News

Muslim and Jewish man shake hands and smile

Pew Reports Americans Warming Toward Most Religious Groups

February 21, 2017

Americans’ perception of religious groups has increased nearly across the board over the past two years, according to a Pew Research Center report published Wednesday.

The survey ran from January 9 to January 23 of this year. 4,248 adults were asked to rank a variety of religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100. Although the survey revealed notable differences in perception of religious groups across lines of race, religious identity, and… Read more about Pew Reports Americans Warming Toward Most Religious Groups

Muslim woman and child hold a candle at a vigil after the Quebec shooting

After Attack on Mosque, Canadian Muslims Push for Systemic Change

February 16, 2017

Amidst public memorials and religious services following the January 29th terrorist attack on a Quebec mosque, Canadian Muslims are pushing for more lasting structural change.

It has been several weeks since a gunman shot and killed 6 mosque attendants during Sunday evening prayers at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center—and injured at least 8 others. While some have described the perpetrator—27-year-old university student Alexandre Bissonnette—as a “lone wolf” attacker, Canadian prime… Read more about After Attack on Mosque, Canadian Muslims Push for Systemic Change

A pastor delivers a talk

Trump Promises to “Destroy” Johnson Act

February 8, 2017

Last Thursday while attending his first National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump reiterated his intention to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, thereby allowing houses of worship to engage in political endorsements.

Trump’s promise to overturn restrictions on pulpit politicking was one of his most consistent talking points during his presidential campaign. While meeting with a group of conservative Christian leaders in June, Trump… Read more about Trump Promises to “Destroy” Johnson Act

A boy scout in uniform posing for the camera

Boy Scouts of America to Allow Transgender Members

February 2, 2017

The Boy Scouts of America has officially opened its membership to transgender boys, the organization announced Monday.

Ending the former policy of accepting members on the basis of the sex listed on their birth certificate, Boy Scouts of America will now register members based on the gender identity listed on their application. In a statement, the group said that they decided the former policy was “no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and… Read more about Boy Scouts of America to Allow Transgender Members

Man practicing yoga

Russian Yoga Teacher Acquitted of Proselytism Charges

January 30, 2017

Earlier this month, a St. Petersburg court dropped charges accusing a yoga instructor of illegal missionary activity. Critics of Russia’s crackdown on proselytism see the case as an example of the law’s ambiguity and ineffectiveness.

44-year-old Russian computer programmer Dmitry Ugay was arrested at the St. Petersburg “Vedalife” festival on October 22, 2016. Ugay was 40 minutes into a presentation on the spiritual principles behind the practice of yoga when police apprehended him on stage.  

Ugay was transported to a local police station and told to sign a confession on a… Read more about Russian Yoga Teacher Acquitted of Proselytism Charges

Child refugee

New Executive Action from Trump Targets Refugees, Muslim Immigrants

January 27, 2017

This Wednesday, several major news outlets received a draft of an upcoming executive order instituting a temporary ban on all refugees and on immigrants from some Muslim nations.

Many perceive the order as an amended version of the “Muslim ban” U.S. President Donald Trump proposed in 2015. Because the executive order includes exceptions for individuals who are “a minority religion” in their homeland,… Read more about New Executive Action from Trump Targets Refugees, Muslim Immigrants

A line of women with their mouths covered with read tape reading "life"

Pro-Life Feminists Decry Women’s March’s Pro-Choice Platform

January 20, 2017

This Saturday, the Women’s March on Washington plans to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump and advocate for a variety of issues that affect. What started as a grassroots effort by four women has grown into a massive movement, replete with a number of celebrity speakers. Bus services in states across the country have sold out for… Read more about Pro-Life Feminists Decry Women’s March’s Pro-Choice Platform

Sikh U.S. Army captain wearing a camouflage turban

U.S. Army to Permit Religious Turbans, Beards, and Hijabs

January 15, 2017

The United States Army will now allow soldiers to wear turbans, hijabs, and other religious markers, according to a new policy issued last week.

The new uniform regulations come after years of petitions from Sikhs, whose religious beliefs mandate them to grow their hair long and keep their heads covered with a turban. Army grooming standards compelling men to be clean-shaven particularly restricted Sikh men from enlisting, because to do so would require them violate the precepts of their faith.

In March, the United States Army determined that their standards—which allowed… Read more about U.S. Army to Permit Religious Turbans, Beards, and Hijabs

Little girl in swim cap leans on edge of pool

Swiss Court Rules Against Coed Swim Exemption for Muslim Girls

January 12, 2017

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Switzerland’s public schools can enforce mandatory mixed-sex swim classes, even if parents object on religious grounds.

The ruling was the final step in a years-long legal battle waged by Turkish-Swiss couple Aziz Osmanoglu and Sehabat Kocabas. In 2008, when Osmanoglu and Kocabas’s daughters were 9 and 7, the couple refused to send them to mandatory school swim lessons.

Their objection was rooted in their Muslim faith. Although both girls were pre-pubescent and thus not yet beholden to the Quran’s requirements for… Read more about Swiss Court Rules Against Coed Swim Exemption for Muslim Girls

White congressman gesticulating

New Congress 91 Percent Christian Despite Shifts in American Religious Makeup

January 6, 2017

The United States Congress is about as Christian but more Catholic than it was 50 years ago, according to a recent Pew Research Center study.

In their “Faith on the Hill” report released Tuesday, Pew delves into the religious makeup of the 115th Congress, which took office the same day. Of the 535 members of Congress, 485—or 91 percent—self-identify as Christian. This percentage has barely shifted since 1961, when 95 percent of Congress identified as Christian.

The biggest changes in the… Read more about New Congress 91 Percent Christian Despite Shifts in American Religious Makeup