Religious Diversity News

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From Vesak to Solstice: Connecting Through Festival

What do feeding monks, fighting a crowd to reach the front row of a rock concert, and celebrating the first day of summer have in common? They can all take place at a festival. Whether it’s a religious ceremony or an event in the name of art or music, festivals have a certain allure that brings together diverse crowds of people to share a cultural experience.

The anticipation of a major festival instills a certain type of feeling. There’s a welling of excitement in one’s chest, knowing that it is a “special day.” I have always been attracted to the type of energy that festivals generate. Being raised Catholic, the Christmas experience was filled with sensory delights signalling that it was an important time of year. Christmas music played over the radio, peppermint candies were sold, and an evergreen conifer tree appeared in the living room. A thrill came on Christmas morning from not knowing what to expect after a magical being’s personal visit to our home.

Source: From Vesak to Solstice: Connecting Through Festival | Buddhistdoor

Sikhs to be counted as separate ethnic group in US census for first time

For the first time, Sikhs in the US will be counted as a separate ethnic group in the 2020 census, an organisation of the minority community said on Tuesday, describing it as a milestone moment.

President of the Sikh Society of San Diego Baljeet Singh said the Sikh community’s efforts have come to fruition.

“This has paved the way forward nationally not only for the Sikh community but also for other ethnicities in the United States,” he said.

Source: Sikhs to be counted as separate ethnic group in US census for first time – The Hindu BusinessLine

Evanston organizations aid homeless during winter nights

For Evanstonians experiencing homelessness, the winter months are especially dangerous. At least 18 people in Cook County have suffered cold-related deaths since November, and homeless people risk frostbite and injury from the months of November to March, Interfaith Action director Sue Murphy said.

While the number of homeless people in Evanston is difficult to quantify, local nonprofit social service providers estimate that about 10 percent of Evanston’s population — roughly 7,500 people — are either homeless or at risk of becoming so.

Source: Evanston organizations aid homeless during winter nights

The age of nones may favor churches that welcome doubters

The media have paid a lot of attention to the rise of the religiously unaffiliated in recent years, and for good reason. In 1990, just 1 in 20 adult Americans were not connected to a religious faith. Today, it’s closer to 1 in 4. The ripples of such a shift are still being sorted out by observers of American religion.

One of the most visible effects is that the pews are much emptier today than they were just 30 years ago. What does that decline look like, in the simplest terms?

Source: The age of nones may favor churches that welcome doubters – Religion News Service

Love of baking and prayer make religious brother a winner 

The oven timer dings, alerting Capuchin Franciscan Brother Andrew Corriente the chocolate layer cake he is baking needs to be checked.

A quick test with a toothpick tells him the cake needs about five more minutes in the oven, more than enough time for him to soften the butter that will eventually become the buttercream icing that will top the confection.

The enticing aromas in the kitchen at Capuchin College in Washington signal that Brother Andrew is busy creating another treat for the men who call the friary home.

Source: Love of baking and prayer make religious brother a winner – Catholic Philly

How Filipinos celebrate their faith during Santo Nino festival season

While festivals after Epiphany are often known for Mardi Gras, a popular Filipino celebration of the Christ Child comes to several parishes throughout the U.S. in January.

The Festival of Santo Nino de Cebu — rooted in the deep faith of the Filipino people and originating in the Philippines’ Cebu province — finds special Masses, dances and processions taking place in which participants carry a statue of the infant Jesus marking the 16th-century arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

Source: How Filipinos celebrate their faith during Santo Nino festival season | America Magazine

Vandals paint racist graffiti on Orangevale Sikh center

A new Sikh center in Sacramento County was defaced with racist graffiti.

Vandals spray-painted swastikas and the words “White Power” on the stone marking the entrance to the Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Center on Walnut Avenue in Orangevale.

“This is racism. This is a hate crime. This is unfortunately something no one should have to go through, no community, no religion,” said volunteer Dimplejeet Bhullar.

Source: Vandals paint racist graffiti on Orangevale Sikh center

Faithful friendships: Study examines interfaith connections

In a diverse world, research shows that interfaith friendships have the capacity to encourage understanding and tolerance.

A recent report from the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey highlights the importance of college friendships across religious lines. IDEALS was founded by Matthew Mayhew, an Ohio State professor of educational administration, and Alyssa Rockenbach of North Carolina State University to figure out how to encourage diverse interactions among college students, according to Interfaith Youth Core, a national nonprofit that is part of conducting the survey.

Source: Faithful friendships: Study examines interfaith connections

What ‘The Good Place’ says about Jewish ethics

Like many things in Judaism, notions of the afterlife can seem to be a jumble of competing interpretations.

There’s no consensus as to what the life-to-come may look like, but one suggestion of heaven is the yeshiva shel ma’ala — or the “yeshiva on high,” where the departed engage in endless Torah study. For some, this would truly be bliss: Time enough at last to review the questions and moral dilemmas that occupied their time on earth. Others, however, might find it a snooze or a moot point. After all, you’re in heaven — who needs to study the stuff that made earth such a clusterfork?

Source: What ‘The Good Place’ says about Jewish ethics – The Forward

Atheists prefer cats, Christians love dogs, study shows

I do not, and will not ever, own a cat.

Instead, I own a dog. In fact, as I type this, Lucy, my 7-pound Yorkshire terrier, is snoring next to me on my office chair.

Why do I prefer dogs to cats?

It could be because — along with being a social scientist — I am an American Baptist pastor. And like many other Christians in the United States, I’m more likely to own a dog than a cat.

Source: Atheists prefer cats, Christians love dogs, study shows – Religion News Service