Top 10 Religion Stories of 2009

UPI Photo/Chuck Kennedy/White HouseThe Religion Newswriters Association voted President Obama’s June speech in Cairo, in which he called for a new beginning in U.S.-Muslim relations, the top religion story of the year.
Here are the runners-up, in order:

2. Health-care reform, the No. 1 topic in Congress for most of the year, involves faith-based groups appealing strongly for action to help “the least of these,” and others, such as the Roman Catholic bishops, for restrictions on abortion funding.
3. Because Major Nidal Hasan, the accused gunman in the Fort Hood massacre, was considered a devout Muslim, the role of that faith in terrorism again comes under review; some fear a backlash.
4. Dr. Carl Tiller, regarded as the country’s leading abortion doctor, is gunned down while ushering in his Wichita Lutheran church. Scott Roeder, charged with his murder, is described as a man suffering from delusions and professing radical religious beliefs.
5. Mormons in California come under attack from some supporters of gay rights because of their lobbying efforts in the November 2008 election on behalf of Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage. Later in the year, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire approve gay marriage, but it is overturned by voters in Maine.
6. President Obama receives an honorary degree and gives the commencement speech at Notre Dame after fierce debates at the Roman Catholic university over Obama’s views on abortion.
7. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America votes to ordain gay and lesbian clergy who are in a committed monogamous relationship, leading a number of conservative churches—known as the Coalition for Renewal—to move toward forming a new denomination.
8. The recession forces cutbacks at a great variety of faith-related organizations—houses of worship, relief agencies, colleges and seminaries, publishing houses.
9. The Episcopal Church Triennial Convention votes to end a moratorium on installing gay bishops, ignoring a request from the archbishop of Canterbury. At year’s end, Los Angeles chooses a lesbian, Mary Glasspool, as assistant bishop. Earlier, an elected bishop in Upper Michigan, Kevin Thew Forrester, is rejected because of his extreme liberal views.
10. President Obama’s inauguration includes a controversial invocation by Rick Warren and a controversial benediction by Joseph Lowery, as well as a pre-ceremony prayer by gay Bishop Gene Robinson.

Category: Media


2 Responses

  1. Top religious stories *in America* you mean. Leaving out the Catholic paedophilia revelations in Ireland is a bit of a scandal.

  2. What a great topic! Re Arni Zachariassen’s objection, maybe you should do a follow-up with a vote for the top religious stories outside America. This kind of very specific year-end review is very valuable. Thanks!

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