Francis beats ISIS as newsmaker of the year

Via the Slingshot: The Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality topped the Religious News Association’s list of religious news stories of 2015, followed closely by the refugee crisis in Europe. Pope Francis was voted “Newsmaker of the Year” for the third time in a row. The Episcopal Church’s election of its first African-American Presiding Bishop also made the list of top religious news.

The RNA’s top three stories:

1) The U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage in a historic 5-4 decision in June.

2) Thousands of migrants, many from wartorn Syria, pour into Europe by sea and land, stirring right-wing resistance in some countries and compassion fatigue even from countries that welcomed them.

3) ISIS expands its reign of horror in Syria and Iraq. It claims responsibility for beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians, the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot, the deaths of hundreds on a Russian airliner, and deadly bombings in Beirut and Paris.

Pope Francis, extremist terrorism, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement dominated the top ten, while the election of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention this summer came in at number 23 of 26 leading religion news stories of the year.

Pope Francis continues to enjoy widespread news coverage.

In his third Newsmaker of the Year selection in as many years, Pope Francis beat out five other candidates, among them members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., (19 percent of first-place votes), Rowan County, Ky. Clerk Kim Davis (4 percent of first-place votes), and the Islamic State/ISIS (21 percent of first-place votes).

Find the whole list here. What are your picks for the most significant religion news stories of 2015?

Photo: Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

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