Religion

Books
11:04 am
Fri April 20, 2012

The St. Cuthbert Gospel: Looking Pretty Good At 1,300

The Gospel, buried with St. Cuthbert in 698, was recovered from his grave in 1104. Its beautiful red leather binding is original.
Courtesy of the British Library

How much would you pay for a very rare book?

The British Library in London has just paid about $14 million to purchase Europe's oldest intact book, known as the St. Cuthbert Gospel. It's a copy of the Gospel of St. John, thought to have been produced in northeastern England sometime during the seventh century.

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Religion
3:22 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Christians Debate: Was Jesus For Small Government?

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., with his 2012 budget plan. Ryan cites his Catholic faith in justifying his proposed cuts to social safety-net programs.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 9:45 am

What would Jesus do with the U.S. economy?

That's a matter of fierce debate among Christians — with conservatives promoting a small-government Jesus and liberals seeing Jesus as an advocate for the poor.

After the House passed its budget last month, liberal religious leaders said the Republican plan, which lowered taxes and cut services to the poor, was an affront to the Gospel — and particularly Jesus' command to care for the poor.

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Religion
2:55 am
Wed April 11, 2012

To Some Hindus, Modern Yoga Has Lost Its Way

Bernice Acosta and other yoga enthusiasts practice in New York's Times Square at an event marking the 2011 summer solstice. Some Hindus say such events have little to do with yoga's spiritual roots.
Mario Tama Getty Images

About 20 million people in the United States practice some form of yoga, from the formal Iyengar and Ashtanga schools to the more irreverent "Yoga Butt."

But some Hindus say yoga is about far more than exercise and breathing techniques. They want recognition that it comes from a deeper philosophy — one, in their view, with Hindu roots.

Many forms of yoga go back centuries. Even in the U.S., the transcendentalists were doing yoga in the 1800s.

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Religion
4:38 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

A Church Divided: Ruling Ends Va.'s Episcopal Battle

The St. Stephen's Church in Heathsville, Va., has been at the center of an ugly custody battle between the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and the newly affiliated St. Stephen's Anglican Church.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 8:19 pm

On a bright Sunday morning in the tiny town of Heathsville, Va., Jeffrey Cerar surveys the church he's preached in for the past 15 years — its 130-year-old wooden pews, its stained glass windows, its paschal candles, its cross.

"Virtually everything you see here is going to stay; the high altar, the credence table, the hymnals and books of common prayer will all stay," he says. "The Bibles will go with us."

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Religion
3:29 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Vatican, Israel Spar Over Disputed Last Supper Site

This room, known as the Cenacle on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, is venerated as the site of Jesus' Last Supper. Jews and Muslims also consider the building to be a holy site, and it has been a source of contention for years. Israel and the Vatican may be nearing an agreement.
Richard T. Nowitz Corbis

If there's one building in Jerusalem that represents the city's tangle of religions, this is it. The ground floor is a Jewish holy site said to house the tomb of the biblical King David. The second floor is the Cenacle, a Christian holy site, the room believed to be the site of Jesus' Last Supper. On the roof, there's an old minaret from when this place was marked a Muslim holy site.

One building, three religions, decades of property disputes. And the fight isn't over.

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Latin America
3:05 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Some Cuban-Americans Wary As Cuba Welcomes Pope

A man rides his bicycle past a billboard welcoming Pope Benedict XVI, just days before his arrival, in Havana, Cuba. Pope Benedict's trip to Latin America includes Mexico and Cuba.
Javier Galeano AP

In 1998, when Pope John Paul II made his historic visit to Cuba, few Cuban-Americans made the pilgrimage across the Florida straits.

But when Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Cuba on Monday, hundreds of Cuban-Americans will be on hand in Santiago de Cuba when he celebrates Mass.

Carlos Saladrigas is well-known in Miami's Cuban-American community. He's a prominent businessman and co-chairman of the Cuba Study Group, an organization working to make Cuba a free and open society. He'll be in Antonio Maceo Revolution Square for Mass.

