religion

The Magic and Beauty of India: A Photo Essay

Eliot Hess

I was lucky to have visited India during the “Spring Festival of Playing Holi” or the “Festival of Colors.” It is a Hindu festival that is celebrated by smearing, or throwing, colored chalk at others and then spraying water to make the colors run. Everyone is fair game. The trip left me with a lasting sense of spiritualism and beauty. I felt peace and harmony as never before. Even though there is obvious poverty in many regions of the country, there is still a sense of contentment you can’t find anywhere else.

New Film Explores Kabbalah, the Need for Religious Identity

Karen Wright

When Steven starts to ask questions, the Jewish community is happy to reintroduce and integrate him. As his rabbi cousin explains Kabbalah, Steven states that while some people are introduced by rituals, his motivation is to learn his heritage without any guarantee as to what he will do with that new knowledge. In fact, at the beginning of the documentary, Steven seems to be going through the motions of the rituals, just for the sake of experiencing something new, perhaps as you would try a new ride at the amusement park. 

Pope Francis’ Gentle Revolution

Angelo Franco

Even with the incredible speed in which he has managed to shake believers and skeptics alike, Francis has generally observed an equally orthodox attitude towards Catholic teachings, albeit with a somewhat more broadmindedness that borders on the reformist by the standards of the Church as we know it.  From a decisively focused stand on interreligious relations to controversial claims about contraception and homosexuality to political opinions about the Maldives, Francis both kindles and quenches hope with reverberating strength, which helps capture his image as a highly influential game-changer. 

Political Correctness Gone Amok

Mark Goebel

Political correctness first took over America’s institutions of higher learning in the 1970s – then quickly captured the media and entertainment industries. Jobs can be lost, careers destroyed, reputations sullied for merely saying what the P.C. police deem unacceptable. The muzzle that political correctness has become doesn’t just affect those who are voicing sincere religious beliefs either. It has come to hinder what we say about almost everything .

Where Politics Meets Religion

Shefali S. Kulkarni

Last week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) conducted a mass along the US-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona. Standing in front of a 30-foot-high rusted gate that separates the US from Mexico, eight bishops, from El Paso to Atlanta, prayed in both Spanish and English. They faced a crowd of about 800 people on the American side. Behind them, on the Mexican side of the fence, a hundred or so people peeked through the slates.

Why Is Blasphemy Still A Crime?

Hal Gordon

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an agency charged by Congress with monitoring liberty of conscience around the world, has just issued a report on prosecutions for blasphemy in other countries. Predictably, the leading offenders are Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Pakistan is cited as “the most egregious example … where blasphemy charges are common and numerous individuals are in prison, with a high number sentenced to death or life terms.”

Living Within the Confines of an Unhappy, Islamic Marriage

Natasha Dado

Recalling the day her Islamic divorce was finalized, Olivia said, "I was more than ecstatic, because it was almost like having a noose around your neck, and just relieved that somebody doesn’t have that power over you, and you’re out of such a hostile situation." Olivia, who chose not to use her real name, separated from her husband after six years of marriage and divorced him in civil court, but when he refused to grant her a religious divorce, she traveled across the country for four years meeting with imams in different cities asking for a divorce. 

The Boston Bombers and the Failure of the American Dream

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. 

Lawsuit Filed Against School District Argues Yoga Promotes Religious Beliefs

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.”

Rap Music’s Unexpected Path to Prayer and Faith

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. 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - religion