- Churches and faith-based agencies respond to Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Southeast Asia and a devastating earthquake in Pakistan.
- Papal transition. John Paul II, the celebrity pope of the modern era, died April 2. In 26 years he helped topple communism, decried materialism and campaigned against abortion and the death penalty. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was elected pope April 19 and promised, as Benedict XVI, to continue John Paul's path.
- Terri Schiavo Dies: Controversy over pulling feeding tube and Congress's response sparks firestorm regarding end-of-life decisions and evangelical politics. Terri Schiavo, who spent 15 years in a persistent vegetative state sustained by artificial food and hydration, died in a Florida hospice March 31 after her feeding tube was removed.
- Churches and homosexuality: Disputes about homosexuality continue to split the global Anglican Communion, as well as cause tensions among Evangelical Lutherans, United Methodists and, in a dispute that finally went public, the American Baptists. Also, Pope Benedict XVI approved a long-awaited Vatican "instruction" that sexually active gay men should not be admitted to seminary or ordained. Vatican releases long-awaited document on gay seminarians, barring from ordination those who are actively homosexual, have "deeply rooted" gay tendencies or oppose the church's teachings on the subject.
- Advocates of "intelligent design" continue to push for the right to question Darwinism in public schools, but suffer stinging defeats in Pennsylvania. Public schools also were arenas for conflict as supporters of "intelligent design," which holds that life is too complex to be explained without a "designer," tried to unseat evolution in science classes. The efforts succeeded in Kansas, where the State Board of Education reset science standards to downplay Darwin.
- U.S. Supreme Court approves posting of Ten Commandments outside the Texas state capitol and disapproves their posting inside Kentucky courthouses - both by 5-4 votes. A federal judge reinstates a ban on "under God" in Pledge of Allegiance in three California school districts. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on two very different displays of the Ten Commandments - approving one outside the Texas State Capitol but blocking displays inside Kentucky courthouses.
- Supreme Court Vacancies Trigger Debate: Voices on the religious right and left question President Bush's three nominees to the Supreme Court, with some evangelicals supporting and some opposing born-again candidate Harriet Miers. Evangelical groups were loud and clear that they expected Bush to fill two U.S. Supreme Court vacancies with "strict constructionists" - a phrase liberals called code for opposition to abortion and privacy rights. Bush named John Roberts, a Roman Catholic, to the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist's seat and another Catholic, Samuel Alito, to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. If confirmed in January, Alito would be the fifth Catholic on the current court.
- Graham Leads Final Crusade: New York City marks the end of renowned evangelist's public ministry. Billy Graham holds a final evangelistic campaign in New York City.
- Stem-Cell Research Worries Many: Cloning and funding continue to grow; evangelical and religious opinion seems split but there is plenty here to concern the religious community into the future.
- Tmatt suggests, like Elijah, “Guess I really am alone in thinking that terrorism and the Paris rioting remained one of the major religion news stories of the year. I agree with Tmatt and even attempted a bit of a summary in my blog.
I need finally to mention that Narnia Hits the Theaters!
He has risen, indeed!