Acton Institute Powerblog

Top Religion News Stories Of 2013

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2013 certainly had its fair share of religion in the news. Despite the fact that most major news sources know little-to-nothing about religion, they still report on it with gusto. Jeremy Lott, editor-in-chief at RealClearPolitics has put together a list of the top 14 religion news stories of the past year. (You can read them all here.)

Here are some highlights:

    • The Tale of Two Popes. Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by abdicating, and the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the name Pope Francis, was a huge story. The fact that Pope Francis seems to have a knack for saying and doing provocative things keeps him in the headlines.
    • The Final Sermon of Billy Graham. America’s preacher, now 95, gave his last sermon this year. “He warned, ‘our country’s in great need of spiritual awakening.'”

  • Mormon Women. Some women in mainstream LDS fought to wear pants to Sunday worship (still taboo) and want to discuss the possibility of female bishops. Outside of mainstream Mormonism, polygamy is gaining ground, led by the cheerful faces of TLC’s “Sister Wives” TV show.
  • Duck Dynasty Takes On Their Own Network. The hugely-popular A&E show, “Duck Dynasty,” which features a deeply religious and wealthy family in America’s South, stirred things up late in the year when the family’s patriarch, Phil Robertson, gave a no-holds-barred interview in GQ magazine that gave no doubt as to where he stood on the issue of homosexuality, among other topics. A&E responded by “suspending” him, then took him off suspension when fans of the show let the network know how displeased they were with the decision.
  • Boston Marathon Bombing. Two brothers set off a bomb at the April Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring more than 250 others. The two brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, followed a radical Islam that led them to carry out the bombing.
  • Rob Bell Keeps Changing His Mind. Once the leader of Mars Hill megachurch in Michigan, Bell has reversed many of his former evangelical views, supporting gay marriage and espousing more “universalist” views.

Read “14 Religion Newsmakers of 2013” at RealClearReligion.


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Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.