Last week, New Jersey governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill banning child marriage without exception—a bill which would have been the first of its kind in the United States. Christie cited religious freedom as a key reason for his refusal to sign the bill.
Although the legal marriage age is 18 across the U.S., every state has options for underage youth to wed. In New Jersey, children 15 and under need judicial approval to marry, while children ages 16 and 17 need only a parent’s
Last week, India became the second nation this month to grant legal personhood status to a river, raising ethical and practical questions about how to regulate environmental protections.
As of Monday, March 20, the Ganges river and its main tributary, the Yamuna, will be accorded the rights and responsibilities of a living person. The rivers are the first non-human entities to be granted such a status, The Guardianreported.
On March 3, award-winning singer-songwriter Ben Lee released an album that diverged significantly from his earlier work. In his self-explanatory new album “Ben Lee Sings Songs About Islam for the Whole Family,” Lee branches into the world of child-friendly, educational music.
The album is just the beginning of a five-part project. Lee hopes to release an
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
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
Georgetown University, a Jesuit institution, has become the first university in the United States to appoint a Hindu priest to a chaplaincy position.
Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan, 31, trained as a priest in India before receiving his PhD in Sanskrit at the University of Edinburgh, The Washington Postreported. Having previously worked at universities in the United Kingdom, Sharan was appointed to the
In a rare referendum held Thursday, Britain voted to leave the European Union. Shortened to “Brexit” as a signifier for “British exit,” the decision rested on a thin margin, with 17.4 million “leave” votes narrowly outpacing 16.1 million “remain” votes.
Britain’s decision to leave the EU is the beginning of a two-year-long negotiation process wherein the nation will determine the terms of its split from the 28-member union, which aids trade, immigration, and regional development for its member countries.
While the long-term effects of the split remain speculation as the
7,000 miles from New York City, an unlikely group of passionate Donald Trump supporters threw the presidential candidate a 70th birthday party Tuesday.
Hindu Sena, a small Hindu nationalist group in India, marked the occasion with a 15-pound eggless chocolate cake, balloons, and an orchestra. After a rousing chorus of the “Happy Birthday” song, the group’s founder lovingly pushed a piece of cake into the mouth of a larger-than-life poster of the real estate mogul holding a rifle. Banners around Jantar Mantar, a popular gathering site in downtown New Delhi, read, “Long live Donald
In an abandoned lot in Brooklyn, New York, thousands gathered to listen to music, dance with friends, and celebrate the arrival of spring weather in New York City.
“It is a day of revelry full of bands, DJs, delicious food, and great people,” proclaimed the Festival of Colors: Holi NYC Facebook page. “It is a time when social barriers collapse, and all are united in joyful celebration.” Most distinctively, it is a day of color: each reveler is given a cup of brightly colored powder upon entry into the event. Festival-goers are encouraged to douse one another with powder so
For interfaith couples, deciding where and how to exchange wedding vows may be only the beginning of a lifelong negotiation between multiple faiths. With interfaith marriages on the rise in the United States, couples are increasingly facing daunting questions about how to pass on their religions to their children.
While some interfaith couples ultimately choose a primary faith tradition in which to raise their children, a growing number of organizations are helping support parents
Religion News ServiceThis week, a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, marked the nation’s 355th mass shooting of the calendar year. Defined as an instance of gun violence with at least 4 victims, there have been more mass shootings in the U.S. in 2015 than there have been days in the year,
In May 2015, the Pew Research Center’s report on America’s changing religious landscape showed one group soaring while most other religious identity groups shrunk. That group was the “Nones,” the growing bloc of Americans who are not affiliated with any organized religion.
Last Thursday, Salt Lake City, Utah, was filled with the sound of Native tribal drums. The music provided the soundtrack to a procession that kicked off the 5th Parliament of the World’s Religions. Referred to by some as “the Olympics of religion,” the Parliament is the oldest interfaith gathering in the world. This year’s Parliament outdid itself in terms of participants, volunteers, and diversity; among the nearly 10,000 participants,
Hindus worldwide are preparing for the nine-day festival of Navratri, which celebrates the goddess Durga. In India's westernmost state known as Gujarat, these celebrations, which include colorful displays of song and dance, will be closed to non-Hindus in residential neighborhoods. Citing "love jihad," or attempts made by Muslim men to supposedly lure Hindu women into marriage, the right-wing Hindu Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) issued a pronouncement barring non-Hindus from attending.
On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court made a historic 5-4 ruling that to deny same-sex couples a marriage license in any state is a violation of the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment states, in part:
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.