Thursday’s Religion News Roundup: Baptisms decline * Hate crimes tracked * “Worm food”

America’s largest Protestant denomination is in decline. Yup, we’re talking Southern Baptists who meet next week in Houston.

Though the SBC added 270 churches last year, it lost more than 105,000 members and 188,000 Sunday worshipers, according to its Annual Church Profile. Most troubling to Baptists, baptisms slid 5.5 percent, or 314,956 people, over the previous year.

Stay tuned for more on the SBC right here at RNS.

Our friend Jaweed Kaleem at HuffPost writes that the FBI will begin formally tracking hate crimes against religious groups. On the recommend list: Sikhs, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witnesses, even — you guessed it — atheists.

Folks at the Hindu American Foundation are happy about that. On Wednesday, they unveiled a report on hate crimes against Hindus. It singled out four countries —Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Pakistan ¬— as “egregious violators.”

?Being accustomed to abuse doesn?t mean we bruise less.?

?Being accustomed to abuse doesn?t mean we bruise less.?

Our own Lauren Markoe caught up with Rabbi Sidney Schwarz, who has a new book called “Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future.” Schwarz says loyal, institutional Jews are out of touch with the younger, innovation generation.

“Mr. Jesus died for the bigots as well,” the late Will Campbell used to say to those who wondered why he hung out with the KKK. David Anderson has a short tribute to the folksy raconteur who died this week.

In North America, Latin America and Europe gays are accepted, a new survey shows; in sub-Saharan Africa and predominantly Muslim countries, they’re not.

Muslims are used to having their faith openly denigrated by public officials, says Melody Moezzi,  a writer, activist and attorney, referring to Tony Blair’s recent statement about a “problem within Islam.”


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