Weekly religion news with items on the latest vote to accept LGBT ministers in the Presbyterian Church, "To a Mountain in Tibet" by Colin Thubron, a Mark Twain quote of the week and more.

For the first time ever, voters in the Presbyterian Church (USA) who favor dropping exclusionary policies against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender are in the lead in a nationwide vote.

In 2010, the national body approved an amendment that would allow LGBT candidates for ordination to be evaluated on their spiritual call to ministry and their abilities. The amendment then went to the 173 regional presbyteries across the country for a vote on whether or not to ratify the amendment.

Approval requires a 50 percent majority of the presbyteries, and the count now stands at 48 approving and 34 disapproving. This is the highest level of support in the last 14 years that an amendment to remove exclusionary provisions was approved by the national voting body.

Nine presbyteries, including Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma, have changed their vote to support full inclusion since they last voted in 2009. If the 50 percent approval rate is reached, Presbyterians would join the millions of members in Lutheran, Episcopal and United Church of Christ denominations that now allow LGBT people to serve in leadership.

“A growing number of Presbyterians do not want to be part of a Church that discriminates or teaches that God loves only certain kinds of people. They want to be part of a Church and world that reflects God's heart," said Michael Adee, Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians.

More Light Presbyterians is a national grassroots organization working to end discrimination and achieve equality for LGBT people and their families in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the world. For more information, visit www.mlp.org.

 -- ReligionNews.com

Week in Religion

- March 9, 1965, three white Unitarian ministers were attacked with clubs on the streets of Selma, Ala., while participating in a civil rights demonstration. One later died in a Birmingham, Ala., hospital.

- March 10, 1681, English Quaker William Penn, 26, received a charter from Charles II, making him sole proprietor of the colonial American territory known today as the state of Pennsylvania.

- March 11, 1845, Wittenberg College was chartered in Springfield, Ohio, under Lutheran auspices.

-- William D. Blake, Almanac of the Christian Church

Survey Says

Mainstream media devoted more time to religion topics in 2010 than in any year since 2007, when the Pew Research Center started “measuring” religion coverage and other topics in the news.

Good Book?

“To a Mountain in Tibet” by Colin Thubron

This is the account of a journey to the holiest mountain on Earth, the solitary peak of Kailas in Tibet, sacred to one-fifth of humankind. To both Buddhists and Hindus, it is the mystic heart of the world and an ancient site of pilgrimage. It has never been climbed.

Colin Thubron reached it by foot along the Karnali River, the highest source of the Ganges. His journey is an entry into the culture of today's Tibet, and a pilgrimage in the wake his mother's death and the loss of his family. He also explores his own need for solitude, which has shaped his career as a travel writer.

-- HarperCollins Publishers

Quote of the week

“Religion consists of a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain.” – Mark Twain

The Word

Unipersonality: The belief that Jesus had both a divine and a human nature within his personality.

-- religioustolerance.org

Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of Honduras

Roman Catholic: 97 percent

Protestant: 3 percent

- CIA Factbook

GateHouse News Service