Religion plays an influential role in our daily lives, our communities, and the world. Looking back at 2010, once again, faith-centered stories have shaped our culture and shaped us. Here are the top 10 religion news stories from 2010:
Faith-based groups respond to Haitian quake
A massive 7.0 earthquake hit just south of Port-au-Prince on January 12. The quake destroyed buildings, tore down walls, and upended a city. The disaster was horrific, but many faith-based organizations—including World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, Compassion International, and many other churches, non-profits and individuals—took action to help raise funds to bring emergency medical treatment and aid to families and children affected by the quake. Haiti still has many needs as aid workers seek to confront the corruption inside the government and halt the spread of the cholera outbreak resulting from the disaster.
The Pope’s shocking comments about sexuality
The Catholic Church has long held a firm stance on the forbidden use of contraception. However, in a shocking statement, Pope Benedict XVI said that the use of condoms might be acceptable in some circumstances to help prevent the spread of AIDS. The Pope’s comments were hotly debated and created a renewed discussion surrounding sexuality and the use of contraceptives within the Catholic community.
Missionaries detained for smuggling orphans
Laura Silsby, a businesswoman and missionary from Boise, Idaho, and 10 other Americans were arrested for child abduction and criminal conspiracy after attempting to take 33 Haitian children out of Haiti in January. All of the Americans were eventually released and Silsby was convicted on a lesser charge of arranging illegal travel. The events surrounding the arrests caused many discussions within the church about the ethical nature of short-term missions, justice, and the limits of compassion.
Debate surrounding Park51
When an Islamic group made plans to build a cultural center near Ground Zero, the nation debated whether it was appropriate to erect a center with Islamic roots so close to the location where many Americans lost their lives on 9/11 from radical Islamic extremists.
Pastor Terry Jones threatens to burn Quran
Pastor Terry Jones stated his intentions to publicly burn the Quran on the anniversary of September 11 due to the building plans of the Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero. However, after much debate, Jones said he would not burn the Quran: “Not today, not ever.”
Episcopal Church ordains first lesbian bishop
Homosexuality remained a divisive issue within the religious community in 2010 as the Diocese of Los Angeles ordained the Rev. Mary Douglas Glasspol, the second openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. Many Anglican Church members worldwide disagreed and called the decision a move that defied scriptural teaching.
The faith of President Obama
The debate surrounding Obama’s faith was a hot topic in 2010. According to a survey by the Pew Forum and Public Life, only about a third of the nation believes Obama is a Christian, while close to 18 percent believe he’s Muslim. At a political event in New Mexico, President Barack Obama declared his Christian faith, saying even though he didn’t grow up going to church, he is now a Christian “by choice.”
Answered prayer for Chilean miners
Many considered the rescue of 33 miners in Chile a miracle. The miners were trapped a half-mile underground for 69 days as family, friends, and people around the world watched and prayed for their survival. When the miners finally reached the surface, many of them came out wearing T-shirts that read, “Thank You, Lord” on the front with Psalm 95:4—In his hand are the depths of the earth—on the back.
Crystal Cathedral files Chapter 11
Rev. Robert H. Schuller’s megachurch in southern California, the Crystal Cathedral, filed for bankruptcy protection in October. It’s reported that the church owed $48 million. In response, the senior pastor of the 10,000-member church, Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman, stayed positive, saying, “Tough times never last, and every storm comes to an end.”
Accusations against Bishop Eddie Long
Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia was accused of sexually abusing four young men who were a part of Long’s mentoring group. The men said Long abused his authority and enticed them with material things in exchange for sex. Bishop Eddie Long has denied the allegations and any wrongdoing in his relationships with the young men.
Francis Chan leaves Cornerstone Church to pursue God
John Piper takes Sabbatical to Work on Personal Issues
Pastor orders 50 leaders to delete Facebook
Strippers Protest Church
What stories would you add to the list? What’s your vote for the top religion news story from 2010?