WEEK IN RELIGION

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the body that governs America’s second-largest stream of Judaism, recently sanctioned the practice of welcoming non-Jews as members. Although some Conservative synagogues have already welcomed non-Jews, the general assembly of the USCJ voted, 94-8, to allow individual congregations to decide if they will extend membership to non-Jews. Vice chair of the USCJ’s Commission on Community and Covenant Rabbi Stewart Vogel said synagogues should be open to those who wish to be a part of the Jewish community. “We encourage a spirit of welcoming that can strengthen the connections of all,” Vogel said. The Commission on Community and Covenant was convened last year to find ways to engage interfaith couples. The Conservative movement considers itself to be between the Reform movement (the largest street of Judaism in the U.S. and has less strict interpretation of Jewish law) and the more traditional Orthodox Judaism. Although Conservative Judaism ordains women rabbis and sanctifies the marriage of gay couples, it currently does not allow its clergy to preside at interfaith weddings.

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SURVEY SAYS

Most white evangelicals ‘very concerned’ about Islamic extremism

According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of Protestants said they were “very concerned” about extremism in the name of Islam in the U.S., while 44 percent of Catholics and 27 percent of religious “nones” said they were “very concerned.”

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GOOD BOOK?

“Lies We Believe About God” by Wm. Paul Young

Wm. Paul Young has been called a heretic for the ways he vividly portrays God’s love through his novels. Here he shares twenty-eight commonly uttered and sometimes seemingly innocuous things we say about God. Young exposes these as lies that keep us from having a full, loving relationship with our Creator. With personal anecdotes and sharing the compassion readers felt from the “Papa” portrayed in “The Shack,” Young encourages readers to think anew about important issues including sin, religion, hell, politics, identity, creation, human rights, and helping us discover God’s deep and abiding love.

— Atria Books

THE WORD

ecumenism: A modern theological and social term referring to the effort to promote understanding and cooperation among diverse Christian groups.

— ReligionStylebook.com

RELIGION AROUND THE WORLD

According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious makeup of Fiji is:

— Protestant: 45 percent

— Hindu: 27.9 percent

— Other Christian: 10.4 percent

— Roman Catholic: 9.1 percent

— Muslim: 6.3 percent

— Sikh: 0.3 percent

— Other: 0.3 percent

— None: 0.8 percent

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