Winter isn’t coming — it’s already here. With it comes the hope — if not the time — to curl up under the covers, or by the fire, and read a good book. Here are seven titles you won’t find on the religion shelf at the bookstore, or library, but that nonetheless use religion and spirituality themes to propel the story.
Nearly 200 religious and civil rights groups are petitioning President Obama to dismantle the regulatory framework behind a Homeland Security program critics say discriminates against Muslims and Arabs.
President-elect Donald Trump has appointed one of the architects of the program, Kris Kobach, to his transition team. That, and Trump’s own calls on the campaign trail for “extreme vetting” of immigrants, have led some to believe that he will revive the National Security Exit-Entry Registration System.
The American Civil Liberties Union collected more than $11 million and 150,000 new members. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Twitter account gained 9,000 followers. And the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism and other bigotries, saw donations increase fiftyfold.
In the days since Donald Trump won the presidency, these spikes, in support for groups that defend religious and other minorities, speak to a fear that the president-elect will trample on their rights — or at least empower those who would.
The high school I went to, on Long Island, taught me a lot about race. I learned about overt racism, and what we now call microaggressions.
Over a quarter of a century later, I am under no delusions that we live in a post-racial society.
I fear now, as I have feared for months, the impact of his presidency on vulnerable people — including the white and working-class voters in places like my home state of Ohio who lent him their support.
Christians always have disagreements about policy proposals or party platforms during election seasons. But this year, I wonder how white Christians who read the same Scriptures and hold many of the same beliefs that I do could support a man who in word and deed has flaunted the core teachings of our faith.
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.
During the second U.S. presidential debate on Oct. 9, Donald Trump said, when asked about Islamophobia, that Muslims in the U.S. need to “report when they see something going on.”
“In San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them.”
In response Muslims began to tweet using the hashtag #MuslimsReportStuff:
The study comes in the same year that Larycia Hawkins — Wheaton College’s first black, female professor to receive tenure — parted ways with the evangelical flagship school after she posted on Facebook that both Christians and Muslims worship the “same God.” The controversy stirred fresh debate among evangelicals about whether all religions worship the same God, and whether God accepts the worship of all religions.
Pope Francis met with refugees and leaders of religious faiths including Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus who joined him for a day of prayer for peace in Assisi, home of his namesake, the 12th-century friar St. Francis.
But it was the migrants he invited to join him for lunch on Sept. 20 who captured the headlines and illustrated the tangible impact of war and conflict.
As millions of Muslims worldwide sharpen their knives for the annual animal slaughter of Eid al-Adha, some have been left disturbed by their community’s high level of meat consumption.
Walk into any mosque on Sept. 12, the first day of Eid al-Adha for most U.S. Muslims. Chances are, worshippers’ plates will be loaded up with chicken, beef, or lamb.
“It’s as though they think eating meat is obligatory in Islam,” said Mohamed Ghilan, a vegan and student of Islamic jurisprudence in Vancouver, Canada. “And so many people believe that slaughtering an animal on Eid is obligatory, too.”
Amid heightened tensions over ISIS-fueled terror attacks and anti-Muslim rhetoric, a prominent U.S. cardinal says Islam “wants to govern the world” and Americans must decide if they are going to reassert “the Christian origin of our own nation” in order to avoid that fate.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, a Rome-based prelate known as an outspoken conservative and critic of Pope Francis’ reformist approach, said in an interview on July 20 that Islam is “fundamentally a form of government.”
Nice, on France’s Mediterranean coast, now joins a long list of cities, on four continents, where Islamist terrorists have perpetrated gruesome attacks, mercilessly killing hundreds of innocents.
And those are just where some of the highest-profile outrages have occurred, the ones that attract headlines. The fact that millions of people, mostly other Muslims, survive under the daily brutality of violent Islamists in large parts of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Gaza, Nigeria, and elsewhere is so routine as to barely be newsworthy.
If a terrorist claiming he was inspired by his Christian faith killed worshipers at a church in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, would anyone suggest that he was a true Christian or represented the beliefs of other Christians worldwide? Of course not. Such a man would be denounced by Christians everywhere, along with whatever twisted organization he represented.
Stuart Levy, a nurse at a Jerusalem hospital, updates his ward’s work schedule several times a week, with staffers’ vacations, birthdays and more religious holidays than many people know exist.
“We have 18 hospital beds, and on any given day we may have an Orthodox Jew next to a devout Muslim next to a Catholic next to a Druze next to a Russian Orthodox patient,” said Levy, head nurse of the oncology/hematology ward at Hadassah Medical Center-Ein Kerem. “And many of our staff are religiously observant.”
A Muslim civil rights organization says that a record number of groups are spreading hatred of Muslims and have raised more than $200 million in funding since 2008.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group, issued its findings in a report conducted with the Center for Race and Gender at the University of California, Berkeley, released June 20.
Donald Trump, who has proposed a moratorium on Muslim immigration into the United States and possible surveillance of mosques, is now talking about “profiling” Muslims as a response to terrorism.
“I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” Trump said on CBS’ Face The Nation.
Southern Baptists are usually the first to defend religious freedom. But when it comes to Muslims, some want to draw a line.
At their annual meeting in St. Louis, an Arkansas pastor said Baptists shouldn’t support the right of Muslims to build mosques, especially “when these people threaten our very way of existence as Christians and Americans.”
Religious freedom is a foundational tenet for Southern Baptists, but apparently one church official in Georgia didn’t get the memo, at least as it applies to Islam.
Now Gerald Harris is facing sharp criticism, but also the prospect of a Ramadan meal with local Muslims who have invited him so he can get to know them better.
The nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization has been earnestly educating Americans for years about Islam while denouncing the growing tide of anti-Muslim bigotry.
But it’s always an uphill battle, so this week the Council on American-Islamic Relations decided to try a little humor instead. The result is the introduction of a spoof medication called “Islamophobin” that seems sure to get more notice than CAIR’s usual campaigns.
“A Muslim mosque cannot be subjected to a different land-use approval process than a Christian church simply because local protesters oppose the mosque,” reads the brief from almost 20 religious and civil rights groups.