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By Andrea K. Walker and Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | January 25, 2012
Church officials and other religious-based groups are gearing up to fight an order by the Obama administration that they include birth control in employee health plans — a requirement some say could threaten the protection of other moral beliefs and practices. "Most civilized nations have allowed deeply held convictions by religious groups in these areas to be respected. I don't know why our president is not doing so after speaking [Tuesday] night so wonderfully about compromise and all of us working together and joining together," Cardinal-designate Edwin F. O'Brien, leader of the Baltimore archdiocese since 2007, said Wednesday.
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HEALTH
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | August 22, 2014
Under increasing legal and political pressure, the Obama administration issued a new rule Friday designed to ensure that female employees have access to birth control while accommodating religious employers that object to covering it through their health insurance plans. But the latest attempt at a compromise — which comes in response to recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions — was quickly criticized by religious groups, including the Catonsville-based Little Sisters of the Poor, for not fully addressing their concerns.
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NEWS
By Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | June 11, 2013
The two Catholic parishes led by the Rev. Robert Wojtek could pay more than $6,000 in new city stormwater fees later this year — an amount equal to an entire Sunday collection at his Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Highlandtown. To Wojtek, that means limiting the parishes' ability to provide services, such as letting community groups use the Highlandtown church hall at minimal cost or giving out food at the pantry behind St. Michael and St. Patrick Church in Upper Fells Point. "One way or another, it's coming down to the bottom line," he said.
NEWS
March 25, 2014
Religion should never be allowed to be used as an excuse to opt out of civic and legal responsibilities that are required of society as a whole. Property taxes should be paid by those who own "houses of worship" exactly is required by personal house owners. Religious institutions should be just as responsible for the upkeep of the Chesapeake Bay, for example, as the general public. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the United States and religious beliefs should not be allowed to trump this.
FEATURES
By Matthew Hay Brown | matthew.brown@baltsun.com | January 17, 2010
The Revs. Tracy Bruce and Stephen Davenport travel to Haiti every January to visit the music school in Port-au-Prince, the church in St. Etienne and the other development projects they support in the poorest nation in the Americas. But with the school and the church now destroyed, and no word yet from many of the friends with whom the husband-and-wife Episcopal clergy members have worked over the decades, they expect this month's trip to be different. "There's nothing that's coming out of Haiti at all in terms of communication right now from anybody on the ground," Bruce, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Glyndon, said Friday.
NEWS
By Baltimoresun.com Staff | February 19, 2004
Saying people should have the option to see the movie if they choose to, The Senator Theatre announced it will begin screening Mel Gibson's controversial "The Passion of the Christ" on Feb. 25. Thomas Kiefaber, owner of The Senator, said in a statement that the theater has received feedback from people who support their decision to show the movie and from those who do not want the movie shown. "Passion," which depicts the final days of Christ's life, has drawn criticism from those who say it is anti-Semitic.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF | February 21, 2003
A coalition of religious groups has started an interfaith community development fund that will lend money to developers who build businesses, housing and community centers in needy neighborhoods throughout the region. The nonprofit Faith Fund has raised $750,000 to address a longtime regional conundrum - affordable housing tends to lie inside the city limits, while new jobs cluster in the far-flung suburbs. The organization hopes the loan pool will grow to as much as $20 million in as little as five years.
NEWS
By James Oliphant and James Oliphant,Chicago Tribune | September 16, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Among the reports of abuses by government officials at the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, perhaps few inflamed Muslims worldwide as much as allegations that copies of the Quran were dumped into filthy prison toilets. Now four former detainees are suing those U.S. officials over those very allegations - and employing a novel argument to do it. Before a federal appeals court in Washington on Friday, they argued that a law passed in the 1990s to emphasize the importance of religion in American life gives them a right to recover damages for torture and faith-based humiliation.
NEWS
By Kathy Lally and Kathy Lally,SUN STAFF | February 17, 1997
They spent days agonizing over budgets, they baby-sat and wrote resumes, they networked to find jobs. They even did the laundry. Volunteers from two-dozen Anne Arundel County churches took on an extraordinary challenge: Using a family's yearlong welfare grant, they hoped to make them self-sufficient in six months.Today, 2 1/2 years and 4,600 volunteer hours later, 22 of the 26 families they helped have left public assistance -- and Maryland is now part of a nascent social trend. Here, and across the country, government has begun to renegotiate the unspoken social contract with its citizens, asking society's other institutions to assume more responsibility for solving the problems of the poor.
NEWS
By Michael Stroh and Michael Stroh,SUN STAFF | July 31, 2005
The names of the sick arrived at the Towson monastery by e-mail. Later in the day, gathering for Vespers, Sister Patricia Scanlan and the other Carmelite nuns would solemnly recite each new name aloud, beseeching God to restore these strangers to health. Each day, millions of religious faithful around the globe make holy appeals like these in behalf of sick friends, relatives and even those unknown to them. Most take it on faith that their prayers make a difference. But now a handful of researchers are wondering: Do prayers from afar really have the power to heal?
