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Top 10 religion stories of 2012

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Jan. 4, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 3, 2013 at 7:04 p.m.

A controversial sign on North Navarro and Stanly streets refers to Psalm 109:8, which reads, "May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership." Subsequent verses call for the destruction of the leader and his family. The sign was purchased by Milton H. Neitsch Jr., of Victoria.

Religion-inspired events frequented media headlines in 2012. Here's a review of some of the year's top headlines from around the globe. Results of the national religion stories were generated from an annual Religion Newswriters Association poll that took place Dec. 11-15 through a confidential online ballot.

The Advocate also compiled a list of the most popular religion stories from the Crossroads using online analytics to measure website clicks. Here are the top 20 religion stories of 2012.

SPECIAL NOTE: The No. 1 religion story in 2012 was the diverse religious clergy in Newtown, Conn., consoling a mournful community following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where shooter Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six adult staff members Dec. 14. This event occurred after the polling was complete and was, therefore, not included in the results below.


1.U.S. Catholic bishops lead opposition to Obamacare requirement that insurance coverage for contraception be provided for employees. The government backs down a bit but not enough to satisfy the opposition.

2. A Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey shows that "nones" is the fastest-growing religious group in the United States, rising to 19.6 percent of the population.

3. The circulation of an anti-Islam film trailer, "Innocence of Muslims," causes unrest in several countries, leading to claims that it inspired the fatal attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya. President Obama, at the U.N., calls for tolerance of blasphemy and respect as a two-way street.

4. Mitt Romney's Mormon faith turns out to be a virtual non-issue for white evangelical voters, who support him more strongly than they did John McCain in the U.S. presidential race.

5. Monsignor William Lynn, of Philadelphia, becomes the first senior Catholic official in the U.S. to be found guilty of covering up priestly child abuse; later Bishop Robert Finn, of Kansas City, Mo., becomes the first bishop to be found guilty of it.

6. The Vatican criticizes the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group of U.S. nuns, alleging they haven't supported church teaching on abortion, sexuality or women's ordination.

7. Voters OK same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington, bringing the total approving to nine states and the District of Columbia. Also, Minnesota defeats a ban on same-sex marriage after North Carolina approves one.

8. The Episcopal Church overwhelmingly adopts a trial ritual for blessing same-sex couples. Earlier, the United Methodists fail to vote on approving gay clergy, and the Presbyterians (USA) vote to study rather than sanction same-sex marriage ceremonies.

9. Six people are killed and three wounded at worship in a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee. The shooter, an Army veteran killed by police, is described as a neo-Nazi.

10.Southern Baptist Convention elects without opposition its first black president, the Rev. Fred Luter, of New Orleans.


1.Controversial "Pray for Obama" sign cites Psalms 109:8, "May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership," is posted on North Navarro Street.

11,268 page views online

2.Victoria family writes poem to the Advocate requesting financial assistance to pay for funeral of dying father, Samuel Lane Jr.

7,195 page views online

3. Family honors slain soldier, Will Wearden, a 33-year-old former Army infantry specialist, who planned to become a priest.

3,657 page views online

4.The Rev. Andrew Schroer, of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Edna, stands in for Edna High School student, Kimberly Dean, during father-daughter dance at the prom.

2,661 pageviews online

5.After 27 years, Northside Baptist Church retires annual Christmas Pageant.

1,971 page views online

6.Instead of Northside Baptist Church hosting annual Christmas pageant, the church builds Habitat home.

1,125 page views online

7.All Saints Orthodox Mission church installs first iconostasis.

947 page views online

8. Husband and wife pastors of Covenant Life Center grow church in Crossroads.

935 page views online

9.Natalie Carver praises God for escaping car accident unscathed, after tree falls on the roof with her trapped inside.

741 page views online

10.Victoria's Jewish congregation commences their New Year with a new rabbi for High Holy Days.

564 page views online



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