News

Black church turnout effort mobilizes against alleged voter suppression

September 30, 2020

 

For each day left before Election Day, Martinique Mix, a graphic designer in Atlanta, is developing promotional materials for the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s get-out-the-vote efforts.

“We’re putting them on all social media and email to make sure it has a wide range so that it does reach the person who is 17 ½ and the person who is 77,” said Mix, the granddaughter of a retired AME bishop and president of the historically Black denomination’s ...

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The religious divide: Incidents of anti-Semitism spotlight divisions in Routt County, one of nation’s least religious counties

September 30, 2020

 

A few years ago, Sam Ogden heard that someone carved a swastika into a Steamboat Springs High School student’s car along with other Nazi-inspired vandalism. The incidents made the local and national news. He said a few Steamboat friends acted shocked.

They told Ogden, “’This isn’t the Steamboat I know. … This isn’t the Steamboat I graduated from,’” he said.

“They blamed it on Trump, but I told them ‘I don’t know which high school you went to, but it (swastikas) was all over my high school,’” he said, pointing out he graduated in 2013 before...

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‘Humanists for Biden-Harris’ to mobilize nonreligious vote

September 30, 2020

 

A new group is launching an effort to court nonreligious voters for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, hoping to mobilize a fast-growing — and deeply liberal — community to benefit Democrats in November.

The “Humanists for Biden” group, a project of the Secular Democrats of America, unveiled its plans on Monday (Sept. 28). The group is chaired by Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“The humanist and nonreligious community is poised to be a very significant part of this presidential...

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Reckoning with race, Black Buddhists seek space for healing in the dharma

September 29, 2020

 

Since nationwide protests erupted after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis, Black religious leaders have reminded their flocks that racial injustice is nothing new. “The foot on the neck of George Floyd has been a foot that’s been there ever since Black people came to the U.S.,” said Arisika Razak in a recent talk in Oakland, California, as she urged her listeners to find common cause with other oppressed racial and ethnic groups. 

What makes Razak's graphic image surprising is that she is a teacher of Buddhism, a...

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A Muslim athlete was disqualified from her high school volleyball match for wearing a hijab

September 29, 2020

 

A Tennessee high school athlete was disqualified from a volleyball match for wearing a hijab, prompting calls for a statewide rule change.

Najah Aqeel, a freshman at Valor Collegiate Prep in Nashville, was warming up for a match on September 15 when her coach said a referee had refused to let her play due to her headscarf.

The referee cited a casebook rule requiring athletes who wear a hijab to be granted authorization from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA). Najah, 14, said she did not have authorization, but that it wasn'...

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A Solution for Sikh Medical Students, Physicians Caught Between Their Religion and Their Profession

September 29, 2020

 

He was a third-year medical student, training to become an emergency medicine doctor. By May, more than two months into the Covid-19 pandemic, the situation had stabilized enough for the hospital to allow medical students to resume a vital part of their education: following attending physicians and residents during their morning rounds of patient visits, learning by observing.

But the student, who asked to be identified only as Mr. Singh, found himself facing a dilemma that cut to the core of his identify.

Before allowing students to resume their...

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Shofar popups and drive-in singalongs: Adapting Jewish 'Days of Awe' for COVID-19

September 28, 2020

 

In normal years, High Holy Days services hosted by Mishkan Chicago, an inclusive Jewish community based on the city’s North Side, sell out the 1,200-seat Vic Theatre.

Since the novel coronavirus put an end to in-person gatherings, the community has gotten by with virtual meeting platforms and Facebook, but its leadership knew group chats or glitchy Zoom boxes would be no replacement for the Vic.

But, even if it were not against state guidelines, gathering...

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Making the past present: Beloit College faculty, students raise awareness of burial mounds

September 28, 2020

 

A new wave of Beloit College students are actively working to help raise awareness of the indigenous burial mounds that span the college’s central campus, while recognizing past mistreatment of the sacred ground and native peoples.

The mounds are estimated to have been built between 500 BC and 1200 AD. Around 20 of the 27 mounds remain on campus, some of which were excavated or built over as the campus grew. According to Wisconsin State Archaeologist Robert Birmingham, 80% of mounds have been destroyed in Wisconsin.

The mounds were built by...

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‘It’s a challenge' — How the coronavirus is limiting temple worship for Utah Hindus

September 28, 2020

 

Like all of Utah’s religious groups, Hindus have been forced by COVID-19 to cut back their various festivals and forms of worship.

It has been especially hard for a faith whose deities are housed in a temple that is now mostly closed on weekdays and whose rituals are part of daily life for believers.

Under normal circumstances, Hindu devotees flock to the Sri Ganesha Temple in South Jordan as a priest typically chants daily before the shrines,...

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Despite arson, leaders of Columbus Buddhist temple say they're blessed to build center

September 23, 2020

 

As Eric Weinberg watched the Columbus Karma Thegsum Choling temple being destroyed by fire more than four years ago, all he could think was that the flames were releasing blessings into the air and out to the people of Columbus.

“That’s sort of what has turned out to be the case over the last few years,” said Weinberg, a board member of the Tibetan Buddhist congregation.

The Franklinton building, which fell victim to...

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