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Indian Muslims do not need special treatment

Change has come to India. The great democracy is undergoing an unprecedented churning and a new political narrative is emerging. Pundits agree that the emergence of “common man” has shaken the old, ossified power structures to the core and cynical, old politics and politicians are being forced to embrace the new grammar of change. Yes, change. Change is the buzzword. For some though, the more things change the more they remain the same. For once, I agree with Narendra Modi. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s concern over the victimization of Muslims and his warning to state governments against the targeting of Muslim youths is nothing but a “brazen and callous attempt to woo the minority community.”
Arab News

Officials In Laos Tell Christians To Renounce Faith In Jesus Christ Or Be Deported
Imagine being told that if you did not give up your faith in Jesus Christ that you would be forced out of your town and lose all of your property. That is precisely what a group of Christian families in three villages in the nation of Laos were told by their government officials after it was discovered that they were meeting regularly for home Bible study and worship.
Beginning and End

What is Paganism? Part I: The Basics: Religion, Spirituality, and Stories
I was recently involved in an intense discussion arising over an article linked from The Wild Hunt. The article complained about a friend’s statement describing Paganism to an interfaith audience, and I responded by defending him. After that the discussion took off in the direction of “Who is a Pagan and how do we know?” I continued until, in my judgment, we were getting too testy. Best to stop.
Patheos

The Spirituality of Writing
My spirituality as I define it is intimately connected with my writing–even more so now that I’ve been exploring my writing purpose more intently–and drives it in a way that makes it more meaningful and satisfying. And I’ve seen the spirituality/essence/core of other writers too. At Saturday’s goal setting workshop, Shari Caudron connected writing and spirituality without hesitation and without apology. I could see it and feel it from her and it enriched my workshop experience even more.
Denise Vega

Religion Destroying Alliance
One religion demands to manage the Dining hall. Sausages and bacon cannot be served. Utensils should only be used for food approved by that religion. Meals must be prepared in the prescribed manner, by approved staff and served in accordance to the religious calendar. Another religion wants to control the routine of the school. To determine days and times learning, exams and sports can be held; when the day starts, what can or cannot be done and when and how the school should worship. Another desires to determine the running of the chapel by deciding who can lead, preach, or pray. Women should not be allowed near the front or even to stand in chapel. The traditionalists even claim that circumcised boys should not be instructed by women.
All Africa

Nigeria’s religious leaders welcome controversial anti-gay law
Christian and Muslim leaders in Nigeria welcomed a controversial law that bans same-sex marriages and imposes a 14-year jail term for homosexual relations. On Monday (Jan. 13), President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which parliament passed in May. The law follows a similar one passed in Uganda in December, which imposes life imprisonment for some types of homosexual acts.
The Washington Post

The Church of ‘Yeezianity’ Is a New Religion That Worships Kanye West
“Yeezianity” is either an actual new religion that considers rapper Kanye West to be its “savior” or a hilarious and elaborate art project that almost approaches the brilliance of West’s work. Either way, the “Church of Yeezus” has a very comprehensive website, which presents the religion as an “anonymous group who believes that the one who calls himself Yeezus is a divine being who has been sent by God to usher in a New Age of humanity.”
Mediaite

 

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Is Religion Good for Business? New Study Reveals Surprising Link

You might think that religion may deter business, but researchers have now found that the opposite is true. It turns out that businesses with head offices in places with high levels of “religiosity” are less likely to experience stock price crashes as a result of not disclosing bad financial news. The findings reveal that if you’re looking for a business to invest in, you may want to consider one that’s religious.
Science World Report

Zoroastrians mull future at India meeting
The world’s tiny but hugely successful Zoroastrian community will confront a demographic crisis which threatens its very existence when it gathers en masse in its spiritual home of Mumbai this week. The four-day World Zoroastrian Congress, beginning on Friday, brings together followers of one of the world’s oldest religions, many of whom are descended from Persians who fled to India to escape persecution more than 1000 years ago.
SBS

Atheists are standing up for religion
The most prominent thinker in the first wave of religion-friendly atheists was Alain de Botton, the Swiss-British author of Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion (2012). De Botton worried that as fewer and fewer of us went to church, temple, mosque or reading room, we would come to lose our sense of being members of a community with responsibilities to one another. We atheists, he wrote, have much to learn from religion about care, compassion, forgiveness and duty. We belittle the inter-personal or social accomplishments of religion at our peril.
The Province

Circumcision of young boys is not a right
It is a basic tenet of human rights law that one right may well conflict with another. The classic case is the right to privacy vs. the right to free speech. Regarding the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons, children’s right to physical integrity conflicts with parents’ right to freedom of religion. As many of its resolutions show, the assembly has been a strong supporter of religious rights. But in this case, when considering the relative weight of the human rights in question, the assembly gave precedence to the rights of children.
Stuff

To what degree is it reasonable to describe Paganism as ‘a religion’?
What is the relationship between religion and spirituality? These are big questions, by anyone’s standards. When you start out along a Pagan path, these questions may be visible to you and troubling. Equally they may be invisible, which can make the questing a good deal harder. The very nature of Paganism makes tidy answers difficult to find.
Patheos

Jesus, Christianity And Social Justice
Christianity in India was—and is—not a monolith of social conservatism or progressivism, very much like Europe or elsewhere (as we saw in the preceding discussion). This duality of the Christian tradition continued during the colonial rule and continues still in many visible and invisible ways. Put otherwise, the emergence of phenomena such as the Christian right and Liberation theology have their local versions all over the world. Thus, in regard to India (where 85 per cent Christians are subalterns or dalit-adivasis who embraced the religion in the hope of freedom from caste-class oppression), the Christian leadership has to decide whose legacy it carries and celebrates.
Countercurrents

Try Buddha’s eightfold path to restore amity and sanity
Although some might construe Buddhism as an Oriental intrusion intended to discombobulate the predominantly Judeo-Christian culture of the Occident, those who revere the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are most likely to appreciate the contribution that Buddhism could make to remove the mental fetters that have caused much agony and discontentment (dukkha) among people living in a society driven by excessive materialism.
Sri Lanka Guardian

How an atheist deals with Christmas
“Part of my interest in being a vocal atheist is to let more people know that we are out here,” [Ron] Herman said. “We are members of the community and we’re responsible members of the community with integrity like other people. And we strive to do good even though we don’t have gods. I like to let people know, hey, we’re not all believers.”
Albuquerque Journal

A Christian Musician With More Questions Than Answers
Last year, Christianity Today magazine named Josh Garrels’ Love & War & The Sea in Between its album of the year. In 66 minutes, Garrels mentions Jesus exactly once. The album is a lyrical, haunting exploration of what it means to be a Christian.
NPR Music

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