The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA called on the Senate to tackle economic inequality and raise the minimum wage on the 50th anniversary of the "war on poverty," an initiative introduced by former President Lyndon B. Johnson.
In a joint letter to the Senate on Wednesday, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, wrote: "We urge you to consider closely any legislation that begins to heal our broken economy by promoting decent work and ensuring fair and just compensation for all workers.
"We write not as economists or labor market experts, but rather as pastors and teachers who every day, in our ministries and churches, see the pain and struggles caused by an economy that simply does not produce enough jobs with just wages." more >>
The number of Catholic priests, lay leaders, and missionaries assassinated increased last year, according to a report by an Italian Catholic organization. Twenty-two Catholic church leaders and faithful were murdered in 2013, reported the Fides News Agency of Rome.
This number was comprised of 19 priests, 1 nun, and two lay leaders. It is an increase from 2012, which had a total of 12 murders.
"As it has been for some time, Fides' list does not only include missionaries ad gentes in the strict sense, but all pastoral care workers who died violent deaths," reads a Fides article. "We do not propose to use the term 'martyrs', if not in its etymological meaning of 'witnesses' since it is up to the Church to judge their possible merits and also because of the [scarcity] of available information in most cases, with regard to their life and even the circumstances of their death." more >>
Quakers have made their own parody of Ylvis' viral video "What Does the Fox Say?" with "What Does George Fox Say?" which outlines Quaker doctrine and biblical themes.
As "What Does the Fox Say" compares the mysterious fox to animals with well-known sounds like the cat (meow), the dog (woof), and the cow (moo), "What Does George Fox Say" presents the tenets of a lesser-known Christian denomination. The Quaker version includes the same crazy sounds which Ylvis' video suggests for the fox, but adds subtitles to educate viewers about what Quakers believe.
"The Lord does not dwell in these man-made temples, but rather in people's hearts," says the video caption, as dancing Quakers make the crazy animal sounds featured in Ylvis' video. This line, along with many others in the video, articulates the central Quaker doctrine of the "Priesthood of All Believers" (1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation."). more >>
A new atheist billboard campaign launched in Salt Lake City is looking to parody the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' "I'm a Mormon" ads, encouraging nonbelievers to stop identifying altogether with faith denominations and feel pride for their non-belief.
"Many atheists still call themselves Mormons or ex-Mormons," said American Atheists President David Silverman in a statement on Thursday. "Our message is this: If you don't believe anymore, don't continue to base your identity in Mormonism. You're so much more than an 'ex-Mormon'; you're an atheist! And you are very far from alone. Be proud to be an atheist – we are, and we want to celebrate being an atheist with you."
The billboards feature a Utah family with the heading "We're the Monnett family, and We're Atheists," with the words "Mormons" and "ex-Mormons" written and crossed out. The atheist organization, one of the largest in America, says that it searched for real Utah atheist families to appear in the ads. more >>
Controversial political activist Julian Assange recently stated his belief that Jesus Christ was a "great activist" and that the Catholic Church uses confessionals to spy on people.
Assange, the founder and head of the website Wikileaks, made his remarks about the Catholic Church in a three-minute speech on British Broadcasting Corporation Radio.
"Through the Confessional system, the Catholic Church spied on lives of its congregants, while Latin mass excluded most people who couldn't speak Latin from any understanding of the very system of thought that bound them," said Assange. more >>
If you studied a map of Christianity in 1900, eight of 10 Christians could be found in Europe and North America. But today, the numbers in those continents are set to be dwarfed later this century by Africa and South America where there are 411 and 517 million Christians, respectively.
The Pew Research Center, a polling institute that studies religion globally and has been studying Christianity's demographic changeups, has released a short poll on its website where test-takers can see how well they have kept up with the global expansion of Christianity.
In his new book, From Times Square to Timbuktu: The Post-Christian West Meets the Non-Western Church, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, the former general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, details the scope of Christianity's new geographic look and outlines the responsibilities that now confront the Church. more >>