Malala Yousafzai By continually reminding everyone that her convictions around education and peace come from God and Islam, Malala proved again and again that her faith was stronger than the Taliban who attempted to kill her.
Pastors In Hoodies For Trayvon Congregants across the country were led by their pastors who wore hoodies to services in a show of prophetic outrage in the case of Trayvon Martin.
Prabhjot Singh This Columbia Professor was attacked near his home with shouts of 'Get Osama', yet his response to his attackers was full of the kind of grace that truly could change the world.
Anat Hoffman Anat Hoffman has been seeking gender equality at the Kotel for over 25 years. This year the Women of the Wall saw some remarkable gains as the police, who had traditionally arrested them, began instead to protect them. But the fight is far from over.
Frank Schaefer Rev. Frank Schaefer performed the wedding for his gay son and was put on trial for it in the Methodist Church. Refusing to recant his actions, he was stripped of his credentials, showing sacrifice of his own ministry and career the for principles of love and equality for LGBT people - especially his son.
Tulsi Gabbard Rep. Tulsi Gabbard made US history in 2013 becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress, and the Iraq war vet swore in on her personal copy of the Bhagavad Gita. Gabbard was elected to the seat of Sen. Mazie Hirono, a former Hawaii representative who is the first Buddhist in the Senate.
Sunday Assembly Founders British comedian Sanderson Jones co-founded The Sunday Assembly, an atheist service held at a converted church, at the beginning of 2013 that sought to have the benefits of church without the God. The movement has already grown with some accusing Jones of starting the first mega-atheist church.
Kidnapped Bishops Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Metropolitan Boulous Yazigi were kidnapped in Syria on April 22, 2013 and their fate is still unknown. They are two important, unfortunate examples of the increasing targeting of Christians in the Middle East.
Desmond Tutu "I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place." - With his strident advocacy for LGBT people and animal rights, along with his role in the life and memory of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu remains one of the most beloved, and relevant religious leaders of our time.
Reza Aslan Reza Aslan had a best selling book about Jesus.. that's not really a big event. But his conversation on Fox News when he defended his right, as a non-Christian, to write about Jesus, became a major news story and sparked the very good conversation about how and why scholars write about the religions of other people.
Nelson Mandela The story of Nelson Mandela's life includes the influence - both positively and negatively - of the Church on his own life and the life of South Africa. Even more, the prophetic witness Mandela displayed during both the liberation of South Africa and the subsequent efforts at reconciliation contain religious elements on their own.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (50th anniversary) One of the most present religious figures in America over the last year was one lived and preached a half century ago. In observing the 50th anniversary of the 'March on Washington', Americans paused to remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s eloquent insistence on justice, while recognizing how far America has come, and how far there is left to go.
Pope Francis Pope Francis was the most talked about person on the internet and was named Time Magazine's person of the year. From his election in March to this date he is the most fascinating and controversial religious figure in the world today, and the fascination -- and controversy -- is only just beginning.