5. Illegal immigration and faithAs Congress debated how to reform immigration law, a similar discussion was raging within the religious community. The Catholic Church fought efforts by Congress to make it a crime to help or hide illegal immigrants, while Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony declared from the pulpit that priests in his diocese had permission to break the law if Congress made it illegal to offer sanctuary.6. Pro-democracy protests by Buddhist monks in Myanmar after the country’s military dictatorship cracked down on dissidentsThe Dalai Lama received an award from President Bush.7. Conservative Episcopalians aligning with bishops in the South AmericaAngry and upset over the election of an openly and actively gay priest as bishop, an Episcopal diocese based in Fresno voted earlier this month to split with the national denomination. The San Joaquin Diocese, in a later vote, accepted an invitation to join a conservative South American congregation of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. member of the global Anglican Communion.8. Supreme Court rulings involving religion, including the upholding of a ban on certain late-term abortionsThe 5-4 ruling in April raised questions about the court’s willingness to someday reconsider the basic right to abortion guaranteed in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case.9. The deaths ofreligious leadersIncluding: the Revs. Jerry Falwell and D. James Kennedy, co-founders of the Moral Majority; author Madeleine L’Engle; Ruth Bell Graham, an author and the wife of evangelist Billy Graham; televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker Messner; Jewish leader Teddy Kolleck; Islamic leader Ilyas ba-Yunus; and Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, a Catholic convert from Judaism who became a voice for interfaith dialogue.10. The cost of the Roman Catholic Church U.S. sex abuse crisis surpassing $2.1 billionThat total includes $660 million paid by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to settle lawsuits filed by more than 500 people who said they were abused by priests and other clergy.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonCheck out the rest of the top 10 on Page B43.3. Ongoing divides over gays and lesbians in clergyAs the Vatican formally banned most gays from Catholic seminaries and from ordination as priests, other faith groups – Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and Jews – continued to debate the ordination of gays and lesbians as leaders of their congregations.4. Global warming’s emergence as areligious issueClergy and congregations nationwide have identified a connection between ecology and faith and are mobilizing behind efforts to reduce the effects of global warming. From staff and news servicesEvangelical struggles to settle on a Republican presidential candidate and Democrats’ efforts to reach religious voters led the Religion Newswriters Association’s list of top religion stories of 2007.The results were based on votes from 80 active members of the association – reporters from around the country who cover religion in the general- circulation media.The No. 1 issue encompassed the heated debate over the role of faith and politics and the public scrutiny of Republican presidential hopefuls about their religious beliefs. Baptist minister Mike Huckabee’s surge in the polls, Mitt Romney’s need to speak about his Mormon faith and John McCain’s claim that the U.S. is a “Christian nation” underscored the evangelical community’s potency in the political arena.Close behind as the No. 2 story were efforts by Democrats to win over voters by showcasing their faith. Barack Obama, a member of the United Church of Christ, and John Edwards, a Methodist, have unveiled Web sites devoted to faith and moral values. Hillary Clinton, also a Methodist, plans to do the same.