Posted by Amanda Greene 11 weeks 1 day ago
Citing the need for transparency in the U.S. record on human rights, nearly 200 clergy and religious leaders from North Carolina are seeking the public release of a 6,000-page Senate intelligence report on U.S. torture of terrorism detainees after 9/11.The letter, dated Aug. 27 and released to the media on Thursday, was sent from the North Carolina Council of Churches in Raleigh to Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.The letter, signed by 18 bishops, including the leaders of both of the state’s Catholic dioceses, stated that in light of conflicts in Syria and around the Middle East, transparency on U.S. torture practices was needed.
Posted by Amanda Greene 20 weeks 3 days ago
Driving through the Spanish moss-draped gates of the Mepkin Abbey Trappist monastery in Moncks Corner, S.C., businessman August Turak felt as if he had just lost a whole lot of weight.Not physical weight, but the weight of emotional and spiritual burdens.After a corporate career with companies like MTV, Turak sold two successful software companies for $150 million, but shattering his ankle in a skydiving accident “brought me face to face with my own mortality.”
Posted by Amanda Greene 28 weeks 6 days ago
Amanda Holowaty didn’t need God to get married. She just needed her husband Mike.When the Wilmington atheist couple decided to join their lives a year ago, they knew they wanted a secular wedding celebrant, but their families weren’t so sure. Her family is Methodist and his is “generally spiritual.” And they worried about even telling Mike’s grandmother, who is Eastern Orthodox. So they found a wedding celebrant ordained through the Humanist Society, Han Hills, who allowed their family members to read a spiritual poem.“Nobody seemed to notice that we didn’t mention God,” Holowaty said. “People came up afterward and said it was one of the best weddings they’d seen.”
Posted by Amanda Greene 34 weeks 4 days ago
WILMINGTON, N.C. — A resolution to allow North Carolina to defy the Constitution and establish a state-sanctioned religion may be dead in the state capitol, but minority faiths say there’s more than enough reason to remain nervous.Some worry about the implications the bill has for North Carolina, a majority Protestant state with growing Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist populations.Manzoor Cheema, a Raleigh resident and board member of the Triangle Interfaith Alliance, said he believes the resolution should be a wake-up call.“I think this is a very disturbing development; very bad for our state. In my opinion, as a Muslim, a minority community member and immigrant from Pakistan, I believe that separation of church and state is fundamental and grants us many freedoms,” he said.“But it’s a blessing in disguise to mobilize the interfaith community in North Carolina.”
Posted by Amanda Greene 1 year 1 week ago
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.” – Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol.WILMINGTON, N.C. — ‘Tis the season for “Bah Humbug” and “God bless us every one,” especially as the world caps off a year of celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the birth of novelist Charles Dickens.Starting this weekend as the Christmas season begins with Advent, cities will transform their streets to Victorian English landscapes with strolling carolers and stage different productions of Dickens' most famous yuletide work, A Christmas Carol.
Posted by Amanda Greene 1 year 10 weeks ago
The difference between sex trafficking and freelance prostitution is who has the control and who is keeping the money, said prosecutor Lindsey Roberson, an assistant district attorney in New Hanover County. If a girl or a woman is being forced or coerced by a pimp to perform sex acts without monetary gain, that’s trafficking.The North Carolina Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking ranks the state among the top 10 states for the problem. North Carolina’s three major highways connect much of the East Coast, and the state has a large transient military and farmworker population, and international seaports in the Cape Fear region.In May, Roberson helped start a deferred prosecution pilot program for first-time offenders with prostitution charges, partnering with a local rape crisis center.As a Christian, Roberson is also on the board of a new faith-based effort called the Centre of Redemption, which is scheduled to open in December to help pregnant teens and teen moms who are also trafficking victims.
Posted by Amanda Greene 1 year 30 weeks ago
The sign outside the polling station at Devon Park United Methodist Church exemplified this state's struggle with a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage."A true marriage is male and female and God," the church marquee read. All around the church sign were small campaign signs that read: "Vote Against Constitutional Amendment" and "Amendment One Harms Children Vote Against."The amendment was approved Tuesday (May 8) by 61 percent of voters, with some counties endorsing it with more than 80 percent of the vote. Only seven counties voted against it."In some sense North Carolinians are voting against their own beliefs," according to the Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling firm said. "Fifty-three percent of voters in the state support either gay marriage or civil unions, yet a majority also support the amendment that would ban both."
Posted by Amanda Greene 1 year 34 weeks ago
Andrew Bowen sat yoga-style in his armchair, absent-mindedly fingering a set of Muslim prayer beads in his left hand as he talked about 2011 -- his year of conversion.But he's not Muslim. In fact, the 29-year-old Lumberton resident doesn't call himself by any of the 12 faiths he practiced for a month at a time last year.Not Hindu (January). Not Baha'i (February). Not Zoroastrian (March). Not Jewish (April). Not Buddhist (May). Not agnostic (June). Not Mormon (July). Not Muslim (August). Not Sikh (September). Not Wiccan (October). Not Jain (November). And not Catholic (December).Finding faith in God again was not Bowen's aim. This young father of two was looking for faith in humanity.
Posted by Amanda Greene 1 year 40 weeks ago
WILMINGTON, N.C. — As the only Southern state without a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, North Carolina is the next battleground, with religious groups on both sides bracing for a high-stakes fight on May 8.Against a recent string of gay-marriage victories in California, Washington state and Maryland, North Carolinians will be asked to vote on a constitutional amendment on May 8, the same day as the state Republican primary.Same-sex marriage has been illegal in the Tar Heel State since 1996; Minnesota also has a marriage amendment planned for a vote in November."Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state," the proposed amendment reads.