Religious police found in nearly one-in-ten countries worldwide
As of 2012, at least 17 nations have police that enforce religious norms. Religion police forces are most common in the Middle East and North Africa, and are also found in the Asia-Pacific and in sub-Saharan Africa.
Support for gay marriage up among black Protestants in last year, flat among white evangelicals
New Pew Research Center data from 2014 show that just within the past year, growing shares of some Christian groups favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Controversy over new Israeli law highlights growing ultra-Orthodox population
Ultra-Orthodox Jews have been at the center of a controversy in Israel over whether they should be subject to the draft. Their counterparts in the U.S. tend to be more insular than other Jews.
U.S. Catholics more hopeful than expectant of changes to church teachings
Many Catholics would like to see changes on specific church doctrines but they are less certain that those changes will happen, even under Pope Francis.
Is the Mormon Church expanding the role of women?
Pew Research Center surveys show that Mormons are more supportive of traditional gender roles for women, and against allowing women to be priests, but the Church is taking some steps to expand women’s roles.
Strong support for Israel in U.S. cuts across religious lines
The American Israel Public Affairs Council meets in Washington starting Sunday to lobby on issues affecting that country, and it can look to American Christians as a source of support for Israel.
Arizona bill sparks debate about religious objections to gay marriage
The bill would allow business owners to cite religious beliefs as a reason for denying services – including to same-sex couples – without fear of legal retribution.
Support for death penalty drops among Americans
More than half of Americans favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder, down from 78% in 1996.
Gay rights in Russia and the former Soviet republics
The upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi have cast a spotlight on a recently-enacted Russian law banning the distribution of gay “propaganda” to minors. However, among the 15 countries that used to comprise the Soviet Union, Russia is not the only state to restrict LGBT rights.
Sochi Olympics shine spotlight on Russia’s Muslim population
Security has been among the main storylines leading up to the Winter Olympics, set to begin in Sochi, Russia. Sochi is not far from the city of Volgograd, the target of several recent suicide bombings, and according to The Associated Press, up to 100,000 security personnel have been deployed to guard against potential terrorist acts. […]