Religious Diversity News

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‘Prayer Over the City’ to include 17 churches, faith groups coming together to usher in new year

Fifteen years ago a small group of local faith leaders and others gathered at Pioneer Park overlooking St. George on New Year’s Day. They offered short prayers and thoughts for blessings of hope and unity for the community, which has since become an annual tradition held at the St. George Tabernacle.

The annual “Prayer Over the City” event returns to the St. George Tabernacle to open a new decade with a diverse mix of faith leaders from Christian, nondenominational and other faith groups offering thoughts and prayers focused on various aspects of the community.

Source: ‘Prayer Over the City’ to include 17 churches, faith groups coming together to usher in new year – St George News

Christian and Jewish congregations share seasonal holiday customs

The pews of Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside were filled on Sunday morning for one event that happens every year, to be followed by one it had never hosted before.

The usual: Since it was the fourth Sunday of Advent, the one closest to Christmas, the church hosted its annual pageant in the historic Gothic sanctuary, where children who were dressed as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels and wise men re-enacted the story of the birth of Jesus — along with live sheep, a docile donkey and a reluctant camel.

Source: Christian and Jewish congregations share seasonal holiday customs | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Living on a prayer: Boulder County Jail accommodates spectrum of worship

Joe Herzanek, a chaplain for the Boulder County Jail, starts his day like many in the working world: checking his messages. Only for Herzanek, these come in the form of written inmate requests called a kite, seeking religious materials and spiritual guidance — from Buddhist prayer beads, rosary, to a copy of the Mormon Bible or a prayer rug.

“Some days I’m like the Maytag repair man, looking for something to do,” Herzanek said. “Other days, I have 25 kites.”

Source: Living on a prayer: Boulder County Jail accommodates spectrum of worship

Montana Battle Over Aid for Religious Schools Reaches Supreme Court

Kendra Espinoza sends her daughters to Stillwater Christian School, in Kalispell, Mont. The girls are thriving, but the tuition bills are steep. Ms. Espinoza, a single mother, has worked three jobs, raffled off quilts and held yard sales to help make the payments.

She had also hoped to get some money from a state program enacted in 2015 “to provide parental and student choice in education.” Soon after the program started, though, a state agency said students attending religious schools were not eligible.

Ms. Espinoza and two other mothers with children at Stillwater sued, and the Montana Supreme Court ruled against them, shutting down the entire program for all schools, religious or not.

Source: Montana Battle Over Aid for Religious Schools Reaches Supreme Court – The New York Times

Detroit Zen Center focuses on sustainability with green roof project

You might imagine a Buddhist monastery in the mountains of Korea, surrounded by nature and silence.

But located near the heart of Hamtramck, a working-class neighborhood home to more than 30 ethnic groups, an east-meets-west Buddhist monastery stands proudly as an essential piece of the city.

The Detroit Zen Center was founded in 1990 as a spiritual organization with a mission to teach meditation and sustainability, according to vice-Abbot and director Myungju. The center’s motto is to shine one corner of the world.

Source: Detroit Zen Center focuses on sustainability with green roof project

December Dilemma: Advice for interfaith families celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah

Seattle’s Jennifer Stock grew up celebrating Christmas.

“Christmas for me was fun, it was important, there were lots of rituals involved.”

But when she married a Jewish man 30 years ago, holidays got complicated.

“Growing up and ever since, Christmas was the very worst time of the year,” said her husband, Sidney Stock.

Sidney was born in 1935, in the midst of the Hitler regime, and when he was four years old his father told him to keep his Judaism a secret. He says the strong Christmas presence in America has always made him feel isolated and lonely.

Source: December Dilemma: Advice for interfaith families celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah

Christianity Today Calls for Trump’s Removal

Evangelicals just received an ultimatum: Abandon President Donald Trump, or betray your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Christianity Today—the magazine founded by the famous preacher Billy Graham, and the longtime forum for mainstream evangelical thought—has published an editorial calling for Trump to be removed from the White House. The editor in chief, Mark Galli, acknowledged that “the typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square.” But the facts are “unambiguous,” Galli wrote. “The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

Source: Christianity Today Calls for Trump’s Removal – The Atlantic

The Critical Angle: Is ‘Star Wars’ really about Taoism?

I was raised in a hippy household. We started our meals with a reading from the Tao Te Ching, the founding text of Taoism. I also had the more conventional experience of growing up obsessed with Star Wars. I loved the original film trilogy, and though I watched Return of the Jedi until the VHS tape broke, it’s the scenes with Yoda in Empire Strikes Back that ultimately resonated with me the most.

Yoda was the first experience I ever had with a taoist sage. He managed both the irreverence and wisdom that goes with living in harmony with the Tao. As an adult, I’ve sadly realized that the Jedi are pretty terrible, primarily because they really don’t understand the philosophy they’re aping. Here’s what Star Wars gets wrong about Taoism and some suggestions to improve the Jedi, and by extension the Star Wars universe. Disney, I hope you’re taking notes.

Source: The Critical Angle: Is ‘Star Wars’ really about Taoism? | AIPT

Is Judaism an ethnicity? A race? A nationality? Trump signs an order and provokes an identity crisis.

“People keep coming into my office asking to talk about it,” Jewish educator Jordyn Barry said as she stood in a Barnes & Noble at Tysons Corner Center wearing a menorah on her sweater and a light-up Hanukkah hat.

They want to discuss a question that’s both new and as old as Abraham: What is Judaism anyway?

It’s a religion, yes — but then again, many who identify as Jews aren’t religious. It’s passed down from parents to children and bears recognizable genetic characteristics — but then again, Jews come in all colors and racial backgrounds.

Source: Is Judaism an ethnicity? A race? A nationality? Trump signs an order and provokes an identity crisis. – The Washington Post

Woman Forced To Remove Hijab In Front Of Male Jailers Settles Lawsuit For $120,000

A Muslim woman who says she was forced to remove her hijab in front of male jailers while taking a booking photo has received a $120,000 settlement from a Minnesota county, her attorneys said.

Aida Shyef Al-Kadi said Tuesday that she pursued a federal lawsuit against Ramsey County to ensure that no other Muslim woman in her area would be forced to violate their religious beliefs if they ended up in jail.

Source: Woman Forced To Remove Hijab In Front Of Male Jailers Settles Lawsuit For $120,000 | HuffPost