Pope of the Year, Satanist Monuments at the Statehouse, and It's Tough to Be an Atheist: This Week In Religion

In case you missed it, here are some of the week's top stories in religion: Pope Francis got some big news this week when he was named Time magazine's person of the year. In Oklahoma, a blurring of the lines between church and state led satanists and Hindus to request monuments to their faiths near the statehouse. The good ol' boys didn't really think this one through. Then, we were reminded that it's really, really tough to be an atheist, and that being a non-believer can get you the death penalty in 13 countries around the world. In the UK, a court ruled that Scientology actually is a religion, overturning a lower court's ruling that its services did not involve acts of worship. The Mormon Church took a look back over its history books, and talked openly about its long-standing ban on black priests, which was removed in 1978. A Michigan bishop spoke out about coming out about her same-sex marriage and resigning from her position in the church, and the Washington Post took a stab at mapping out religious life in America. Check it out.

Longreads

And here are the longform pieces you shouldn't miss.

Time magazine elected Pope Francis its person of the year. The people's pope paved the way for his legacy with the name he chose:

Of course, you can also read our list of reasons why this was a great choice.

Tablet looked at religious revival in Tel Aviv, Israel's so-called "sin city." In the Miami-esque metropolis, secularism and religiosity exist side-by-side:

What happens to Mormon missionaries who don't serve out their full two years? Often, even when they leave early because of medical conditions, these young people fear being ostracized: