by Andrew Lam
For children from strife-torn lands, the Old World, though distant and forsaken by the years, sometimes calls out for blood. The war, the humiliation, the subsequent exodus, life in exile, poverty, the continual subjugation of our people back home, our invisible refugee life in America – all are compounded into a kind of unshaped angst. The Tsarnaev brothers once again proved T.S. Elliot prophetic—in the bloody footsteps of the Virginia Tech Shooting, Oklahoma bombing, Columbine Massacre, and Waco – April seems indeed the cruelest month.
by Monica Luhar
A civil lawsuit was filed Feb. 15 against the Encinitas Union School District in San Diego County alleging that the district, by providing instruction in Ashtanga yoga, is thereby “promoting religious beliefs.” The action was filed by The National Center for Law & Policy, an Escondido, Calif.-based nonprofit “legal defense organization” focusing on “protection and promotion of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, parental rights and other civil liberties.”
by Kevin Morris
Hip Hop's raw depictions of life in crime-ridden communities, the rise to fame and the value of material gain seem to conflict with the traditional religious ideals of love, moral uprightness, self-control and humility. Despite the noted differences, there is an inseparable relationship between hip hop and religion. These street epics situate themselves between the reality of poverty, helplessness, and the unfulfilled American Dream while still holding on to the hope of a greater power having their back in the long run.
by Mark Bizzell
The National Institute of Mental Health says that up to one-quarter of Americans have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. And the CDC reports that while one in 10 Americans over age 12 use prescribed antidepressants, most don't see a therapist. This is despite evidence that talk therapy can help. A new study from the United Kingdom published in The Lancet shows that while up to two-thirds of people don’t respond fully to antidepressants, they are three times more likely to experience a reduction in their depression symptoms if talk therapy was added to their treatment regimen.
by Wendy Diaz
In a long black garment and gray headscarf, Morales sits in front of a computer entering notes and taking phone calls from the program’s hotline, 1-877-WhyIslam, a resource for individuals hoping to learn more about the religion. A Mexican immigrant and recent convert, Morales is the national Spanish-language outreach coordinator for the program, part of ICNA’s mission to disseminate information about Islam nationwide. But Morales’ efforts go beyond U.S. borders: the 37-year-old recently led a trip to bring Islamic literature, food and clothing to her native Mexico.
by Tyler Huggins
Often on prominent display, Slavoj Zizek is radical philosophy incarnate. Hirsute, animated, staggeringly intelligent and expectedly misanthropic (it comes with the cognitive territory), Žižek is the "hero Gotham deserves". Or, to draw from the Socratic quote, he and his contemporaries have been attached to our epoch "by the god." Žižek and co. (Tariq Ali, Alain Badiou, Noam Chomsky) practice the art of ripping our society a new one, prompting incisive questions that beget awkward pauses and shuffling of feet from the addressed. They largely function to upset the status quo (or, bureaucratic routine).
by Andrew Lam
Buddhism made a bleep in the news early this month when the Times of India and other news outlets, citing an unnamed source, reported that Bill Clinton, has turned to Buddhism for mental and physical well-being. The former president went so far as hiring a Buddhist monk to teach him the arts of meditation. This may come as a surprise to some but to many others, it's only a natural course of how things transpire in the globalized world. For if Americanization is a large part of globalization, the Easternization of the West, too, is the other side of the phenomenon.
by Trevor Laurence Jockims
Slavoj Žižek has earned himself a reputation as something of a philosophical wild man, an epithet derived at least as much from the way he inhabits a room as it is from the content of his books. The crux of God in Pain is a good one, and although tempting to see it as a corrective to Hitchens and Dawkins-esque writings on atheism, the latter group is so thoroughly outweighed by the sheer force of Žižek’s brain that the comparison is sort of pointless.