Friday News Roundup: A bit of all that


It was one of those weeks. Lots of interesting headlines, but no sweeping themes or trends. So, here’s a bit of all that.

As usual Islam is in the headlines:

And it wouldn’t be a news roundup without the latest studies:

  • A new study in Reproductive Health claims that teenage birth rates are higher in states with greater levels of religious beliefs, possibly due to a disapproval of contraception. The study’s author, Joseph Strayhorn, said “The magnitude of the correlation between religiosity and teen birth rate astonished us. Teen birth is more highly correlated with some of the religiosity items on the Religious Landscapes Survey than some of those items are correlated with each other” (US News & World Report reports). Yikes. Lisa Belkin of the New York Times weighs in.
  • A poll was released by the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, comparing conservative and progressive religious activists. Most of the results were unsurprising. Conservative activists are almost exclusively Christian while progressive activists are more diverse. In terms of issue positions, conservative religious activists gave priority to abortion and same-sex marriage, while progressives prioritized many different issues including the environment, economic justice and peace. Reuters reports and Religion Dispatches weighs in.

President Obama’s aides met with the Dalai Lama on Tuesday, and China was not pleased. The government in Beijing views the Dalai Lama as a separatist leader who wants to divide the country, and criticizes any states who meet with him. Therefore, Obama has agreed to put off his visit with the Tibetan leader until after his trip to China in November.

In other news, Religion reporting is losing its prominence in American newspapers, Baha’is face discrimination in both Egypt and Iran, and atheists put their faith in twitter.

To those who are celebrating,  Shana Tova and Eid Mubarak! To the rest of you, have a fabulous weekend.