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Articles on Religion and society

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The Satanic Temple unveils a statue of Baphomet, a winged-goat creature, at a rally for the First Amendment in Little Rock, Arkansas, in August 2018. AP Photo/Hannah Grabenstein

What The Satanic Temple is and why it’s opening a debate about religion

A group known as The Satanic Temple was started with the political goal of advocating for the value of church-state separation. This group is now challenging the traditional definition of religion.
For many evangelicals, faith is a central part of their lives, but there is wide variation in how it is practiced. Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Evangelicals downplay religious expression when working with secular groups

Many Americans imagine evangelicals as a monolithic group that supports conservative policies and always talks about their faith. Three experts found in a study that the picture is far more complex.
US President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a cricket stadium, in Ahmedabad, India. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

How India came to love cricket, favored sport of its colonial British rulers

During a recent visit to India, Trump spoke at the world's largest cricket stadium. Cricket came to India in the 18th century through British sailors and is a revered cultural institution in India.
Women in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh neighborhood are protesting a new Indian citizenship law that they say will discriminate against Muslims, women – and, particularly, Muslim women. Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Indian women protest new citizenship laws, joining a global ‘fourth wave’ feminist movement

A round-the-clock strike of Muslim women in a working-class neighborhood of Delhi is India's most enduring pocket of resistance to religious discrimination, inequality and gender violence.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar sign an agreement ending the US’s 18-year war in Afghanistan, Doha, Feb. 29, 2020. GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

After US and Taliban sign accord, Afghanistan must prepare for peace

A peace deal with the Taliban has been signed. But rebuilding Afghanistan after three decades of conflict will take much more than an accord, says a scholar of peacebuilding.
Pakistani Islamists march to protest the Supreme Court lenient treatment of Asia Bibi, a Christian Pakistani woman accused of blasphemy, in Karachi, Feb. 1, 2019. ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images

Execution for a Facebook post? Why blasphemy is a capital offense in some Muslim countries

Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia all punish blasphemy harshly – even with death. Such laws have political as well as religious motives, says a scholar on Islamism: They're a tool for crushing dissent.
The ‘Christ of the Pacific’ statue in Lima has caused controversy in Peru because of its financing by a graft-tainted Brazilian construction company. Both religion and corruption loomed large in Peru’s 2020 legislative elections. CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP via Getty Images

Fringe religious party gains power in crisis-stricken Peru

After a bribery scandal that took down four presidents and led Congress to dissolve, some Peruvians are putting their faith in an austere religion called the Israelites of the New Universal Pact.
In this 2013 photo, Bangladeshi mourners carry the coffin containing the body of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider for funeral. AP Photo/Pavel Rahman, File

Conservative Islamic views are gaining ground in secular Bangladesh and curbing freedom of expression

In recent years Bangladesh has seen an increase in attacks on religious minorities. A scholar explains how certain extreme views on how Islam is to be followed are taking center stage in the country.
A studio group portrait of the Fisk University Jubilee singers. James Wallace Black/American Missionary Association

The power of a song in a strange land

Spirituals were created out of the experience of enslaved people in the US. They weren't songs of anger – but of an abiding belief in the victory of good over evil.
Couples get romantic on Qixi, a lovers’ festival similar to Valentine’s Day. Visual China Group via Getty Images

How China does Valentine’s Day

China's Qixi Festival is a celebration of love based on the legend of a mortal who married a goddess, causing his furious mother-in-law to create a Milky Way to divide these two twinkling stars.
In an effort to increase tourism, Saudi Arabia recently eased its strict dress code for foreign women, allowing them to go without the body-shrouding abaya robe still mandatory for Saudi women. FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images

Women in Arab countries find themselves torn between opportunity and tradition

In countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, it's now official policy that women should go to college and work outside the home. But cultural pressure to marry and have kids remains strong.
A funeral held in July 1945 for two victims of the Ku Klux Klan, George Dorsey and his sister, Dorothy Dorsey Malcolm, of Walton County, Georgia, held at the Mt. Perry Baptist Church Sunday. Bettman via Getty

Lynching preachers: How black pastors resisted Jim Crow and white pastors incited racial violence

Religion was no barrier for Southern lynch mobs intent on terror. White pastors joined the KKK, incited racial violence and took part in lynchings. Sometimes, the victim was a preacher.
The pope can order religious investigations that can allow the Vatican to swiftly take action. Giuseppe Lami/Pool Photo via AP

Catholic investigations are still shrouded in secrecy

Early Christians were urged to 'supervise' one another. In the present times, that theology is often used by the Vatican for a religious investigation a known as the apostolic visitation.
Knocking on wood may be a holdover from the pagan days of Europe, when tree spirits were believed to bring luck. saiful bahri 46/Shutterstock.com

Why we knock on wood for luck

The curious history of a ritual meant to ward off bad luck.
The Myanmar military’s years-long campaign against the Rohingya Muslims left hundreds of villages a smoldering pile of debris. Warpait village, Rakhine State, Oct.14, 2016. Ye Aung Thu/AFP via Getty Images

Preventing genocide in Myanmar: Court order tries to protect Rohingya Muslims where politics has failed

The International Court of Justice ordered Myanmar to protect its Rohingya minority and preserve any evidence relevant to the genocide charges against it. But compliance is not guaranteed.

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