New survey shows Vermont least religious state

05/16/2015 09:55 AM EDT
"The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing." This is the upshot of an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center, which updates a very similar huge survey the organization did in 2007. They surveyed 35,000 Americans over several months in 2014. 
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Judge to protesters: End 11-year vigil inside closed church
05/15/2015 09:10 PM EDT - BOSTON >> Parishioners of the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church must end their 11-year protest vigil and vacate the shuttered Roman Catholic church, a Massachusetts judge ruled Thursday. But the Friends of St. Frances, the group that has been occupying the Scituate church day and night since 2004, say they're not going anywhere. Full Story

Chinese province to ban rooftop Christian crosses
05/08/2015 10:27 PM EDT - BEIJING >> A Chinese province where authorities have forcibly removed hundreds of rooftop crosses from Protestant and Catholic churches has proposed a ban on any further placement of the religious symbol atop sanctuaries. The draft, if approved, would give authorities in the eastern province of Zhejiang solid legal grounds to remove rooftop crosses. Full Story

Pope stokes flames ahead of US trip even as he ends problems
05/01/2015 10:01 PM EDT - VATICAN CITY >> When Pope Francis visits the United States this fall, he can expect the same rock-star adulation that greets him wherever he goes. But his positions on hot-button issues such as the death penalty and climate change could quickly set the stage for conflict. That may explain why Francis has been clearing the decks on a host of less high-profile matters of contention that could Full Story

Religion News in Brief
05/01/2015 09:59 PM EDT - today First Baptist continues Spring Tag Sale BENNINGTON >> The First Baptist Church of Bennington began its Spring Tag Sale on Friday. It will continue today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday is $3 bag day. Admission is free both days. The tag sale features spring and summer clothing, household goods, children's toys, books, fabrics, etc. Full Story

National Day of Prayer will be observed in Bennington
05/01/2015 09:58 PM EDT - BENNINGTON >> Citizens of the United States are preparing to celebrate their freedom to gather, worship and pray. Millions will answer the call to prayer, Thursday, May 7, the 64th annual National Day of Prayer, by gathering at observances held in public venues to pray for the nation, our leaders, families, businesses, and our men and women in uniform. Full Story

House OKs GOP measure blocking local DC abortion rights law
05/01/2015 10:01 PM EDT - WASHINGTON >> Republicans pushed legislation through the House Thursday that would revoke a District of Columbia law barring discrimination in the city against workers who have abortions, the latest clash pitting claims of religious freedom against reproductive rights. House passage was largely symbolic because the capital city's law takes effect Saturday unless Congress first approves Full Story

AP-GfK Poll: Nuanced views on gay rights, religious liberty
05/01/2015 09:58 PM EDT - WASHINGTON >> Most Americans think the government should protect religious liberties over gay rights when the two come into conflict, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds, though fewer think most businesses should be allowed to turn away gay couples because of religious beliefs. The survey uncovered nuanced views on gay rights as the Supreme Court considers, in a case heard this week, Full Story

Thinking it's a joke, man hangs up on pope; gets papal hug
05/01/2015 09:57 PM EDT - Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano says earlier this week, Francis dialed an ailing Italian man to comfort him. Francis has a habit of calling people who he has heard are suffering and telling them ''Hello, I'm Pope Francis" when they answer their phone. The newspaper said the man, Franco Rabuffi, hung up twice, thinking it was a prankster. Full Story

Rand Paul faces tough questions from Orthodox Jewish crowd
05/01/2015 09:57 PM EDT - NEW YORK >> Looking to woo New York's Orthodox Jewish community, Republican presidential contender Rand Paul faced tough questions Monday about his support for Israel and his approach to foreign policy in the Middle East. The Kentucky senator spoke in front of a group of several dozen rabbis and other Jewish community leaders at the National Society for Hebrew Day School Headquarters in Full Story

(Danny Johnston/AP)
Arkansas judge orders reality TV star's record destroyed

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas police have destroyed a record outlining a nearly decade-old investigation into reality TV star Josh Duggar, a spokesman said Friday, a day after the 27-year-old resigned his role with a prominent conservative Christian group amid reports about sexual misconduct allegations from when he was a juvenile. Full Story