Religion Roundup: Terrorism, Immigration, Climate Change, A Pun About My Dog

December 26, 2009

dog-sleddingSorry for the lack of updates! I’ve been in limbo — in Minnesota visiting family and friends for secular Christmas with limited internet access. I’m still here but will be back with a vengeance in 2010. Until then, here is your (delayed) religion roundup and, to compensate for my slacking, a picture of me sledding with the family dog (dog-sledding… get it?!). And to those who celebrate something this time of year: Happy ____!

The Terrorist Next Door: The New York Times has an informative piece on homegrown terrorism and how this year’s incident at Fort Hood challenges the widespread assumption that America is relatively safe from homegrown terrorism (as opposed to European nations) due to more economic and social opportunities for American Muslims. The article credits the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as partially responsible for this shift. The role of religion in this conversation is huge, and it is important that we approach it with sensitivity and empathy. This article of course eerily preceded yesterday’s near-hijacking of a plane bound for Detroit, though the suspect, claiming ties to al Qaeda, was Nigerian.

Welcoming the Stranger: An inspiring story for the holidays about one of the many ways religious communities are doing good work across the country — the New York Times has a profile on a New Jersey Church that is drawing upon its religious convictions in an encouraging way. The young pastor of this congregation is working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to spare immigrants detention; the article suggests that this might signal a new trend in immigration rules under the Obama administration. This, to me, is a story of a Christian community truly “following in Christ’s footsteps.”

Restricting Religion: A new study from Pew explores the many ways religious freedoms are restricted globally. A disturbing highlight: 70% of all countries restrict religion in some way. Oof.

Faith and Climate Change: I know we secular folks often feel religion can be a stumbling block in environmental efforts, but in truth religious communities are taking a real lead in the movement. Washington Post’s always-excellent On Faith recently featured a piece on how faith communities gathered in Copenhagen for the climate change talks. Certainly worth checking out.

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