This week showcased the best and worst of religion.. but we'll let you decide which stories are which.
The Vatican held its first conference on sexual abuse, "Towards Healing and Renewal." Clergy from around the world, and a handful of victims of sexual abuse attended the conference. In related news, retired Cardinal Egan regretted apologizing for how sexual abuse cases were handled while he was Bishop of Bridgeport in 2002. He claimed that he was not obligated to report abuse claims, and said, "I don't think we did anything wrong," the AP reports. Meanwhile, Obama's revised birth control policy has received support from a key Catholic group, the Catholic Health Organization. According to the new policy, religious employers will not be obligated to provide contraception coverage to their employees; instead the insurance companies will be directly responsible for providing free contraception, the AP reports.
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On the flip side, the Department of Education recently determined that employees whose work is related to "religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing" will not qualify for loan forgiveness as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. Clergy members across the country have launched an informal campaign to qualify for student loan forgiveness.
The Air Force removed the word 'God' from the logo of an Air Force acquisitions office, after objections by the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. Many members of Congress are upset at this move; 36 of them signed a letter to the Air Force objecting.
Fr. Greg Boyle, Jesuit priest and founder and Executive Director of Homeboy Industries offered HuffPost Religion "Two Minutes of Wisdom" talking about his work and the motivation behind it. Check it out! His work inspired HufffPost Religion to launch Faith Inspires a weekly feature that will highlight people of faith who are creating an impact in society in this country and around the world. On that note, if you want to highlight the work of a religious or spiritual group, please email us at religion[at]huffingtonpost[dot]com or tweet us @HuffPostRelig with #FaithInspires.
Oprah Winfrey visited Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn to learn about their daily life and spiritual devotion. In a conversation with Rabbi Moti Seligson, she surprised us (and herself?) by saying, "I am more Hasidic Jew than I thought."
Meanwhile, Tamil Hindus celebrated the festival of Thaipusam. Unique to this celebration, devotees undergo extreme bodily mortification once their prayers are answered. HuffPost Religion has a gallery of striking photos -- check them out!
Noted singer Whitney Houston died on 11th of Feb. She was 48 years old. The night before she died, she sang, "Yes, Jesus Loves Me." Rest in peace, Whitney.
Finally, HuffPost Religion created a four-round bracket challenge to determine YOUR favorite Jesus movie. We are now in the second round of the challenge and you have until the 13th of Feb. 9 a.m. to ensure that your favorite Jesus movie make it to the penultimate round.