Schism among the Dawoodi Bohras

By Shireen HamzaA schism has occurred in my religious community. Of the many reasons I could have imagined a Muslim, American college student might find herself socially boycotted by some of her Muslim peers, this was not one of them. In the past two weeks, my grief over the loss of my religious leader, Dr. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin, was compounded by the loss of most of my childhood friends, and all of my classmates from the seminary I used to attend (Al-Jamea-tus-Saifiya). Messages … [Read more...]

The Scholars: An Alternative Story about Wendy Doniger and “The Hindus”

2147483669_u_juluri_vamsee

By Vamsee JuluriImagine this:A book called The Women, written by a man who claims to be an expert on women.A book called The Poor, written by a millionaire who read a few books on poverty (written mostly by other rich people).A book called The Gays, written by a heterosexual who insists he loves them even if his subjects say he is quite homophobic.Now consider a book called The Hindus. It is written not by someone who grew up as a Hindu, in a Hindu household, or presumably, … [Read more...]

The ExGay Deception and God’s Grace

By John J. SmidMy heart is grieving today for all of the men and women who have spent the majority of their lives praying, seeking, and hoping for deliverance from their homosexual attractions. For over four decades there has been a faulty message conveyed that people can change. A deceptive message that most often caused many to believe that they could experience a change in sexual orientation from gay to straight.Begging at the altars of their churches, praying on their knees at their … [Read more...]

“And a Merry Christmas to You, Mr. Netanyahu!”

By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityAmerican Jews have long struggled with the Christmas Season. It may not be our holiday, many Jews have felt, but it is after all a great American holiday. How then are we to relate to it?For more traditional Jews, the national Christmas celebration generates anxiety about their place in the American religious landscape. In the second half of the 20th century, as Jews became more assimilated to American society, that anxiety was reduced in two ways: by … [Read more...]

The Real Mistake Behind “Mistaken Identity”

By Harleen KaurThis past Saturday, a man that I look up to and respect deeply was attacked while going for a walk with a friend in Harlem. I met Dr. Prabhjot Singh, a professor at Columbia University, and his family this summer while I was interning in New York City. Although I was only there for a couple months, the love and compassion with which he and his wife treated me was moving. The two of them were always focused on giving back to the community, as well as accepting newcomers like … [Read more...]

Johnny Cash Is In the Promised Land

By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityJohnny Cash died on September 12, 2003, and as we approach the tenth anniversary of his death, his reputation as an American musical master seems only to grow. His recordings continue to sell briskly, particularly the Bootleg items released by Columbia Records. When I mentioned him to the college freshmen in my classes, who were born in 1994-5, they all knew Cash’s music. Many had seen the 2005 film about Cash, Walk the Line.That film was very good at d … [Read more...]

Religion, State, and Soccer in Israel

Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem

by Shalom Goldman, Duke University Throughout the world sports fans can be roused to emotional extremes of enthusiasm, euphoria, and despair that seem almost religious in nature. The only other public manifestation of emotion that comes close to sports in its intensity is at rock and roll concerts—and these concerts are increasingly held in sports stadiums. Also, more and more American sports greats are willing and eager to speak publicly about their Evangelical Christian commitments. These p … [Read more...]

“Judaism” or “Jewishness”?

By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityEarlier this month the pop star Madonna, accompanied by her ex-husband film director Guy Ritchie, celebrated her son Rocco's Bar Mitzvah at the Kabbalah center in NYC.That neither parent, nor their 13-year-old son, was Jewish, didn't disturb the celebrity journalists and paparazzi who covered the story, and the fact was not made much of in US Weekly, the celebrity magazine that broke the story. Within Israel, where Madonna is a frequent visitor, the Bar M … [Read more...]

God Speed: “Race Cars for Peace” in the Holy City

Formula One Scuderia Ferrari team driver Giancarlo Fisichella drives a Ferrari F60 past The Tower of David and the ancient walls of Jerusalem's Old City, during the second day of the Jerusalem Formula Peace Road Show

By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityIn the US, spectator sports and religious conviction often go hand in hand. Americans are used to players, and teams, who pray and play, invoking Jesus before, during, and after games. This happens on the basketball court, in baseball stadiums, and on football fields. And it is most notable on stock car racetracks, where prayers, along with game results, are often heard over the public address  systems. The tone and style of this sports religiosity is that of … [Read more...]

Tedx Talk: The Numbers of Religious Freedom

By Brian J. GrimThis TEDx talk* provides an overview of Pew Research findings on the rising tide of restrictions on religion around the world coming from governments as well as groups in society. For more, see the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.The Pew Research study finds approximately three-quarters of the world's population live in countries with high or very high restrictions on religion coming either from governments or groups in society.Nearly two- … [Read more...]


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