Death of Osama bin Laden heads 2011's top religion stories

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

Dec. 30, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.

Some of the year's foremost media stories were generated by religious-inspired events. The Religion Newswriters Association recently polled national religion beat journalists, and compiled a Top 10 list of the year's leading faith stories. The Advocate similarly compiled a list of the most-read religion articles using online analytics to measure website clicks. Here's a look at the Top 10 national and local religion stories, in order of popularity.


1. United States military operation kills Osama bin Laden. (May)

2. Congressional hearings held on civil rights of American Muslims, focussing on alleged radicalism and crimes against Muslims. (March)

3. Catholic Bishop Robert Finn, of Kansas City, Mo., indicted on charges of failing to protect children, after waiting five months to report hundreds of child pornography on a priest's computer. (October)

4. A new translation of the Roman Missal introduced to English-speaking Catholic Churches around the world. (November)

5. Presbyterian Church (USA) votes to allow ordination of openly gay and lesbian clergy in same-sex relationships. (May)

6. Pope Benedict XVI beatified Pope John Paul II in a ceremony attended by 1.5 million in St. Peter's Square in Rome. Beatification is the last step before sainthood. (May)

7. California-based Christian radio broadcaster, Harold Camping, attracts attention with Bible-based numerology predictions that the end of the world would be May 21, 2011, then again on Oct. 21, 2011. (May)

8. Michigan-based pastor and author, Rob Bell, stirs controversy and discussion among evangelical groups with his book, "Love Wins." The book offers a softer understanding of hell than originally believed in Christian circles. (March)

9. Mississippians voted against The Personhood Initiative's ballot item, which declared human life begins at conception. (November)

10. The 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, first published on May 5, 1611. (May)


1. Five things you didn't know about the religious ties to Thanksgiving, offered a historical overview of the Christian roots to the Thanksgiving holiday. (November)

2. Nine things you didn't know about the season of Lent, discusses the history and traditions of Lenten season in Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches. (March)

3. Six things you didn't know about Scientology, offers historical and explanatory information on the Church of Scientology. (June)

4. Victoria high schools come together in unison at Faith Family Church's E3 Back to School Bash. (August)

5. Victoria Diocese Bishop David Fellhauer discusses liturgical changes to the Roman Missal introduced to in English-speaking Catholic Churches around the world. (November)

6. Renegade Church in Victoria re-launches as mobile church at All Star Dance Academy. (October)

7. Jewish High Holy Days ends with Yom Kippur, examines traditions of the most sacred holidays in Judaism. (September)

8. Faith Academy graduating seniors discuss how faith assisted them through high school. (May)

9. John Wesley United Methodist Church inmate luncheon receives private donation to stay afloat another year. (August)

10. Nazarene Church pastor Stephen Hundley, a 44-year-old felon-turned-reverend, discusses how God changed his life and heart for the church. (May)



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