Image via RNS/Smithsonian

The exhibit is not intended as commentary on today’s politics, its organizers said. Work started on the project six years ago, before sharp rises in Islamophobic rhetoric and violence in the U.S. and Europe, and before Muslim immigration and culture became a flashpoint in American and European politics.

But the Smithsonian is not sorry for the timing, and hopes the exhibit can help quell fears of Islam and its followers.

Image via /

The incident seems like a straightforward hate crime: Swastikas sprayed in and around the New Jersey home of an Indian-American running for Congress earlier this month.

But the vandalism is steeped in religious and ethnic irony.

the Web Editors 10-26-2016

Former Speaker of the House and Donald Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich appeared on Fox News' The Kelly File Tuesday evening to discuss the final campaign push two weeks from Election Day. In a conversation about the debates and state of Trump's campaign, Gingrich quickly accused Kelly of media bias for not giving equal attention to Hillary Clinton's leaked emails and speech in which she mentioned "open borders." But when Kelly pointed out the seriousness of sexual assault allegations, Gingrich went on the attack.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

Catholics can be cremated under certain conditions, the Vatican has said, but loved ones should not scatter the ashes at sea, or on land, or into the wind, nor should they keep them in mementos or jewelry.

Instead, say new guidelines released on Oct. 25, the remains should be stored “in a sacred place” that “prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten” and “prevents any unfitting or superstitious practices.”

the Web Editors 10-25-2016

Political mural in Buenos Aires commemorating the Dirty War. Image via Carsten ten Brink/Flickr

Many have accused the Catholic Church of being complicit in the government-sanctioned violence, and the Argentinian Pope Francis has been criticized for being silent in the face of such atrocity. But today’s statement says the decision to release the archives came at the pope’s direction.

The move is noteworthy, given that many of the records would traditionally never be made public, while others would not typically be released for decades. The break with tradition, according to the statement, comes “in the service of truth, justice and peace.”

Image via RNS/Yoli Shwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority

The site where, nearly 2,000 years ago, the Roman army breached the outer walls of ancient Jerusalem, before capturing the city and destroying the Second Jewish Temple, has been discovered, the Israel Antiquities Authority says.

Archaeologists made the discovery last winter, during an exploratory survey at a future construction site, the IAA said on Oct. 20.

Image via RNS/Brian Pellot

Amazigh was one of 125 queer Muslim activists and allies who came together for The Inner Circle’s seven-day Annual International Retreat, from Oct. 14 to Oct. 21, in South Africa. The gathering focused on “building a movement towards an all-inclusive and compassion-centered Islam,” a mammoth task for attendees like Amazigh who live in countries where homosexuality and transgender expression are often taboo and criminalized.

the Web Editors 10-25-2016

Image via Sean Hawkey/World Council of Churches.

As of Oct. 25, French authorities have begun demolishing the migrant camp known as “the Jungle” in the city of Calais, reports CNN. The camp — stretching nearly 4 square kilometers — was home to more than 3,100 migrants. Many of these migrants have been bussed from the camp to other regions in France.

the Web Editors 10-25-2016

Image via /

As many as four white students were accused of putting a noose around the neck of a black student during football practice at Stone High School in Wiggins, Miss., earlier this month. The President of the Mississippi NAACP is now demanding a federal probe to investigate the matter. 

Layton E. Williams 10-24-2016

Image via /

Still, it’s rarely easy being a woman and a minister. We lean on one another, finding community in person and online in dedicated groups such as The Young Clergy Women Project and Rev Gal Blog Pals. And, occasionally, we rely on the cathartic release of a snarky internet meme, shared among fellow “Reverend Nasty Women.”

We keep at it, decade after decade, because God continues to call us to bring our stories, our gifts, and our whole selves to serve the church. And if progress is slow, it is nevertheless making a difference.

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