Hopefully everyone had a lovely Memorial Day. Things were not so lovely outside Arlington National Cemetery where the Westboro Baptist Church brought its sideshow of hate only to be opposed by a group of counter-protesters that included self-proclaimed members of the KKK. Talk about the racist pot calling the hateful kettle black. In the New York Times, historian David Blight tells the story of the first Memorial Day, celebrated by newly freed blacks in Charleston, South Carolina memorializing dead Union troops. In Joplin, Missouri, residents mourned those lost in the tornado.
The Department of Homeland Security has ended a post-9/11 registration program that required Arab and Muslim men to register with the government, but not before tangling many Muslim immigrants up in legal proceedings. The Muslim Brotherhood says they do not want to enforce Islamic law in Egypt.
Holy shirking brains, Batman! A new study links religious experiences, such as a conversion or “born-again experience,” to atrophy in the hippocampus. In Brooklyn, a recently ordained rabbi converted to Judaism after growing up the daughter of a Lutheran pastor. Elsewhere in Brooklyn, a rabbi has been sentenced to two years of probation for skimming charity funds.
Catholic bishops from Miami and Dallas are making a friendly wager on the NBA Finals. Is corrupt football coach Jim Tressel an evangelical embarrassment? India’s leading yoga guru, Swami Ramdev, is declaring a hunger strike against governmental corruption. No word on how the guru feels about NCAA recruitment violations. Bernice King left Eddie Long’s church in the wake of Long settling his scandal out of court.
Texas is ridding public school graduations of prayers and religious terminology. In New York, a federal court ruled that the City of New York could block congregations from using public school buildings for Sunday worship services.
Finally, religious leaders want baseball players to know that Jesus wouldn’t chew tobacco.