What were the top religion news stories of 2009?

December 17, 2009
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Hindu lights Diwali candles in Agartala, India, 17 Oct 2009/Jayanta Dey

It’s Top 10 time again. As 2009 nears its end, Time magazine and the Religion Newswriters Association in the U.S. have produced their lists of the main religion news stories of the year. They take quite different views.

U.S. approves first “ethical” embryonic stem cell lines

December 3, 2009

stem-cellsThe U.S. government has approved the first 13 batches of human embryonic stem cells, enabling researchers using them to get millions of dollars in federal funding as promised by President Barack Obama in March.

Pilgrims snub H1N1 flu and flock to Saudi Arabia

November 10, 2009

haj-flu (Photo: Palestinian pilgrim gets vaccinated in Gaza Strip, 6 Nov 2009/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

Standing in the middle of a long queue at Jeddah airport, Mahdi Sharif is one of millions of Muslims waiting to enter Saudi Arabia to start the annual haj pilgrimage despite a global outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus.

Health experts say haj pilgrims risk H1N1 flu wave

October 29, 2009

grand-mosque-mecca2

Waves of H1N1 swine flu spread by some three million pilgrims travelling to and from Mecca for next month’s haj threaten to pile pressure on healthcare systems around the world, disease experts said on Thursday.

Global report shows abortion rates falling

October 14, 2009

abortionA new study into global abortion rates was released on Tuesday by the U.S.-based Guttmacher Institute, a think-tank which studies sexual and reproductive health.

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

Jewish Custom in the Time of Swine Flu

August 13, 2009

ISRAEL/In Israel, the death count for the H1N1, or swine flu, outbreak reached 7 yesterday, and for some citizens, fighting the virus has taken on some religious dimensions.

Flu fears impact worship services

May 1, 2009

Flu fears are already changing the face of some religious services, from Mexico where church gatherings are discouraged to the United States where wine shared from a common cup has been suspended in some parishes. We’ve already blogged about this but offer more detail from other places here.

No prayer against swine flu?

May 1, 2009

swine-flu-mass-1Jim Forsyth, our stringer in San Antonio, Texas, reports:

San Antonio has been hard hit by the swine flu, but if local Roman Catholics go to Mass to pray for deliverance from the disease, they may not get the relief they had hoped for. Archbishop Jose Gomez has issued a letter to priests in the archdiocese recommending they make changes in the Mass because of the swine flu outbreak.

If swine flu isn’t kosher in Israel, is it halal in the Muslim world?

April 27, 2009

Our Jerusalem bureau had this interesting little story today about the swine flu outbreak:

Vatican edits pope on condoms and AIDS solutions

March 19, 2009

pope-in-planePope Benedict’s comments about condoms on his flight to Cameroon have made headlines worldwide. They have been quoted extensively on many websites run by news organisations and also by the Vatican. But that hasn’t stopped the same Vatican from editing them after the fact to try to make them sound more acceptable.