WASHINGTON -- Almost one in five clients of Christian rescue missions said they were victims of physical violence within the past year, a 6 percent jump from the previous year, according to a new survey.
"It's quite possible that the uptick in physical violence ... is due to a friend or family member's feeling of desperation and helplessness accompanying their unemployment and underemployment," said John Ashmen, president of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM).
The Snapshot Survey of the homeless is conducted annually by AGRM, North America's oldest and largest network of independent homeless shelters and rehabilitation centers.
Almost 19,000 individuals took the survey in October at 114 rescue missions; 17 percent of those surveyed were not currently homeless, but all had received services offered at the missions, such as food and medical care.
Although a quarter of those surveyed said they had been homeless three or more times before, an even higher figure -- 35 percent -- said they had never before been homeless.
A small but growing number of religious communities across the country are removing their money from Wall Street banks to protest what they see as unfair mortgage foreclosures and unwillingness to lend to small businesses.
The New Bottom Line (NBL) coalition of congregations, community organizations, labor unions and individuals is promoting a "Move Our Money" campaign with the goal of shifting $1 billion from big banks to community banks and credit unions.
"In a way, the banks have divested from our communities, especially communities of color," said the Rev. Ryan Bell, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Los Angeles. "So we're basically telling Bank of America that we want them to invest in our communities, and until they do that we're not going to give our money to them."
Bell's church was one of six Los Angeles Christian congregations that announced they would divest a collective $2 million from Bank of America and Wells Fargo as part of the Move Our Money campaign.
For the average American Catholic in the pews, the upcoming changes to the text of the Mass might mean little more than memorizing a few new prayer responses.
But when the revised translation of the Mass sweeps into churches across America on the first Sunday of Advent (Nov. 27), it will bring with it a slew of new missals and hymnals -- and perhaps a whole new (or old) style of worship.
WASHINGTON -- Responding to fresh controversy over Mitt Romney's Mormon faith, a group of Catholic elder statesmen on Wednesday called for more civility in politics, saying Catholics have been subjected to similar scrutiny.
Speaking as "Catholic citizens of different political persuasions," the signers urged "not only (that) civility be maintained in the public discourse but that all inclinations to raise the issue of personal religious affiliation be avoided."
The statement comes in the wake of a Dallas megachurch pastor and Rick Perry supporter who called Mormonism a "cult" and said Christians should give preference to Christian candidates.
"Catholics in the U.S. have experienced a long history of discrimination in the political life ... and so as a result, understandably, we Catholics are particularly sensitive to the issue," said Stephen Schneck, a political scientist at the Catholic University of America and an outspoken supporter of President Obama.
The 37 signatories of the statement included several former U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican, retired lawmakers and university presidents.