About George G. Coe

Christian Megachurches in Singapore


Did you, like me, think Christian megachurches were an American phenomenon? Joel Ostein's Lakewood Church in Texas has over 40,000 members, Andy Stanley's North Point Community Church in Georgia has just over 20,000 and Charles Blake's West Angeles Cathedral in California also has over 20,000 members.Asia now rivals North America with Christian megachurches. According to author Philip Jenkins, in an article for The Christian Century, Christianity has soared in Singapore, doubling since 1980 … [Read more...]

Sorcery & Magic in the Sahel


Studying indigenous African religions?In a beautiful essay for the New York Times, author Anna Badken travels to Djenne in the Sahel, the narrow band of semi-arid land south of the Sahara, to talk to a marabout, a kind of sorcerer and Muslim jurist. She wants him to make sure her friend in Texas can get pregnant using in-vitro fertilization.Sounds kind of strange. But Badken takes us into a world where magic has meaning. She says that might because the Sahel is so merciless. It is … [Read more...]

What is an Encyclical?


Pope Francis may release an encyclical on climate change tomorrow. But what is an encyclical?Porfessor Drew Christiansen explains in this short clip for The Religion Freedom Project at Georgetown University.The Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs "is the nation's only university-based program devoted exclusively to the analysis of religious freedom..."And they just joined Twitter. You can follow them … [Read more...]

“Flogged for Blogging” in Saudi Arabia


The Saudi Arabian Supreme Court recently upheld the public flogging and ten year jail sentence of blogger Raif Badaw. In the video clip above, Cenk Uygur & John Iadarola of the Young Turks review the case and explain what the lashing reveals most about religion.Badawi ran the Liberal Saudi Network which, according to the BBC, "encouraged online debate on religious and political issues for four years." Saudi Arabian authorities arrested him in 2012, and eventaully sentenced him to 1000 … [Read more...]

Women in the Arab Spring: New Documentary


The new documentary is called "The Trials of Spring" and includes six parts highlighting women who made significant contributions in the countries of the Arab Spring.For example, in Tunisa, Ghazala Mhamadi led the fight for more jobs. In Egypt, Hend Nafea protested Egypt's military rule and was dragged through the streets and beaten, then sentenced to life in prison. She was lucky and escaped to Lebanon. And in Bahrain, Dr. Nadia Dhaif treated injured people in medical tents she set up and … [Read more...]

Superheroes Inspired by Islam


Here, Naif Al-Mutawa, a clincial pyschologist who began publishing the 99 comic book in 2006 and a 99 animated series in 2010, discusses the comic book and animated series in this fascinating TedTalk.The comic book heroes get their superpowers from the 99 attributes of Allah. TedTalk notes that Al-Mutawa "created the characters with a team of artists and writers to showcase traditional, tolerant and enlightened Muslim values in the guise of good old-fashioned superheroes, ordinary mortals … [Read more...]

Iranian Women Posting Pictures of Uncovered Hair

muslim head

Here, Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and feminist, explains why she thinks Iranian women should be able to decide for themselves wheather they cover their hair.Recentely, Alinejad began to post pictures of herself without a hijab. Others soon followed. Now she has over 800,000 followers.As Buzzfeed notes, since 1979, Iranian law has required all women to cover their hair. In 2014, according to Buzzfeed, over 3 milllion women "were warned, fined, or arrested by the morality police … [Read more...]