Articles on Religion and society

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Christmas tours to mansions often present a ‘magical’ experience to tourists, but they ignore the realities of the lives of slaves who worked there. Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau/Flickr

Slave life’s harsh realities are erased in Christmas tours of Southern plantations

Fictional accounts of white Southerners make it seem it was fun to be a slave on a plantation at holiday time. Many of today's tours repeat such stories.
A narrow river divides Myanmar from Bangladesh, where nearly 1 million now live as refugees. AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

Myanmar charged with genocide of Rohingya Muslims: 5 essential reads

Dozens of Muslim-majority countries are asking the UN's International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute a 2017 massacre in Myanmar that killed an estimated 10,000 Rohingya Muslims.
The countryside around Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, is home to the country’s largest Mennonite population. AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Mexican Mennonites combat fears of violence with a new Christmas tradition

Chronic violence was dampening the holiday spirit in Chihuahua, Mexico. So the Mennonite community planned a 'Parade of Lights' and holiday party where neighbors could celebrate safely even at night.
A still from the 1946 classic ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ National Telefilm Associates

What makes Christmas movies so popular

Holiday movies offer us a glimpse into how the world is could be, often in sharp contrast to our lives as they are. In that way, the annual act of viewing them is like a religious ritual.
All voting-age Indians may soon be asked to submit government-issued ID to prove citizenship. That may be a challenge for women, religious minorities and members of oppressed castes. AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh

India’s plan to identify ‘illegal immigrants’ could get some Muslims declared ‘foreign’

Many women, Muslims and members of oppressed castes in India lack government-issued ID. Yet these documents may soon be required to prove their citizenship.
A portrait from 1868 of abolitionist Harriet Tubman. AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz

Faith made Harriet Tubman fearless as she rescued slaves

Among Tubman's most daring feats was helping slaves escape. She believed she went into trances and had visions. These, to her, were God's way of guiding her, which made her quite fearless.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry speaks during an event about the environment at the White House on July 8, 2019, as President Trump looks on. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Rick Perry’s belief that Trump was chosen by God is shared by many in a fast-growing Christian movement

A Christian movement led by independent religious entrepreneurs, often referred to as 'apostles,' is changing the religious landscape of the US.
Dilbar Ali Ravu, 10, is kissed by his aunt, Dalal Ravu, as Yazidi children are reunited with their families in Iraq after five years of captivity with the Islamic State group, March 2, 2019. AP Photo/Philip Issa, File

5 years after Islamic State massacre, an Iraqi minority is transformed by trauma

Interviews with the Yazidi survivors of IS attacks that killed 3,100 people in 2014 reveal the emotional, cultural and spiritual scars of religious persecution.
A new housing project in the West Bank settlement of Naale, part of the Israeli government’s recent push to increase its presence in the disputed territory, Jan. 1, 2019. AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Israel’s West Bank settlements: 4 questions answered

The US delighted Israel and outraged Palestinians by announcing it sees nothing illegal with Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Here, a brief history of this hotly disputed land.
A mother hugs her son at the memorial of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2019, the first anniversary of the shooting at the synagogue. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

How American anti-Semitism reflects the centuries-long struggle over the meaning of religious liberty

The US Constitution is supposed to protect freedom of religion. But in the 20th century, white Christian nationalists used this ideal to discriminate against Jews and justify their exclusion.
Supporters of former Bolivian president Evo Morales rally with indigenous flags outside the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia, Nov. 18, 2019. AP Photo/Juan Karita

Old religious tensions resurge in Bolivia after ouster of longtime indigenous president

Indigenous people, symbols and religious practices filled the halls of power in Bolivia during Evo Morales' 14-year tenure. Now a new conservative Christian leader seems to be erasing that legacy.
A Hindu woman prays to the bricks that are expected to be used in constructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya, following a verdict from the Indian Supreme Court. AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh

Why Hindu nationalists are cheering moves to build a temple, challenging a secular tradition

India's Supreme Court has allowed a Hindu temple to be built on the disputed site of a 16th-century mosque. The verdict could have long-term ramifications for India's tradition of religious diversity.
Jean Marcellis Destine, dressed as Haitian independence hero Jean-Jacques Dessalines, heads to a protest against President Jovenel Moïse in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct. 4, 2019. AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Haiti protests summon spirit of the Haitian Revolution to condemn a president tainted by scandal

Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who freed Haiti from French colonial rule in 1804, is revered as a spirit in the Haitian religion. Now he's become an icon of the uprising against President Jovanel Moïse.
Darren Spencer at a memorial for his childhood friend Saheed Vassell, a 34-year-old father of a teenage son, fatally shot by police in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, April 5, 2018. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

To stop police shootings of people with mental health disabilities, I asked them what cops – and everyone – could do to help

Police are almost always the first responders in cases of mental health crisis. Too often these encounters turn bad, even deadly. But police were never meant to be in charge of US mental health care.

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