When Non-Christian Faiths Seep Under the Door

On Wednesday, the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida did an admirable thing, they invited a Sikh to give an opening invocation. Ishwar Singh, who gave the invocation, is the president of the Sikh Society of Central Florida, and a small business owner. Singh expressed his hope that his inclusion, coming in the wake of the tragic mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, will show "that we are one family." httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiXyA1LPKf8"I hope that my presence Wednesday on the national stage will play a small part in helping Sikhs – and people of all races, faiths and orientations – be seen as part of the great American family. We Sikhs draw strengt … [Read more...]

“Religious Freedom” Laws, Inspirational Messages, and Religious Minorities

The idea of the United States as a pluralistic, secular, society where no single religious expression is enshrined has always gotten push-back, and experienced robust dissent over the years. To many, America is a "Christian" nation (sometimes a "Judeo-Christian" nation), and all others live here under their sufferance. The Rev. Dennis Terry's recent comments at a Rick Santorum presidential rally typify the more vituperative side of this particular sentiment. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2emBxDOY7g“I don’t care what the naysayers say. This nation was founded as a Christian nation. The god of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. There is only one God. There is only one Go … [Read more...]

Gay Marriage and Other “Pagan Behaviors”

On Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich participated in a conference call to conservative Christian supporters. In a statistical tie with fellow contender Mitt Romney in the upcoming Florida primary, Gingrich is trying to win the support of as many evangelicals and religious conservatives as possible, a demographic that Romney has had a hard time winning over. During the call, which had around 1000 participants, and was moderated by Jim "Cracking Da Vinci's Code" Garlow, Gingrich called same-sex marriage a "fundamental violation of our civilization" that illustrates the "rise of paganism" in the United States. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CksdsnZ3wHE"It's pretty … [Read more...]

The Solace of Vodou for Haitian-Americans

After the 2010 Haitian earthquake there was quite a bit of attention on the religion of Vodou, though largely that attention was not positive. Immediately after the quake there were triumphalist smears from figures like Pat Robertson, and allegations that it was Vodou that held Haitians back from progress. While there were emerging "Vodou voices" rising up in defense of the religion, most notably Max Beauvoir, but more often than not the centrality of Vodou to many Haitians was often ignored. So it is a breath of fresh air to read Silvana Ordonez's piece on Vodou among Florida's Haitian-American community for the Miami Herald, talking about how the faith brought solace and re-connection aft … [Read more...]