Religious Diversity News

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Ohio House passes bill it says will protect students’ religious liberties at school

The Ohio House on Wednesday approved legislation that would protect student rights to religious expression in public schools, including prayer, school assignments, artwork and clothing.

Lawmakers passed House Bill 164 by a vote of 61-31 and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

Sponsor Rep. Tim Ginter, R-Salem, said his “bill is not an expansion but a clarification (of) what students can and cannot do in religious expression.”

He added that the measure was “inclusive legislation that will positively enhance liberties.”

Critics said the U.S. Constitution and state law already guarantee religious freedom and school guidelines should be decided by local district officials.

Source: Ohio House passes bill it says will protect students’ religious liberties at school – News – The Columbus Dispatch – Columbus, OH

100-year-old Marian promise still brings faith to Key West conchs

On May 25, 1922, Sister Louise Gabriel watched as the grotto she had commissioned in Key West honoring Our Lady of Lourdes was dedicated, standing as a tangible assurance that so long as the structure stood, the island would be protected from hurricanes.

A member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, that have roots stretching back more than 100 years serving at Key West’s Minor Basilica of Saint Mary, Star of the Sea, Gabriel had witnessed the pain, devastation and heartache caused to Key West residents during powerful hurricanes in 1909, 1911 and 1919.

Source: 100-year-old Marian promise still brings faith to Key West conchs

Can Religion Still Speak to Younger Americans?

The fastest-growing population on the American religious landscape today is “Nones”—people who don’t identify with any religion. Recent data from the American Family Survey indicates that their numbers increased from 16% in 2007 to 35% in 2018. Over the same period, there has been a dramatic decline in the share of the population who identify as Christian, from 78% of Americans in 2007 to 65% in 2018-19, according to a report by the Pew Research Center released this month. The rise of Nones is even more dramatic among younger people: 44% of Americans aged 18 to 29 are Nones.

Source: Can Religion Still Speak to Younger Americans? – WSJ

Muslim woman who was told to remove her hijab at Denver arena speaks out

Gazella Bensreiti says out of all the times she has visited the Pepsi Center, this one was different.

“When I entered Will Call, the security person that was working immediately waved at me and told me that I had to ‘take that thing off’ of my head,” she said during a news conference outside the Colorado Muslim Society Wednesday morning.

The “thing” the security person was referring to was Bensreiti’s hijab.

Source: Muslim woman who was told to remove her hijab at Denver arena speaks out

Understanding Native American religion is important for resolving the Dakota Access Pipeline crisis

In recent weeks, protests against the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline across North Dakota have escalated. Native American elders, families and children have set up tipis and tents on a campsite near the pipeline’s path in the hope of stopping the pipeline’s construction.

Dave Archambault Jr., the leader of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that is leading the efforts to stop the pipeline, summed up what is at the heart of the issue. In a brief two-minute statement before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, he said,

“Oil companies are causing deliberate destruction of our sacred places.”

Source: Understanding Native American religion is important for resolving the Dakota Access Pipeline crisis

Bradenton couple’s business fills a niche for Santeria practitioners – News

Tucked away amid a nondescript strip mall off Tamiami Trail is an equally unpretentious storefront barely visible from the road. But according to the eclectic fare advertised in Spanish and English on the picture window, this place would appear to have a monopoly on a highly specialized local niche market.

Offerings range from powders and books to readings and initiations, the store is called Botanica, generically defined as a shop that sells “traditional remedies” and other items associated with religion or spirituality. Accordingly, say Vicky and Gabriel Baeza Hasbun, the wife-husband team that owns and operates Botanica, its location here at 5225 14th St. West is neither accidental nor arbitrary

Source: Bradenton couple’s business fills a niche for Santeria practitioners – News – Daytona Beach News-Journal Online – Daytona Beach, FL

In the sacred stillness of Arlington National Cemetery

While many Americans perceive Veterans Day as just another holiday that features special sales at countless shopping malls, that is not my view of November 11th. It has always been a solemn season of remembrance.

Last week my wife, Marcia, and my nephew Andrew Rudin visited Arlington National Cemetery, where my father and mother are buried. We were there to visit my parents’ grave and to recite the traditional kaddish, the Jewish prayer that is said in memory of a deceased loved one.

Source: In the sacred stillness of Arlington National Cemetery – Religion News Service

Lexington Sikhs invite community to open celebration

Sunday is an important day in the faith of Sikhism; it’s the 550th anniversary of the founder’s birth. Sikhs in Lexington opened their doors to anyone who wanted to learn more, in honor of the special day.

When you walk into the Gurudwara, you take off your shoes and cover your head, just like in other Indian religions.

But Surjit Singh Dhrooper says people only see the similarities in common Indian culture

Source: Lexington Sikhs invite community to open celebration

Teacher-led Prayer: Unconstitutional but Appropriate?

There is no question that Americans could use a lesson or two on the Constitution and its amendments. The Freedom Forum Institute’s 2019 State of the First Amendment survey found that only 29 percent of respondents could name freedom of religion as one of the five freedoms safeguarded by the First Amendment. To protect religious freedom, we must educate the public about our inalienable rights.

But what should educators and legal literacy advocates do when people know the law but do not care if authority figures violate it? That is the question raised by a recent survey of teenagers, ages 13 to 17, conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Source: Teacher-led Prayer: Unconstitutional but Appropriate? | Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute

Muslim Americans win local races, despite hateful attacks

Safiya Khalid says the recent elections send a powerful message.

“You don’t win elections on the internet,” the 23-year-old said. “You win them at the doors.”

Khalid quit Facebook at one point during her campaign for a seat on the City Council of Lewiston, Maine, because she was getting so many hate-filled messages. Someone even posted her home address.

“I even saw one that said, ‘I will shoot you,’” she said. “One that said, ‘You should be stoned.’”

Source: Muslim Americans win local races, despite hateful attacks

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