News

How the effect of anti-Muslim bias on campus harms students' education

December 28, 2021

For Amna Omar, who recently graduated from San Diego State University, the worst moment came in her freshman year, when a classroom discussion about religion turned to Islam. One student singled out Omar, telling her she was “oppressed” because of her jilbab, or full-body covering. Far from being concerned about her oppression, the student told Omar, she said, to “go back home” because her attire was not mainstream.

No one else objected to her treatment, she recalled. “The professor did not say anything. Nor did any students get involved. It was as if nothing happened,” Omar...

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Why are women becoming witches?

December 24, 2021

Seattle-based Bri Luna, aka @thehoodwitch, has 472,000 followers on Instagram. On her website, thehoodwitch.com, her profile picture shows an attractive young woman wearing a black dress that reveals both tattooed cleavage and one tattooed thigh, holding a crystal ball in a ring-bedecked hand. The image is fiercely sexual and deliberately powerful, but this is a power that is linked to magic, which, she says, is open to all who choose to claim it: “The universe is vast, and we need as many healing information sources as possible. It...

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Company seeks to restore oil lease on land sacred to tribes

December 23, 2021

 Attorneys for a Louisiana oil and gas company have asked a federal judge to reinstate a drilling lease it held on land considered sacred to Native American tribes in the U.S. and Canada.

The long-disputed energy lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area of northwestern Montana near the Blackfeet Reservation was cancelled in 2016 under then-U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. That decision was upheld by a federal appeals court last year.

Now Solenex LLC - the company that held the lease - is making another run at getting a court to restore its drilling rights. In...

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'Reach the Nones wherever they are': How religious leaders are trying to stem the tide

December 22, 2021

It's a Sunday afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas, and a flock of young people wander into a bar to kick back a few beers, sway to live music and mingle.

And then, they recite the Lord's Prayer.

It's quite a departure from traditional services, which have driven so many away from church in recent years. There's no confession, no fire and brimstone, and nobody's wearing their Sunday best.

Source:...

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Federal Agencies Sign Memorandum of Understanding for the Protection of Indigenous Sacred Sites

December 22, 2021

In November 2021, the secretaries of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (the participating agencies) entered into a voluntary Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to “improve the protection of, and access to, Indigenous sacred sites through enhanced and improved interdepartmental coordination, collaboration, and action.”

The MOU provides by...

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When Churches Closed, Religious Leaders Turned To Tech

December 20, 2021

When congregations were forced to turn to online services when the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, some religious leaders had to embrace digital platforms for the first time.

Not all churches were technologically equipped to produce worship services online. One Methodist pastor had to lend her own digital camera to the church, which had no digital resources. Another duct taped a borrowed smartphone to a ladder in order to stream a service. An Episcopal priest from Indianapolis described feelings of exhaustion and fatigue, saying that her online services fell flat and “wasn’t...

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The little-known Jewish origins of Boston's annual Christmas tree tradition

December 20, 2021

On an unseasonably warm December night earlier this month, some 12,000 people flocked to Boston Common for the lighting of the city’s official Christmas tree: a majestic, 48-foot white spruce. 

The event marked the 50th straight year that the people of Nova Scotia supplied Boston’s tree — a tribute to how the city, led by a prominent Jewish businessman, supported the Canadian province at a time of crisis.

At the Dec. 2 festivities, recently sworn-in Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who also took part in three public menorah lightings that week, was joined by Nova...

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Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of Costanoan/Ohlone Continue Working to Protect Sacred Land

December 20, 2021

Since 2015, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of Costanoan/Ohlone have been vehemently opposing a proposed quarry in central California that will eventually destroy four sacred mountains and cause serious ecological damage to Juristac, an area that is the heart of the tribe’s ancestral lands.

The proposed sand and gravel quarry would be located on and around the former Sargent Ranch in Santa Clara and San Benito counties near Gilroy, about 40 miles southeast of San Jose. The Debt Acquisition Company of America, a wealthy developer group from San Diego bought the land at auction in...

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Across US, houses of worship struggle to rebuild attendance

December 19, 2021

When Westminster United Methodist Church in Houston resumed in-person services late last year, after a seven-month halt due to COVID-19, there were Sundays when only three worshippers showed up, according to the pastor, Meredith Mills.

Since then, attendance has inched back up, but it’s still only about half the pre-pandemic turnout of 160 or 170, Mills estimates.

“It’s frustrating,” she said. “People just seem to want to leave home less these days.”

Source:...

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Michigan city gets ready to inaugurate all-Muslim government

December 18, 2021

For decades, Hamtramck was known as Michigan's "Little Warsaw," a city of just two square miles of tightly-packed houses and factories, spitting distance from downtown Detroit.

The Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla visited once, back in 1969, before he became Pope. A statue of Wojtyla, arms outstretched, still casts a shadow over what's now called Pope Park, where a huge mural of Polish folk dancers stretches almost an entire city block.

In the 99 years since its incorporation,...

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