morning that he is stepping down effective Feb. 28.

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