‘Atheizing’ the Dead, Religious Doughnuts, & Tax-Free Witching: The Week in Religion, Poetically

Inspired by Mormon baptism practices, Atheize the Dead offers to convert your deceased loved one to atheism.

The Hartford, Connecticut city council found itself in hot water when it proposed a Muslim invocation for one of its pre-meeting prayers. After its website was inundated with protests against the planned invocations, the council decided to cancel prayers of any sort at the meetings and will open with an “interfaith moment of silence.”

Donald Trump offered to buy out one of the major investors in the Park51 project. The investors said thanks but no thanks.

A North Carolina teenager whose family is part of the Church of Body Modification has run into trouble with her school’s dress code. The 14-year-old is looking at a ten day suspension if she returns to school wearing her prohibited nose ring. In Roswell, New Mexico, a group of students have been suspended for giving their teachers boxes of doughnuts with religious messages attached to them.

Romania has decided not to tax its witches and fortunetellers. One reason being that the witches and fortunetellers aren’t good at keeping receipts.

Continue reading at Religion Dispatches >>>

Shariah-Approved Sex Aids, Abstinence-Only Goes to China, and Abercrombie Hijab…The Week in Religion, Poetically

Ramadan is not only a time for fasting, it’s also a time for the best television around the Muslim world. A television serial in Egypt has stirred controversy: The Group explores the world of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition movement. Similarly, a Syrian serial, What Your Right Hand Possess (it sounds better in Arabic) has drawn furiouscriticism for allegedly distorting Islam. A Malaysian TV station has axed a commercial wishing Muslims a happy Eid al-Fitr because viewers complained the commercial was too Christmas-y.

In France, halal food is going upscale.

Christian morality meets communist population control: evangelical group Focus on the Family has partnered with Chinese officials to bring its abstinence program to Chinese teens. Muslim couples can find “shariah-approved” products for “sexual health” at El Asira—an online shop attracting 30,000 visits a week.

Teetotaling Mormons in Idaho grow barley for beer brewers.

A Muslim mason who worked to rebuild the Saint Jean Cathedral in Lyon, France, has been immortalized as a winged gargoyle on the facade of the church. The inscription beneath his stone image reads “God is great.” In Germany, a team of researchers have built digital models of synagogues destroyed by Nazis on Kristallnacht in 1938.

Continue Reading at Religion Dispatches>>>

The Week in Religion, Poetically

A limit of two stories about the not-a-mosque not at Ground Zero: First,I can’t get “We’ve Got To Stop the Mosque at Ground Zero” out of my head. It’s mix of offensive lyrics and campy Toby Keith rip-off vocals makes it funny and pathetic at the same time. Plus, it’s catchier than the Bed Intruder song. Second, Miss USA, a Muslim herself, has taken a standagainst the Park51 project. So, there you have it.

The Salem Witch Trials: video game edition. It’s like a Hawthorne short story for your PC or Mac.

A Brooklyn rabbi has been approved to serve as a chaplain in the Army reserves but can’t because the Army wants him to shave his beard. As an older rabbi serving the Army put it, “Look at some of our past generals’ beards, like Ulysses Grant. In the Civil War, a lot of those guys in the military leadership looked like Hasidic individuals.” At Fort Eustis in Virginia, about 80 soldiers were punished for choosing not to attend an evangelical Christian concert organized by the camp’s commanders. A Muslim soldier is wants to leave the military as a conscientious objector.

Continue reading at Religion Dispatches >>>

This Week in Religion, Poetically

My roundup of this week’s religion in the news can be found over at Religion Dispatches.  My favorite story this week has to be Ricky Williams leading meditation classes.  I’d pay for that.


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