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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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Keeping the Faith, a religion roundup

Photo credit: Scott Gries (PictureGroup), via Comedy Central

Chilean miners’ faith, Fred Phelps as the antichrist, Stephen Colbert preaching a gospel message.

Here are some updates in the world of religion:

“God has never left us”: Christianity Today reports:

Jimmy Sanchez, one of the 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped for over two months in the San Jose copper-gold mine in the Atacama Desert, would like to make one small correction to all the stories about life in the mine:

“There are actually 34 of us,” the nineteen-year-old miner wrote in a letter sent up from the mine on Tuesday, “because God has never left us down here.”

And Baptist Press says two of the miners converted to Christianity while in the mine. The rescue is underway and if, like me, you can’t be a near a TV to watch it unfold, here’s the next best thing: An updated, graphic recounting of the rescue, complete with personal details of the men.

“These seem like the least of our brothers”: When Stephen Colbert testified on Capitol Hill about the plight of migrant workers, he first did so in the guise of his alter ego, conservative pundit. But he broke character to quote Jesus, saying:

“And, you know, whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, and these seem like the least of our brothers right now,” Colbert said, quoting Jesus. “Migrant workers suffer and have no rights.”

Religion News Service uses the religious quote as a time to explore Colbert’s Catholic faith.

What is my TV trying to tell me about religion? Huffington Post religion blogger Briallen Hopper looks at recent trends of TV shows talking faith, including “Glee,” “Community,” and “Modern Family.”

A new form of McCarthyism? Killing the Buddha offers a quiz to see if you can tell the difference between Senator Joseph McCarthy, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

Fred Phelps as antichrist? The Rev. Bill Lindner, pastor of Christ Covenant Church in Spotsylvania, blogs:

I think Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church represent the Antichrist, not Jesus Christ. Sure, they have Bible verses and call themselves a Baptist Church.  But hardly any of the few members are not blood relatives of Fred Phelps.  They are affiliated with no Baptist organization of any sort.

But most of all, their message is so contrary to Gospel of Jesus that it is appalling.

Area teacher called “Star”: The Arlington Diocese’s blog reports that Holy Cross Academy kindergarten teacher Donna Godek has been named a Distinguished Teacher by the Catholic Business Network.  One of her fellow Holy Cross faculty members referred to Godek as a star, saying:

She is a bright, shining light in the lives of her children; each day sparkles in Donna’s classrooms because Donna brings out the best in each child, allowing him or her to reflect the love of Jesus in a unique way.

“God in America”: The series continues tonight, 9 p.m., on PBS. Look for Stafford resident the Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.