Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Friday, December 15, 2006

Top Stories

Members of the Religious Newswriters Association -- including me -- voted on what they considered the biggest faith-oriented news stories of the year. The results show just how little my fellow religious newswriters know.

Ha ha! Just kidding. Actually, I think I voted much the same way my colleagues did, with a couple of exceptions.
The RNA's list went like this:

1. The Islamic uproar about the Danish cartoons mocking Mohammed
2. Pope Benedict XVI's inflammatory comments toward Muslims, which linked Islam and violence
3. The ongoing struggles within the Episcopal Church, including the election of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori 4. Ted Haggard's dismissal from New Life Church after allegations of gay sex and drug use
5. Candidates backed by the Religious Right lose their foothold in Washington, D.C.

My No. 1 story was Ted Haggard, of course -- and not just because I've written about 20 stories on the issue in the past 45 days. I also ranked Pope Benedict's comments lower. I felt that his anti-Islamic comments -- pulled from the ramblings of a medieval scholar, I believe -- were taken a bit out of context.

But looking at the RNA's top five, it's interesting to note that two of the five deal explicitly with tension between Christianity (and, by extension, the Western world) and Islam; the other two focus on tension within Christianity over sexual identity; and the fifth item, frankly, has some roots in both.

Neither of these meta-issues are going away in 2007, and I think both could grow in scope and importance. I think that an understanding of religion -- and religious motivations -- is crucial to understanding the world these days, and it'd be wise for us all to take notice.

To read the RNA's complete list, go here.


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