19 Stories

Estonia Is About to Get a Little Taller

It's switching to new system that will add 8 inches to highest point

(Newser) - Over the next three months, the Baltic country of Estonia will become a little bit taller. That's because it has decided to change how it measures heights above sea level, converting from an old Russian system to something called the European Vertical Reference System, reports the Postimees newspaper. The... More »

Judges Disagree on Calif. 'Gay Cure' Ban

Higher court will likely have to get involved: expert

(Newser) - Less than 24 hours after a federal judge blocked California's new ban on "gay cures," a second federal judge in a separate case declined to interfere with the law. Both cases involve therapists who want the law banning gay-to-straight "conversion therapy" overturned. The second judge's... More »

Oliver Stone's Son Converts to Islam

Filmmaker Sean Stone becomes a Shiite

(Newser) - Oliver Stone's filmmaking son has converted to Islam in Iran, reports AFP . "The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with," 27-year-old Sean Stone told the news agency. "It means I have accepted Mohammad and other prophets." In the... More »

Gadhafi to Hot Italian Women: Convert!

Dictator again pays women to listen to religious lecture

(Newser) - Moammar Gadhafi is paying hot Italian women once again —to sit and listen to him lecture about Islam and why they should convert, reports the AP. As the Libyan dictator jetted to Italy for the fourth time in a year, he again rounded up a few hundred women recruited... More »

Island Apologizes for Eating Missionary

South Pacific community hosts kin for reconciliation event

(Newser) - In one of the stranger meetings we've seen lately, descendants of a British missionary and the descendants of cannibals who killed and ate him 170 years ago got together yesterday to bury the hatchet. It seems the South Pacific island of Erromango, now predominantly Christian, has been feeling bad about... More »

Gadhafi Hires 200 Hot Italian Women, Tries to Convert Them

Leader also gives out copies of his book

(Newser) - Moammar Gadhafi hired a couple of hundred attractive Italian women for the night, headed to the Libyan ambassador's place in Rome, shepherded them into a room, and ... tried to convert them to Islam. The Libyan dictator offered $75 for the evening, causing most of the women to assume they’d... More »

Why Gingrich Became Catholic

(Newser) - Newt Gingrich shrugged off religious issues while in office, and was recently seen reading a novel before Mass—so why his sudden conversion to Catholicism? Some analysts say he converted this spring to position himself for the Republican nomination in 2012. Joining other high-profile conservatives on the road to Rome,... More »

Foiled Robber Leaves Store With $40, Bread

Shopkeeper pulls gun on would-be perp, who begs for mercy, food

(Newser) - A man approached a Long Island convenience store counter with a baseball bat, demanding cash; the shop owner whipped out his shotgun, prompting the man’s tearful pleas for mercy. The impassioned display worked, Newsday reports: Mohammad Sohail took pity on the robber and gave him $40 and a loaf... More »

US Army Burned Bibles in Afghanistan

(Newser) - The US military burned bibles sent to Afghanistan by an American church, reports CNN. Officials feared the bibles, sent last year, would cause problems if they were used in a campaign to convert Muslims to Christianity. The unsolicited bibles were printed in the two most popular Afghani languages. Ironically, Taliban... More »

John Paul II's Attacker Wants Vatican Baptism

Man who shot pontiff seeks ceremony after prison release

(Newser) - The man who shot Pope John Paul II gets out of prison in January—and when he does, he wants to be baptized at the Vatican, his lawyer says. Over the years, Mehmet Ali Agca has claimed to be the Messiah or Jesus Christ, fueling speculation about his mental health... More »

Pope to Angolans: Convert Witchcraft Believers

(Newser) - The Pope urged Catholics in Angola to reach out and convert witchcraft believers frightened by “evil powers,” the AP reports. “In today's Angola, Catholics should offer the message of Christ to the many who live in the fear of spirits,” a fear that can lead them... More »

LiLo Takes Up Judaism for Sam

Catholic actress wants to convert

(Newser) - Lindsay Lohan apparently thinks her relationship with Samantha Ronson is strong enough to warrant a change in religion, the New York Post reports. The pair recently attended Ronson’s half-brother’s bar mitzvah, and Lohan, raised Catholic, now wants to convert to Judaism. LiLo’s dad? Not convinced: “She’... More »

Oy, Caramba! Cubans Turn to Judaism

But for some, religious awakening looks a lot like exit strategy

(Newser) - Cuba's Jewish community is growing for the first time in decades, the Wall Street Journal reports. The country's Jewish population dwindled to 1,000 by the late 1980s but has now hit 1,500. Hundreds of other Cuban Jews have recently emigrated, landing in Israel, Canada, and the US. Many... More »

Christians Secretly Target Converts in North Africa

Islamic leaders oppose 'unethical' tactics

(Newser) - Islamic leaders in north Africa say they are incensed by the tactics of Christians bent on secretly converting their followers, Reuters reports. Religious authorities gripe that missionaries in Morocco and Algeria are using “unethical” methods, such as spreading false information and preying on the weak. “People respond positively... More »

Meet Mikaeel: Jacko Converts to Islam

British tabloid says King of Pop assumes new name in ceremony

(Newser) - Michael Jackson has followed the path of fellow entertainer Cat Stevens in converting to Islam, a source tells the British tabloid the Sun. Jackson—now called Mikaeel—recently went through a ceremony at a friend’s Hollywood Hills home, after being swayed by pals who said the faith had made... More »

Israeli Divorce Spurs Debate Over Who Is Jewish

(Newser) - A divorce ruling in Israel has thrown thousands of Jewish conversions into question and sparked a debate over who is really Jewish, the Washington Post reports. Ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who frame one side of the dispute, refused to let a Jewish convert divorce last year, saying she was never married because... More »

How Jindal Traded Vishnu for Jesus

Hindu-born La. governor's conversion could help McCain

(Newser) - When political observers talk about Bobby Jindal’s vice presidential credentials, they often mention that his devout Christian faith might sway the base. It’s a curious advantage for the Hindu-raised son of Punjabi immigrants, but Jindal’s conversion was the sincere product of a deep spiritual quest, the Wall ... More »

Judaism's Black Converts Growing Part of US Mosaic

More African-Americans switch religions even as Obama seeks to renew connection

(Newser) - The number of African-Americans converting to Judaism is growing, the Christian Science Monitor reports, at a time when Democrat Barack Obama is seeking to renew what was once a strong alliance between the groups. Politics, though, plays a small role; "Obama's candidacy, African-Americans choosing to be Jews ... is all... More »

Blair Now Officially Catholic

Former British PM makes long-awaited conversion

(Newser) - Tony Blair converted to Catholicism yesterday, confirming months of rumors that he would switch from the Church of England, the UK Times reports. "I am very glad to receive Tony Blair into the Catholic church," said the archbishop of Westminster, who performed the ceremony in London. The former... More »

19 Stories