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Music Interviews
12:01 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Susan Justice: Sometimes You Just Have To 'Eat Dirt'

To get away from a strict religious family, Susan Justice fled to New York in 2001 to busk on the streets.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 10:21 am

In a busy New York subway station, a man serenades passersby with a beat-up guitar. A few of them look up from their BlackBerrys and toss a little change in his guitar case. It's a scene that plays out in subways and streets around the world.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:50 am
Tue March 20, 2012

Polygamy's Surprising Feminist Roots

Globally, the prevailing form of polygamy is of one man with multiple wives – generally older men marrying younger wives. Social scientists have quantified that crime rates are higher in those cultures, with younger men having few prospects for family life. And it is no great shakes for young, often pre-pubescent girls forced into marriage by culture, economics, and tradition.

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U.S.
5:36 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Wyoming Tribe Wins Right To Hunt Two Bald Eagles

A bald eagle in flight. The Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming has won an unprecedented permit to hunt two bald eagles for use in religious ceremonies.
iStockphoto.com

Most Americans have little difficulty practicing their religion. But for Native Americans, performing traditional religious ceremonies isn't always so simple. Many rites often involve heavy regulation by federal authorities — especially when it comes to using sacred items like eagle feathers.

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Opinion
12:35 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

The Wisdom Of Faith: What Religion Can Teach Us

These stained glass church windows decorate the walls of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
Patrick Stollarz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 11:03 pm

Alain de Botton is the author of Religion for Atheists.

A survey published in the U.K. in January predicted that within 20 years, the majority of the British population will define themselves as having no religion. In the British isles, religion has become something of a sideshow, even a joke. Remember that this is the land that gave us The Life of Brian. Even the BBC has caught on with a satirical series called Rev., about a hapless comedic clergyman who has no faith but has a strong inclination to be good.

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Author Interviews
5:40 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

A Theologian Has A Falling Out With God In 'Still'

HarperOne

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 11:46 am

Theologian Lauren Winner was 21 when she became a Christian.

Although she was raised in a Jewish household and had converted to Orthodox Judaism, she says she felt drawn to Christianity. Her surprising conversion is the subject of her first memoir, the bestseller Girl Meets God.

In Winner's new book, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, she writes about a spiritual crisis.

Winner, an ordained Episcopal priest who teaches Christian spirituality at Duke University, says it happened around the time her mother died and her marriage collapsed.

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Religion
10:41 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

How To Properly Dispose Of Sacred Texts

On Feb. 21 outside Bagram Airfield, Afghan demonstrators show copies of Qurans allegedly set on fire by U.S. soldiers at a NATO airbase outside Kabul.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 10:24 pm

The Quran is considered to be the speech of God to humankind — word for word — explains Imam Johari Abdul-Malik.

"The traditional way of disposing of used or damaged copies of the text of the Quran is by burning it," he says.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:12 am
Wed February 22, 2012

The Surprising History of the War on Contraception

While Rick Santorum and the Catholic Church are continuing to fuel backlash over the Obama administration’s compromise to allow insurance companies to cover birth control for employees of faith-based organizations, new polling d

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U.S.
3:37 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

R.I. Student Draws Ire Over School Prayer Challenge

A banner hanging in the auditorium at Cranston High School West. After a federal judge ordered it removed, the school covered the banner with plywood and a school flag.
Steven Senne AP

There are not many 16-year-olds who take a police escort to school, but until recently, Jessica Ahlquist was one of them.

An atheist, Ahlquist sued the city of Cranston, R.I., over a banner hanging in the auditorium of her high school, Cranston High School West. Printed on the banner, a longtime feature at the school, is a prayer to "Our Heavenly Father."

In January, a federal judge ordered the banner removed. The school board is expected to decide Thursday whether to appeal.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:30 am
Tue February 7, 2012

A Latter Day Crisis

Tyler Tomsic-Taylor

The Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will no doubt face intense scrutiny if Mitt Romney becomes the GOP's candidate for President. A few months back, we reported on the LDS campaign to rebrand- the church, with a series of ads depicting stereotype-busting people introducing themselves as Mormons…

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