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Religion Lately: Raelian Women Go Topless, WTC-Cross, An Atheist Hymn, & NASCAR-Christianity

Religion Lately: Raelian Women Go Topless, WTC-Cross, An Atheist Hymn, & NASCAR-Christianity

By Kenny Smith….
The International Raelian Religion (based on the teachings of Rael, formerly Claude Verhilon, who claimed to have been personally contacted by extraterrestrials in the early 1970s), is planning a “Go Topless Day” for female devotees on August 21 on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Is Harry Potter really about Christian alchemy rather than witchcraft and sorcery? Some Wiccans and Neo-Pagans are re-thinking the role of esoteric (i.e., secret) knowledge in their traditions. A new book argues that Pagan myths and philosophies have something to offer mainstream Americans. As the days begin to grow shorter, Wiccans and Pagans of all sorts celebrated Lughnasadh at the end of July. In England, accusations of Wiccan child-abuse (common fare in the cult scares of the 1980s) have emerged. In the U.S., Wicca may well be the third-largest religious tradition in the U.S. by 2012, that is, next year.

With an Honest Heart

With an Honest Heart

By Samantha Kirby, Tikkun Magazine….
My grandmother was many things: a piano teacher, a Chicagoan, a coffee aficionada — and a pioneer.
I added that last part after she passed away, when I learned that she had graduated from Northwestern University in 1944, about twenty years before NU removed its quota for Jewish admissions. By the time I was an undergraduate shivering through my years in Evanston, it was hard to believe that the campus, with its thriving Jewish community, had ever tried to restrict its number of Jewish students. I couldn’t imagine my grandmother walking the same streets as I had but feeling like a second-class student.

Who ‘owns’ religious practice?

Who ‘owns’ religious practice?

Brad Bannon, State of Formation
“The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) reaffirms that Yoga, “an inward journey, where you explore your mind, your awareness, your consciousness, your conscience”, is an essential part of Hindu belief and practice. But the science of yoga and the immense benefits its practice affords are for the benefit of all of humanity regardless of personal faith. Hinduism itself is a family of pluralistic doctrines and ways of life that acknowledge the existence of other spiritual and religious traditions. Hinduism, as a non-proselytizing religion, never compels practitioners of yoga to profess allegiance to the faith or convert. Yoga is a means of spiritual attainment for any and all seekers.”

The Politics of Religion: From the Feast of the Assumption to the Ground Zero Mosque

The Politics of Religion: From the Feast of the Assumption to the Ground Zero Mosque

While most Muslim Turks labored to complete their first week of Ramadan during a record breaking heat wave, two branches of Christianity celebrated the August 15th Feast of the Assumption at prominent Christian pilgrimage sites. In Western Turkey, Capuchin Catholic Priests celebrated the Feast of the Assumption at the Our Lady of Ephesus Shrine (Meryem Ana) and in the Black Sea region, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of some 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, presided over the Assumption Mass at Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, Turkey.