June 10, 2013

By Brian J. Grim This 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-thirds of the world’s people live in countries… Read more

May 24, 2013

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University   Many Catholics in the US and overseas are hoping that the new Pope, Francis I, will help heal the wounds inflicted on the Church by the sexual abuse scandals of the past few decades. And many Catholic victims of clerical sexual abuse, while reminding us that their wounds are deep and permanent, see a healing of the Church as a necessary component of their individual recoveries. Moral outrage about clerical abuse is directed not… Read more

April 30, 2013

Editor’s Note: The following is an opinion piece from Julien Hawthorne, currently a student at Columbia University, regarding controversial Columbia professor Kathy Boudin. Boudin’s participation in the Weather Underground and especially the 1981 Brinks Robbery has led many to criticize her appointment to a teaching position at an elite university.  * Media Attacks on Kathy Boudin Are Attempts at Vigilante Justice By Julien Hawthorne For the most part, Kathy Boudin, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Columbia School of Social Work,… Read more

March 27, 2013

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University While the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics eagerly awaited the decision of the Cardinals who were sequestered in the Sistine Chapel, members of the world’s other religions, among them many of the world’s 14 million Jews, were also closely following developments in Rome. But as is often the case, there was no Jewish consensus on this issue, or on any other. As the well-known maxim has it, “one Jew, three opinions.” Behind the differences between Catholic… Read more

February 4, 2013

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University At the confirmation hearings for Chuck Hagel’s nomination to head the Department of Defense, the former senator from Nebraska has been pilloried by some of his former Republican colleagues, most forcefully by current Nebraska Senator Jim Inhofe. At Thursday’s hearings, Inhofe said that on security issues, “Hagel’s record is deeply troubling and out of the mainstream.” In a Washington Post op-ed piece published a week before the Hagel hearings commenced, Inhofe implied that Hagel is… Read more

January 17, 2013

  Since the late 1990s, the US federal government has stepped up its efforts to stop human trafficking – the trade in human beings, usually for forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. The primary anti-trafficking legislation is the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), passed through Congress in 2000. During his presidency, President George W. Bush described trafficking as “evil” and focused much of his rhetoric against trafficking on what he called the exploitation of women and children. In her new… Read more

January 14, 2013

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University Ever since the name of Chuck Hagel was floated by the Obama White House as a possible appointment to the post of Secretary of Defense, conservative Republicans have been telling us that the former Nebraska senator was the worst possible choice for the job. Particularly pointed were the remarks of Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who said that, “Chuck Hagel, if confirmed to be the secretary of defense, would be the most antagonistic secretary… Read more

December 31, 2012

By Laurie L. Patton, Duke University In December, the group of Jewish women activists arguing for women’s rights to pray near Jerusalem’s Western wall in full religious regalia, using tallit (prayer shawl) and tefillin (phylactery), faced yet another setback. It is now against the law for women even to bring tallit and tefillin near the Wall. Women are regularly stopped by the police and asked not to enter if they possess those items. Yet Women of the Wall continue to… Read more

December 31, 2012

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University Within Israeli Jewish society, a frequently-heard witticism is that “the synagogue I don’t go to must be Orthodox.” This is a way of signaling that the speaker does not have much use for clergymen and rituals, but if he or she did need them, they would seek out an Orthodox cleric and house of worship. This well-known Israeli adage conveys a numbers of uncomfortable truths. First, the great majority of Israeli Jews don’t attend a… Read more

December 20, 2012

Journalists vote for contraception fight as top 2012 U.S. religion story, pick Cardinal Dolan as top newsmaker  COLUMBIA, MO—As the nation reeled from the Dec. 14 killing of 20 first graders and six adults in Newtown, Conn., religious leaders sought to console a stunned public and to discern religion’s role in future debates about mental health and gun control. The No. 1 U.S. religion story in December 2012 was, without a doubt, the school attack and the mournful search for meaning… Read more

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