Religious Diversity News

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Sikh community fears worship site will be razed to make way for condos

A notice taped on a nearby tree is the only official word that Sikh worshippers say they received about plans to raze the gurdwara where they’ve gathered for decades.

A four-story commercial and residential condominium complex is now planned to take over the Sikh Community Gurdwara in Alhambra, a San Gabriel Valley city about 10 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

The project has been approved by the city of Alhambra’s planning commission. Plumbing and electrical plans have been submitted. About half a million dollars, the developer and landowner said, has already been spent.

But Sikh worshippers said their landlord never informed them that the building where they’ve gathered for decades would be demolished. Their landlord said he told them changes were coming. And he said the community has had only a month-to-month lease on the building.

Source: Sikh community fears worship site will be razed to make way for condos – Religion News Service

Habitat for Humanity brings faiths together to build home for Louisville family

Habitat for Humanity partnered with volunteers from three faith traditions to help build a home in their Interfaith Build on Sunday morning.

A group of volunteers from Middletown Christian Church, Temple Shalom, and Al Noor Mosque worked together to build a new house for a family originally from Sudan who moved to the United States three years ago.

Source: Habitat for Humanity brings faiths together to build home for Louisville family

College Board to expand testing options for AP exam on Muslim holiday

Responding to concerns about a possible conflict between Advanced Placement exams and a major Muslim holiday next school year, the College Board will expand testing options for the holy day of Eid al-Fitr in 2021.

College Board officials said Wednesday that tests planned for May 13 of that year — the expected date of the Eid holiday — would be given a second time on May 18, to support students observing the holiday.

Source: College Board to expand testing options for AP exam on Muslim holiday – The Washington Post

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