RSSAll Entries in the "News" Category

Religion: A Political Weapon

Religion: A Political Weapon

By Summar Shoaib
In a recent speech at the Values Voters Summit, a conservative political conference, Rand Paul spoke about a “war on Christianity,” citing the Boston Marathon bombing as proof. Acknowledging that some may not see this as evidence, he emphasizes that “they certainly didn’t target a mosque.” Paul utilizes an insider-outsider dichotomy in stressing that Islamic radicals have an agenda “against us as a people, as a Christian people.” Perhaps even more troubling in this sort of us-versus-them rhetoric is the idea that Muslims do not condemn such acts, claiming, “Where’s the rest of Islam? Why don’t they stand up and condemn this?” Muslims have not only condemned such acts of terror, but even published refutations of it based on Islamic religious doctrine.

Papal Retirement: A Matter of Conscience

Papal Retirement: A Matter of Conscience

The unexpected announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is a welcome breath of fresh air. A human being, even a pope, ought to have the option to say enough is enough, I have done what I can do, and now it is time for someone else to take over. I applaud his move and read it as a sign of hope in a dreary ecclesial scene….Conscience, Benedict reminds us today, is still primary for Catholics. Examination of conscience: that is just the formula millions of us use to explain why we use birth control, enjoy our sexuality in a variety of ways, and see enormous good in other religious traditions. Conscience is the ultimate arbiter, and the Pope relied on his. Good on him, and good on the rest of us.

“No religion” is the third-largest world group after Christians, Muslims

“No religion” is the third-largest world group after Christians, Muslims

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor Reuters….
People with no religious affiliation make up the third-largest global group in a new study of the size of the world’s faiths, placing after Christians and Muslims and just before Hindus. The study, based on extensive data for the year 2010, also showed Islam and Hinduism are the faiths mostly likely to expand in the future while Jews have the weakest growth prospects.

Religion Lately: Occult Symbols in Pop Culture, Pre-2012 End Time Refugees & Technopagan Heresy

Religion Lately: Occult Symbols in Pop Culture, Pre-2012 End Time Refugees & Technopagan Heresy

By Kenny Smith…..
Is the “mark of the beast” lurking in the Walt Disney logo, Illuminati symbols in Adidas’ footwear, occult signs in McDonald’s Chicken Selects? Check out the most popular corporate logos and their ties to the occult. To remove such occult influences, one news caster recommended an exorcism on the Republican party.

Reynolds v. United States 98 U.S. 145 (1879) – The Question of Polygamy

Reynolds v. United States 98 U.S. 145 (1879) – The Question of Polygamy

The LDS decided to get a member convicted of polygamy and appeal it all the way to the Supreme Court. George Reynolds was a perfect candidate for this test case. Reynolds may believe whatever he wishes about the importance of polygamy, but that did not mean he could necessarily act upon that belief. Marriage, according to this reading, is the base of the entire society. From the marriage comes every other social relationship and institution, all the way up to the government.

Did Arizona Shooting Suspect Have Occult Shrine or Left Over Halloween Decor?

Did Arizona Shooting Suspect Have Occult Shrine or Left Over Halloween Decor?

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today Faith and Reason…..
The New York Daily Newsis showing an image of what they call an occult shrine in Jared Loughner’s back yard: A terra-cotta plant pot holding a replica of a skull sits, surrounded by shriveled oranges, on a brick ledge with three tall, dirty glass cannisters holding candles beside it. Signs of the occult, says their story on Loughner, the alleged gunman who killed six people and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and nine others. This evaluation is pegged to unnamed “experts.” I’ve hunting now for word of cults that call for messy backyard altars but in the mean time, here’s what a pagan-witch-occultist says.

