Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday’s Religion News Roundup: Rowan retires, no porn for Santorum, Jesus on ‘The Bachelor’

Big news from the U.K.: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is retiring at the end of the year to take an academic post in Cambridge. He says his successor (Uganda-born John Sentamu is a favorite) will need "the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros." 

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Rowan Williams was appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, but struggled to maintain the Anglican Communion amidst growing conservative anger over homosexuality. RNS file photo

Williams, you'll recall, presided over the Episcopal Church's decision to go its own way on gay priests and bishops, and as conservative Third World bishops in the Anglican Communion increasingly ignored him as they set up an alphabet soup of competing jurisdictions. The NYT says Williams was never comfortable in the role given his liberal tendencies vs. conservative opposition. His eyebrows deserved an archdiocese all their own.

One thing he won't have to worry about in retirement: talks in the British government toward legalizing same-sex marriages.

Could the Crystal Cathedral have been saved if a non-Schuller had been tapped to lead it? Some experts say yes.

Remember Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown woman dubbed a "slut" and a "prostitute" for trying to testify in favor of contraception coverage in Congress? Now she's getting flack for dating a nice Jewish boy.

Newt Gingrich is citing the Bible for continuing his uphill presidential campaign, and Rick Santorum -- in a bid to tick off young voters, apparently -- wants to ban hard-core pornography.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly is pushing back against efforts to create an inspector general to keep tabs on his department's surveillance of Muslims. ""I think there's plenty of oversight," Kelly said. "I don't know what more you would want."

The NYT is facing criticism for running an ad from atheists encouraging Catholics to leave their church while turning down a similar ad that asked the same of Muslims.

The Kentucky Supreme Court is wrestling with whether requiring Amish buggies to display orange safety triangles violates the Amish right to religious freedom.

Abortion foes have gotten the green light from Catholic leaders to use an exorcism prayer outside an abortion clinic in Kettering, Ohio.

After a newborn boy in Brooklyn died from herpes contracted during a ritual circumcision, there are at least two other boys in New Jersey who contracted herpes via circumcision, though they survived.

Reuters offers a quick primer on Nigeria's violent Islamist sect Boko Haram. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia says no churches should be allowed on the Arabian Peninsula.

The 13 Cubans who had occupied a church in central Havana in a bid to meet with B16 later this month have been removed by police. And the Vatican has pulled its support for a seminarians' soccer tournament that apparently lost its "educational" value.

And finally, because it's Friday: A woman in Port St. Lucie, Fla., says Jesus appeared on her television screen during -- wait for it! -- an episode of The Bachelor. As someone who's spent more than his fair share of time in Port St. Lucie, this is not at all surprising.

-- Kevin Eckstrom

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