Religion, Lately: Hug an Atheist trailer, evangelical sea-change in the making, and a spell for keeping Syria safe from American bombs

By Kenny Smith

While the great state of Massachusetts considers atheist challenges to the 1954 Hug an atheist dayinclusion of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, a forthcoming documentary tells sympathetically of the daily lives (some might say, “lived religion”) of American atheists.  Check out the trailer forHug an Atheist as well as an interview with the film maker. In the millionth round of religion v. atheism, famed sociologist of religion, Rodney Stark, weighs in on the side of religion, though of course the reality is more complex.

Significant numbers of conservative evangelicals, it turns out, have come to take climate science seriously and are thus concerned about global warming. Others oppose military intervention in Syria. Still others are revising their views on immigration. Indeed, such changes may be necessary if evangelicals are to remain relevant to the broader culture.

Neo-Pagan and Wiccan communities in Ireland, one writer observes, have seen a gradual shift of emphasis from the casting of spells to harnessing one’s magical powers for healing. In America, “witches and pagans” offers a spell to forestall the bombing of Syria.

In other news, a Pastafarian (that is, a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or FSM) in Texas wins the right to wear his spaghetti-strainer headwear in his driver’s license picture, actors and models continue to come and go from the Apple as a religion steve jobs and jesusChurch of Scientology, the Wisconsin national guard welcomes its first Buddhist chaplain, and a third of American workers report experiencing religious discrimination, in an increasingly diverse workplace. Finally, the LA Times reports, if Steve Jobs’ vision of Apple does not count as a religion, it was certain freighted with a good deal of borrowed religious imagery.

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