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Black skeptics find meaning in uplifting their community through social justice

October 15, 2020

 

Darrin Johnson would like nothing better than to rid the Black community of organized religion.

 The way Johnson sees it, Black people “don’t need outside beliefs or higher powers.”

“We have power,” Johnson said. “We are powerful entities. We just need to use that power.”

As an organizer with his local Black Lives Matter chapter, Johnson, an atheist, has sometimes felt a bit uneasy meeting in churches and working alongside pastors, who, like him, are calling for Black liberation.

For Johnson, Christianity has been the...

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‘Scholar strike’ for racial injustice includes divinity school professors

September 8, 2020

 

A religious studies professor at the University of Pennsylvania said thousands of faculty are supporting a “scholar strike” during which they are focusing on racial injustice in or out of their classrooms this week.

“I would be down as a professor to follow the NBA and Strike for a few days to protest police violence in America,” said Anthea Butler, who also teaches Africana studies, in an Aug. 26 tweet.

Since then, Butler said, more than 5,000 faculty have backed the...

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib joins Congressional Freethought Caucus

August 21, 2020

 

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first Muslim women in Congress, has joined the Congressional Freethought Caucus.

Launched in 2018, the caucus seeks to promote secular government, separation of church and state, freedom of conscience and policy “based on reason, science, and moral values,” and to oppose discrimination against nonreligious people, or the so-called nones.

Members do not need to identify as nonreligious. Tlaib is Muslim.

“Supporting religious freedom, church/state separation, and evidence-based public policy aren’t simply...

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A 24-hour online vigil will name some of the people who have died of COVID-19

May 20, 2020
Ahead of Memorial Day, which honors the nation’s wartime dead, a coalition of activists from across the country will hold a 24-hour online vigil naming some of the people who have died of COVID-19.
 
The #NamingTheLost vigil will begin Wednesday (May 20) at 2 p.m. Eastern on Facebook and end at 2 p.m. Thursday.
 
“By taking 24 hours to read the names of those we have lost, we seek to humanize and honor each person — and those whose names we do not know — at a time when we must be physically apart,” the website for...
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New report finds nonreligious people face stigma and discrimination

May 6, 2020

 

For more than 35 years, Jayrod Garrett’s life was immersed in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He fondly remembers going on a missionary trip to Hawaii, participating in a scouts program and making lifelong friends. He also recalls how hurt he felt when a church leader didn’t believe him when a group of kids called him the N-word or how tough it was grappling with the church’s stance against gay marriage.

In 2016, after years of feeling conflicted, Garrett left the church.

Now, he identifies as an atheist.

He...

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A 'curricular goldmine' for teaching and learning about religion online

May 1, 2020

As students and educators struggle with emergency online instruction, and many prepare for distance learning in the fall, quality online educational resources have never been more critical. The Pluralism Project’s newly redesigned website, pluralism.org, responds to this urgent need. Professor Diana L. Eck, the Pluralism Project’s founder and director, explains, “The Pluralism Project has long had a wide online presence. But now, with the impact of COVID-19 and the closure of campuses across the U.S., our wholly renovated and easy-to-use...

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At virtual Family Chapel, the 'spiritual but not religious' find community during pandemic

April 27, 2020

They lit candles, shared silence and a meditative blessing together. They read the words of an essay from “The Book of Delights,” by Ross Gay, and listened to “One Voice” by The Wailin’ Jennys. They dispersed into groups to reflect on anything the song and the poem may have evoked in them.

Then the 19 people at Family Chapel went back to work, in New York and Chicago and several time zones in between, resuming their Thursday afternoons or mornings.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic came ashore in the United States, traditional houses of worship have moved their worship...

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During coronavirus crisis, Congress’s first caucus for nonreligious belief seeks a larger role in promoting science

April 10, 2020

 

When Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) found out that a Trump administration rule that restricts research using fetal tissue from elective abortions was hampering scientists seeking treatments for the novel coronavirus, he had a coterie of like-minded members of Congress ready to help him protest.

The group is called the Congressional Freethought Caucus — the first caucus for...

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Religious freedom groups question governor's day of prayer declaration

April 10, 2020

 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds declared Thursday a day of prayer as the state continues to battle the coronavirus, but one group says that's not her place. 

During her daily press conference Thursday morning, Reynolds asked Iowans to pray for protection, healing, grace and peace. 

"This has been a challenging time for all of us but with God’s grace there is always a promise of hope," she said. 

Interfaith Alliance of Iowa executive director Connie Ryan said the group was alarmed by the ...

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How the coronavirus could change America’s religion of sports

March 25, 2020

More than 90 years ago, on a cold and stormy December night in Kansas, a Christian minister named Charles Sheldon walked into a crowded gymnasium to take in a college basketball game.

Sheldon is best known as the author of “In His Steps,” the 1896 book that popularized the “What Would Jesus Do?” phrase.

But in 1929 Sheldon was not wondering what Jesus would do; he was wondering what his church members were already doing.

As he watched the basketball game play out in front of him, Sheldon began to reflect.

“I couldn’t help wondering, while...

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