Osama bin Laden is making headlines once again. His death was rated the No. 1 religion news story of the year, according to leading religion journalists.
The Religion Newswriters Association released Wednesday its annual survey of the top ten religion stories of the year. This is the 30th year of the poll, and about 90 religion journalists participated, according to the association.
Bin Laden’s death made top story of the year because of the national religious discussion that resulted, on issues of justice, forgiveness, retribution and peace. Last year, the No. 1 story was the proposal to build an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero.
Three men tied for newsmaker of the year: doomsday preacher Harold Camping, Pope Benedict XVI and presidential hopeful Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The top 10 religion stories this year are:
1. Osama bin Laden's death, which sparked discussions among religious people about forgiveness, justice, retribution.
2. U.S. House hearings on alleged radicalism of American Muslims, and in the Senate, on crime against Muslims.
3. Catholic Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Mo., became the first active bishop in the country to face criminal prosecution for failing to report suspected sexual child abuse.
4. The Catholic Church introduces a new translation of the Roman Missal throughout the English-speaking world.
5. Homosexuals are now allowed to become leaders and ministers in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
6. Pope John Paul II was beatified.
7. California radio evangelist Harold Camping wrongly predicts the end of the world twice this year – in May and October.
8. Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins, sparked controversy among the evangelical community for questioning the existence of a literal hell.
9. The Personhood Initiative, a move to outlaw abortion by declaring a fetus a person, failed in Mississippi.
10. Bible translations make headlines with the 400th anniversary of the King James Version; the new, gender-neutral New International version; and completion of the Common English Bible.
This year’s survey was conducted online Dec. 10-13.