Religion in the News: 10 ways religion shaped the news in 2012
Connecticut school shooting • gun control • gun violence
(RNS) From the nuns to the “nones,” religion dominated the headlines throughout 2012. Faith was a persistent theme in the presidential race, and moral and ethical questions surrounded budget debates, mass killings and an unexpected focus on “religious freedom.”Here are 10 ways religion made news in 2012:
Suffer the children: gun violence as a new “pro-life” issue —A shooting rampage that killed 12 and injured more than 50 others inside a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo., couldn’t do it. Neither could a gunman who murdered six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. But a hail of bullets inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. – which took the lives of 20 first-graders, and six adults – was finally able to mobilize religious activists on gun control after years of failing to gain traction.
‘None of the above’: America’s fast-growing nonreligious community
Thousands of atheists and unbelievers, including Alberto Valdez from Del Rio, Texas, gathered Saturday on the National Mall for the Reason Rally. RNS photo by Tyrone Turner
A startling one in five Americans (19 percent) now claim no religious affiliation, up from 6 percent in 1990. The so-called “nones” include unbelieving atheists who staged a massive “Reason Rally” in Washington, but two-thirds of the unaffiliated say they believe in God or a universal spirit. Almost nine in 10 say they’re just not looking for a faith to call home.
The “nones,” however, shouldn’t be confused with the other big newsmaker of 2012: the nuns, who found themselves facing a Vatican crackdown and accusations that the umbrella group of most U.S. sisters was embracing “radical feminist themes” and not working strongly enough against abortion and same-sex marriage. The reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was seen as a hostile takeover by many rank-and-file Catholics, who rallied to the sisters’ defense.