Entries in Religion (5)


Jay Leno Catches Heat from Indian Official, Catholic Group over Jokes

Kevin Winter/Tonight Show/Getty Images for The Tonight Show(LOS ANGELES) -- Jay Leno has managed to offend two religious groups in the span of one week.

On last Thursday's edition of The Tonight Show, Leno displayed a picture of the Golden Temple, a holy shrine of Sikhs in India, and joked that it was the summer home of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  Leno was making a reference to Romney's wealth, but, according to reports in India, one official is upset with the late-night host.

Vayalar Ravi, the visiting affairs minister for non-resident Indians, was quoted as saying, “It is quite unfortunate and quite objectionable that such a comment has been made after showing the...Golden Temple."  The official continued, "The Golden Temple is the Sikh community’s most sacred place.  Even our Prime Minister went there for praying in the New Year.  I believe the person who has shown [it] is not that ignorant. The American government should also look at this kind of thing.”

The reports further state that many local Sikhs have expressed outrage.  In addition, the joke has spawned a "Boycott Jay Leno" Facebook group.

According to the BBC, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the government has not been in contact with India over the matter and that Leno's comments "appeared to be satirical in nature."

A California man named Dr. Randeep Dhillon doesn't see it that way.  According to, Dhillon has filed a libel lawsuit against Leno over the joke, claiming it, "falsely portrays the holiest place in the Sikh religion as a vacation resort owned by a non-Sikh."  He seeks general and punitive damages.

Leno has also irked a Catholic organization with a joke he made on Monday's Tonight Show about a Los Angeles-area bishop who resigned after admitting he fathered two children.

Referring to the bishop's namesake in the game of chess, Leno said, “I thought bishops could only move diagonally.  I didn’t know they could move up and down," and made corresponding hand gestures.  He then said, “Isn’t it amazing the bishop of L.A. confessed to fathering two children?  But, hey, he didn’t use birth control, so at least he followed the church rules.  You gotta give him credit for that.”

The president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, claims Leno, "has a long track record of bashing Catholicism."  He further states, "The most serious cases of the sexual abuse of minors currently taking place are among Orthodox Jewish rabbis in Brooklyn, yet Leno would never tell a joke at their expense.  The rate of HIV/AIDS among homosexuals is 50 times higher than in the rest of the population, yet Leno would never tell a joke at their expense.  But if there is one wayward Catholic clergyman, it’s not only acceptable to ridicule him, it’s okay to mock the teachings of the Catholic Church."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bill Maher Courts Controversy Over Tim Tebow Tweet

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(LOS ANGELES) -- A tweet from liberal commentator Bill Maher has incurred the wrath of conservatives across the U.S., who are now calling for a boycott of his HBO series after Maher slammed Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

Maher, after the Broncos lost 40-14 to the Buffalo Bills Saturday, tweeted, “Wow, Jesus just f***ed #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler ‘Hey, Buffalo’s killing them.’”

Tebow, who has left sports fans in awe of his prowess on the football field, is known to be devoutly religious, and has popularized the term “tebowing” – as in getting down on a knee and praying as events, such as a football game, still unfold around you.

The comment by Maher, who is an atheist and took world religions to task in his 2008 documentary Religulous, led to some colorful backlash, notable from Fox News’ Eric Bolling: “Bill Maher is disgusting vile trash. I can’t even repeat what he just tweeted about Tebow..on Christmas Eve. #straighttohellBill,” a tweet from Bolling read.

Meanwhile, a movement to boycott Maher’s HBO current events show Real Time with Bill Maher is developing across Twitter. The comedian has yet to comment on the controversy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


David Archuleta Reveals Plans for 2-Year Mormon Mission

PRNewsFoto/Children's Medical Center, Juan Pulido(SALT LAKE CITY) -- American Idol 2007 runner-up David Archuleta announced before a hometown crowd in Salt Lake City that he planned to take a break from music to serve a full-time, two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“It’s not because someone told me that I’m supposed to do it, and not because I no longer want to do music, but because it’s the feeling that I’ve felt I need to do this with my life,” Archuleta, 20, said to a crowd that showered him with applause and cheers.

An emotional Archuleta seemed astounded at the crowd’s support and wiped away tears. He did not announce where he would be headed.

A spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints said he did not know where Archuleta would be serving, but said, ‘We’d leave the decision to reveal that information up to him.”

The singer rose to fame as one of the youngest-ever contestants on American Idol and came in second to David Cook. Archuleta has since released three albums.

The church operates 350 missions around the world, according to its website.

Archuleta’s mission is expected to begin shortly after the start of the new year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Orthodox Jewish Rapper Matisyahu Shaves Off Iconic Beard

Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Orthodox Hasidic Jewish rapper Matisyahu has sported a lengthy beard for years, not as a fashion statement but as part of his religious beliefs. However, the artist has taken a razor blade to his trademark facial hair.

Matisyahu broke the news of his clean-shaven face, with photos of himself sans beard, Tuesday, first on Twitter, saying: "@matisyahu At the break of day I look for you at sunrise … When the tide comes in I lose my disguise." The message is taken from the lyrics of his song Thunder.
Born Matthew Miller, Matisyahu has become the most visibly Jewish artist in hip-hop since his debut album Shake Off the Dust… Arise. His music blends traditional Jewish themes with reggae, rock, and hip-hop beat boxing sounds.

Initially, the 32-year-old artist’s motives behind the drastic shave were unclear, but then Matisyahu followed up his tweet with a simple explanation on his website: “No more Chassidic reggae superstar.”

“Sorry folks all you get is me … no alias. When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process. It was my choice. My journey to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality -- not through books but through real life.” Matisyahu wrote. “I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules -- lots of them -- or else I would somehow fall apart. I am reclaiming myself.”

Although his non-existent facial hair may seem unfamiliar to his fans, he reassured everyone that his music would stay familiar and be something worth looking forward to in 2012.

“Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth. And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry…you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair,” he said in a statement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gwyneth Paltrow to Raise Children in Jewish Faith

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Gwyneth Paltrow has said she wants to raise her children in the Jewish faith after learning on the show Who Do You Think You Are? that her family comes from a long line of influential East European rabbis. Paltrow's late father, Bruce Paltrow, was Jewish.

"It was such a nice way to grow up," she recently said on the show, though she added, "I don't believe in religion. I believe in spirituality. Religion is the cause of all the problems in the world."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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