"Allah's Tailors" gaining profile in Turkey

“Allah’s Tailors” gaining profile in Turkey

By Alexandra Hudson, Reuters Faith World
Mustafa Karaduman, founder of Islamic fashion house Tekbir in 1982 and nicknamed “Allah’s Tailor” in the Turkish media, sees the changes in society and is hopeful of further growth. “Our work was quite amateur in the first decade. Then in 1992 we organized the very first headscarf fashion show, which brought us global attention. Now Islamic style clothes are on the agenda everywhere around the world,” he said.

Conservative Belgian Archbishop in Eye of Storm

Conservative Belgian Archbishop in Eye of Storm

By Robert Wielaard, Associated Press via USA Today
BRUSSELS — He calls AIDS a form of “justice” for homosexuals and wants retired pedophile priests to go unpunished. He says women who have an abortion will be greeted in the afterlife by their unborn child crying “Momma!” Archbishop Andre Leonard, 70, was plucked from a sleepy Belgian citadel-town by Pope Benedict XVI in January to energize the country’s Roman Catholic faithful and reverse 30 years of liberalism. The appointment was in line with Benedict’s policy of putting tradition-minded and conservative bishops in important dioceses.

Female Genital Mutilation: Cultural or Religious Practice?

Female Genital Mutilation: Cultural or Religious Practice?

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision, is most commonly practiced in various African nations, the Middle East, and Asia and is an unusual issue to encounter in a small southern American town. We need to explore the phenomena of FGM and the motivations behind this brutal cultural practice.

Roman Polanski and the Challenge of Forgiveness

Roman Polanski and the Challenge of Forgiveness

One of the most fascinating events for those interested in the relationship between religion and secularism occurred in 1997. In 1997, Geimer publicly forgave Polanski. This event has caused some scholars of religion to reflect on complex questions: Does forgiveness, a nominally “Judeo-Christian” practice, have a place in the American law system, or in the public sphere? Or is this too simple a reduction? Some might argue that forgiveness is a universal practice, one practiced across many different cultures. In either case, there seems to be a strong aversion to substituting punishment with forgiveness in the U.S. (with perhaps the exception of a presidential pardon). Our law, in general, centers around a retributive form of justice, one in which criminals have to “pay” for their crime with their time, labor, or life. Forgiveness flies in the face of this kind of justice.

Greetings from the Louvre’s “Roads to Arabia” Exhibition

Greetings from the Louvre’s “Roads to Arabia” Exhibition

Most of the 300 plus artifacts in the exhibit have never been on display to a domestic or international audience. Many of the artifacts found in the exhibit represent a myriad of cultures and civilizations of pre-Islamic Arabia and representations of the human form are understood as blasphemous according to the strict Wahhabi brand of Islam practiced throughout Saudi Arabia since the rise of the Saud family at the beginning of the 20th century.

Bayer Commercial Appropriates Ancient Story and Misses the Mark

Bayer Commercial Appropriates Ancient Story and Misses the Mark

 By Kate Daley-Bailey Renowned American Religion scholar, Catherine L. Albanese, opens her now classic text, America: Religions and Religion, with the following statement: There is a story that both Buddhists and some Muslims claim as their own and like to use as a teaching device. It is about an elephant and a group of blind […]

Touchdown Zeus!

Touchdown Zeus!

On Monday, June 14th, lightning struck and burned a 62-foot statue of Jesus in Monroe, OH. The statue was nicknamed “Touchdown Jesus” because of its raised arms. So is the lightning-wielding Olympian God Zeus finally getting some payback after the destruction of his own statue by Christians in the fifth century BCE? Or, is this a statement from some other god unhappy with monotheistic dominance?

Jews and Turks: Centuries of Goodwill

Jews and Turks: Centuries of Goodwill

Although our culture is well versed on the horrifying events of World War II, the story of the Turkish Jews is one that has unfortunately slipped into obscurity. In this time of religious discord, I believe it is important to remember that it has not always been so and that, contrary to popular media portrayals, religious differences do not, for the vast majority, signify hatred, distrust, or the negation of humanity.