Forty children have been taken from a Christian community in Bavaria in a raid by German police following allegations of child abuse, though the members have said they spank children only to discipline then.
"We have lived now for some time in your vicinity, dear citizens of Wörnitz and neighbors of the Ries valley," the Community of the Twelve Tribes in Klosterzimmern & Wörnitz said in a statement. "We call on you to give your opinion on the allegations – surely you have seen us and our children stroll through the village? What impression do you have of our children and their well-being? Were they happy? Were they respectful?"
Over 100 police officers participated in the operation that seized 40 children children aged seven months to 17 years old from a monastery in Klosterzimmern and from a communal house in the village of Wornitz. The children were then placed in foster families while authorities carry out an investigation into the group, The Guardian reported. The raids were apparently prompted by "fresh evidence indicating significant and ongoing child abuse by the members." more >>
"The Colbert Report" host Stephen Colbert talked Pope Francis' remarks on homesexuals, as well as atheists and heaven, in an interview with New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Tuesday.
"Look you don't got to Mass to win heaven. You go to ask God for help to get you there. You go to Mass to thank him for being such a great God that he wants you to spend eternity with him. That's why you go to Mass. You don't go to win heaven because you can't earn it – it's a gift. He wants to give it to all of us," Dolan, who is also the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, shared with Colbert.
The comedian, a Catholic himself, had brought up Pope Francis' remarks in May, when the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics said that non-Catholics and atheists can do good and that God has redeemed everyone, causing a notable stir in the Catholic community. more >>
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty revealed that on Monday it received more than 1,500 pages of documents confirming that the Department of Defense classified religious groups such as Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, and Mormons as religious "extremists" similar to Al-Qaeda and the Ku Klux Klan in training materials.
"Men and women of faith who have served the military faithfully for centuries shouldn't be likened to those who have regularly threatened the peace and security of the United States," said Chaplain (Col.) Ron Crews, USAR retired, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.
"The materials we have received verify that the military views the Southern Poverty Law Center as a 'reliable source' for Equal Opportunity briefings even though it has engaged in a pattern of labeling evangelical Christians, Catholics, and other conservative and orthodox faith groups as 'extremists.' The documents demonstrate that the Department of Defense has chosen to rely on these biased SPLC materials to train Equal Opportunity Officers in the military." more >>
The Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. is increasing pressure on lawmakers to adopt immigration reform and is taking that message to the pews, planning for a major coordinated event for Sunday Masses on Sept. 8.
"We want to try to pull out all the stops," said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to The New York Times. "They have to hear the message that we want this done, and if you're not successful during the summer, you're not going to win by the end of the year."
Lawmakers have yet to decide on substantial changes to the path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, but a number of evangelical churches and groups, along with Catholics, have made it a prime focus in their mission this past year. more >>
A British sociologist has denounced a recent effort by the United Kingdom Department of Education to investigate religious schools and their views on homosexuality.
Neil Davenport, head of Sociology at the JFS Sixth Form Centre in London, wrote a column on spiked-online.com Thursday asking "Why shouldn't faith schools criticize gays?"
"In a secular society that is supposedly committed to freedom of religion, the really outrageous thing here is that MPs and shrill campaigners are meddling in the values being taught in faith schools," wrote Davenport. "The accusation that faith schools are practising intolerance seems breathtakingly unconvincing, not to mention hypocritical, when one considers that militant atheists are themselves being intolerant of traditional and religious communities and their belief systems." more >>
As Christians in Egypt find themselves at the center of hostile attacks by Islamic protesters, a church in Minya was forced to cancel Mass on Sunday for the first time in 1,600 years.
"We did not hold prayers in the monastery on Sunday for the first time in 1,600 years," explained Priest Selwanes Lotfy of the Virgin Mary and Priest Ibram Monastery in Degla, south of Minya. The priest revealed that supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi destroyed the monastery, which includes three churches, according to Times of Israel.
He added that one of the attacker had wrote on the monastery's wall "donate [this] to the martyrs' mosque." more >>