NEWS
By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | September 17, 2013
Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman has scheduled a series of public meetings on the implementation of a stormwater fee, while at the same time the County Council is considering an amendment to the fee that would essentially exempt all nonprofit organizations. Neuman said last week that her office continues to get phone calls and emails from property owners with questions about the fees, which were imposed based on a state mandate. The county's first fees were included in the most recent round of property tax bills.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | June 27, 2013
The storied Milford Mill Swim Club in Baltimore County sold at auction Thursday for $775,000 to a religious group, said Dan Billig, managing member of A. J. Billig & Co. Auctioneers. He declined to disclose the name of the buyer. Other bidders included two or three developers and another nonprofit, with bidding starting at $500,000, Billig said. The 19-acre property, which includes indoor and outdoor pools plus a spring-fed quarry lake, had been used a location for "The Buddy Deane Show" and movies by directors John Waters and Barry Levinson.
NEWS
June 18, 2013
In Baltimore City, the rain tax will be a tax on the homeless and poor ("Religious groups pushing for city stormwater fee reduction," June 11). Churches and non profits located in the city will be forced to raise money for the exorbitant rain tax. Instead of asking for donations to fill the food pantries and provide meals for the poor, the churches and non profits will be collecting money for the rain tax. A tax which creates a slush fund for "public...
NEWS
By Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | June 11, 2013
The two Catholic parishes led by the Rev. Robert Wojtek could pay more than $6,000 in new city stormwater fees later this year — an amount equal to an entire Sunday collection at his Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Highlandtown. To Wojtek, that means limiting the parishes' ability to provide services, such as letting community groups use the Highlandtown church hall at minimal cost or giving out food at the pantry behind St. Michael and St. Patrick Church in Upper Fells Point. "One way or another, it's coming down to the bottom line," he said.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, Baltimore Sun | September 5, 2012
  Maryland atheists may soon have a lobbying group of their own. The Secular Coalition for America , a nonprofit that lobbies of behalf of atheists, agnostics, free thinkers and "other nontheistic Americans," announced plans Wednesday to organize a Maryland chapter to advocate in Annapolis for strong separation of church and state. The group put out a call for secular-minded Marylanders, regardless of religious beliefs, to take part in an organizational teleconference Sept.
NEWS
August 8, 2012
The defection of Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab this week is the latest blow to President Bashir Assad's increasingly desperate struggle to remain in office. Mr. Hijab was the highest-ranking Sunni member of the government, which is dominated by Mr. Assad's minority Alawite sect, as well as the highest-ranking government official to renounce his position so far. While the departure is not expected to cause the government to collapse, it does signal a weakening of the Sunni majority's loyalty to Assad regime.
NEWS
By David L. Greene and Susan Baer and David L. Greene and Susan Baer,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | December 13, 2002
WASHINGTON - In a victory for churches and other religious groups that do business with the federal government, President Bush signed an order yesterday allowing taxpayer money to flow to organizations that discriminate in their hiring on the basis of religion. Critics called Bush's surprise action an assault on the Constitution's separation of church and state. Speaking to religious leaders in Philadelphia, the president declared that "faith-based" groups play a vital role in communities by providing social services, from feeding the hungry to ending drug addictions.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | February 20, 1997
WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court justices expressed worry yesterday that Congress might undo some major constitutional rulings if a 1993 law that would rewrite a court ruling on religious freedom is upheld.In a spirited hearing that delved into the separate roles the Constitution gives the court and Congress, the justices rigorously questioned the lawyers in a case involving a historic church in a San Antonio suburb.At issue is the constitutionality of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Congress passed the law nearly four years ago to try to give religious groups more protection against government controls than the court had granted in a 1990 ruling.
NEWS
April 17, 2012
Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s recent column about gay marriage ("Drawing a line at same-sex marriage," April 15) is rife with contradictions. For starters, he says that a ballot initiative opposing gay marriage will be supported by a coalition of religious groups and social conservatives. He then dismisses the notion that opposition to gay marriages isn't discriminatory or fueled by religious intolerance. He rationalizes his position by saying he endured the slings and arrows of outrage from social conservatives and religious groups.
NEWS
By Erik Maza, The Baltimore Sun | March 9, 2012
A controversial student group at Towson University has again drawn criticism from other students who claim it is racist. But school administrators say they won't be taking any action against the group. On Saturday night, the group, Youth for Western Civilization, chalked messages that included the words "White Pride" at several visible locations on campus, including the Student Union and Freedom Square, said its president, Matthew Heimbach. When discovered Monday, the messages angered other student groups, who saw them as having nationalist connotations.
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