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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.

Religion Does Its Worst

Religion Does Its Worst

By Roger Cohen, New York Times….
So Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who organized a Koran burning on March 20, wanted “to stir the pot.” Mission accomplished. Perhaps he’d care to explain himself to the family of Joakim Dungel, a 33-year-old Swede slaughtered at the U.N. mission in Mazar-i-Sharif by Afghans whipped into frenzy through Jones’s folly. On reflection, no, there’s nothing Jones can explain to Dungel’s family, or the other U.N. staffers murdered. Jones is not in the explanation business. He’s a zealot. How else to describe a Christian who interprets his faith not as grounded in love and compassion but as a mission to incite hatred toward Islam?

Is This About American Muslims, Or America?

Is This About American Muslims, Or America?

By Eboo Patel, Huffington Post…..
Lately, Congress appears to be obsessed with Muslims. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is holding hearings Tuesday (March 29) on “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims,” and Chairman Peter King has announced a second set of hearings on “Radicalization in the American Muslim Community” in the House Homeland Security Committee, this set focusing on radicalization in prisons. Although the word “Muslim” is the one getting the most media play, I believe these hearings are really about America, and whether we value the contributions of, and cooperation between, our many different communities.

Westboro Baptist Church And The Problematic Practice of Proof-Texting

Westboro Baptist Church And The Problematic Practice of Proof-Texting

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By Heather Abraham…..
Phelps’ robotic regurgitation of carefully chosen and horrifically distorted scriptural verses left me more than a little troubled. His mindless rant, devoid of any semblance of rational thinking, left me to ponder how this experience could possibly be an informing one.

Close Mindedness on Religion

Close Mindedness on Religion

By Michael Hodson, Go, See, Write….
At the end of 2008, I quit my law practice in Northwest Arkansas and took off on a round-the-world journey with two rules: no reservations and no airplanes. Sixteen months later, I finally made it back home, succeeding on the no-planes portion of the challenge and almost making it without any reservations. Since getting back, I’ve continued with my overland adventures and have been writing about them at Go, See, Write. One day last summer after getting back from my journey, I was having lunch in town and a friend of mine came in and took a seat next to us and asked the almost-automatic first question I get these days: “Where was your favorite place?”

Christian Crees Tear Down Sweat Lodge

Christian Crees Tear Down Sweat Lodge

By Valerie Taliman, Indian Country….
A few days after the sweat lodge was constructed, Christian members of this James Bay Cree community circulated a petition, signed by about 130 people, demanding that it be torn down. “We further request that no native spirituality be allowed in our community such as pow wows and spiritual practices, and [that we] not even allow any person to come into our community to bring these kind of practices to confuse our youth,” it stated. “Our concerns are for our youth, our children and grandchildren. We have raised them with the Word of God and we will continue to do so. They know the difference between the Word of God and spiritual practices.”

What Do Americans Really Know About Islam?

What Do Americans Really Know About Islam?

Let’s face it; Americans know more about the sex lives of Tiger Woods and Jesse James than they do about Islam. If Arabs do not make up the majority of Muslims—who does? According to the Pew Research Center’s informative report, Mapping the Muslim World, “more than 60% of the global Muslim population is in Asia and about 20% in the Middle East and Northern Africa.”

Intra-Faith Divisions and the Dangers of Othering

Intra-Faith Divisions and the Dangers of Othering

“Italians are Catholics and Catholics don’t teach the truth about Jesus, they aren’t really Christians at all—they worship the Pope and saints.” Although I often write about the importance of interfaith dialogue, these two examples give us an opportunity to explore the phenomena of intra-faith divisions and discuss the dangers inherent in the process of othering.