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Religion, Lately: Paganism by 2063, Living Happily Without Religion, and  bin Laden Halloween Anxieties

Religion, Lately: Paganism by 2063, Living Happily Without Religion, and bin Laden Halloween Anxieties

By Kenny Smith…..What will Pagan religious traditions (such as Wicca, Druidism, and Asatru, among others) look like in fifty years, in 2063? Full-time Pagan clergy, Pagan celebrities coming out of the broom-closet, and a vast array of Pagan-centric media outlets, one writer predicts. Back here in 2013, new Pagan-themed books for children such as “What is Magic,” and “Who is a Witch?,” hit the shelves, Pagan Pride days continue to be celebrated in various cities nationwide, and Pagan communities prepare for Samhain.

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.

How Moses Created Thanksgiving: The Biblical Roots of America’s Holiday

How Moses Created Thanksgiving: The Biblical Roots of America’s Holiday

The real story of Thanksgiving has surprising biblical roots. A few years ago, I set out on a 10,000-mile journey through the hidden symbols of American life that became the basis for my book, America’s Prophet: How the Story of Moses Shaped America. My journey began on a visit to Plymouth, Mass., where I boarded a replica of The Mayflower. A re-enactor was reading from the Bible. “Exodus 14,” he explained. “The Israelites are trapped in front of the Red Sea, and the Egyptians are about to catch them.

A Conversation about Religious Literacy

A Conversation about Religious Literacy

Isaac: In response to the recent Pew survey, Stephen Prothero renewed his call for mandatory religious studies and Bible courses in U.S. public schools. What do we think of his proposal? What does he think it will accomplish? Vincent: It seems like, at least in the simplest form, there’s a sense that knowing lots of facts will make people rational… which it obviously won’t.

The Greatest Enemy of American Liberty: Catholicism?

The Greatest Enemy of American Liberty: Catholicism?

The Protestant American response was understandably anxious regarding the influx of these foreign masses. Some Protestant leaders, such as Reverend Lyman Beecher Horace Bushnell, voiced anti-Catholic sentiments. Many Protestant Americans harbored nativist (anti-immigrant) views and feared that the U.S. would quickly become a bastion of Catholicism and a political puppet of the Pope in Rome.

Modern Images of Mary, The Versatile Saint

Modern Images of Mary, The Versatile Saint

Mary has become Christianity’s most versatile, utilized, and venerated figure. Images of Mary are often depicted on t-shirts, purses, murals, wallets, yard art, jewelry, graffiti, and on the bodies of her devoted followers. Tattoo images of Mary range from small devotionals to enormous masterpieces— covering an entire human back.