Today's reads in religion:
-- At the National Prayer Breakfast, President Barack Obama announced that Joshua DuBois, who heads the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will be leaving his position on Friday. Michael Wear, who coordinated faith outreach during Obama's 2012 campaign and was DuBois' assistant, is also leaving. The Washington Post has more details.
-- The White House says Obama will travel to Israel in March. Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said in a statement that he was "greatly encouraged that President Obama will visit Israel in March, marking his second visit to the Jewish state, his first as President. The relationship between the United States and Israel has always been unbreakable, and the President's visit, soon after a new Israeli coalition government begins to tackle issues of pressing importance, serves to reinforce the strong bond between the United States and the Jewish State."
-- Vanity Fair profiles His Highness Prince Karim, the fourth Aga Khan.
-- A Lutheran pastor in Newtown, Conn. has been reprimanded by his denomination for praying at an interfaith service after the shooting (Religion News Service).
-- The LDS church has filed two briefs against same-sex marriage, one that supports DOMA and the other that supports a California measure that would restrict same-sex marriage laws.
-- We've heard a lot lately about the Becket Fund and its lawsuits on behalf of Catholic and evangelical groups against the Obama administration for the ever-shifting contraception mandate, but the organization also works with other religious groups. Here's an interesting piece on its site on soon-to-be-heard case regarding a Sikh wearing a kirpan (ceremonial dagger) in the office.
-- Here's one I missed: brewing beer at home is illegal in only two states, Alabama and Mississippi. Arguments pertaining to religion and morality are what have kept the practice from being legalized. CNN Radio has an interesting report.
-- Don't miss my friend Robert Samuels' wonderful story on the First Baptist Church of Washington, D.C. church getting a new pipe organ.
In death and end-of-life news: Are more or less people getting hospice care? And is it better or worse? It depends on what you read. A new study came out Wednesday that evaluated how people in the end-stages of life were being treated, and it found that more people were in hospice, but that they often ended up there too late and after aggressive treatment in the intensive care unit.
Here's how the headlines played out:
-- "More People Are Dying At Home And In Hospice, But They Are Also Getting More Intense Hospital Care" (Forbes)
-- "Shift to Hospice Care Often Comes Too Late, Study Finds" (U.S. News & World Report).
-- "Dying Medicare Beneficiaries Increasingly Moved to Hospice" (Medscape Today)