Articles on Religion and society

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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.
A protest against Islamophobia in TImes Square in March 2019. Dev Chatterjee/Shutterstock.com

Islamophobia in the US did not start with Trump, but his tweets perpetuate a long history of equating Muslims with terrorism

In retweeting a doctored image of Nancy Pelosi standing in a hijab in front of an Iranian flag, Trump is playing into fears that Iran and Islam are evil and anti-American.
Punta Ventana, a popular tourist attraction near Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, before and after the Jan. 6 earthquake. AFP/Getty/Wikipedia

Puerto Rico earthquakes imperil island’s indigenous heritage

Puerto Rico was once home to about 110,000 Taínos, an indigenous people decimated by the Spanish conquest. Their ancient homeland was located in the area hit hard by recent earthquakes.
In 2010, the ethics content of a federal licensing exam for financial advisers was reduced. www.shutterstock.com

Study finds ethics can be taught – in finance, at least

Investment advisers who passed a licensing exam with more ethics questions were one-fourth less likely to engage in misconduct than those with less ethics training, according to a new study.
A wall-size image at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum that shows Jewish prisoners marching. The Nazis killed prisoners during these marches. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Is it ethical to show Holocaust images?

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, a scholar of mass atrocities explains the power of Holocaust images and why these images, despite critiques, 'humanize suffering' rather than 'dehumanize victims.'
The Jewish ritual of bar mitzvah. which marks a 13-year-old young man’s assumption of religious and legal obligations under Jewish law. Israel_photo_gallery

What is a bar mitzvah?

The Jewish coming-of-age ritual of bar mitzvah evolved to its current form during the time of Enlightenment, when Jewish families feared losing their traditions.
A Bible class at a public high school in Georgia, AP Photo/David Goldman

An old debate over religion in school is opening up again

At least six states have permitted the study of the Bible in classrooms, which could reignite a 19th-century debate that split US Protestants into liberal and conservative camps.
Pope Francis recently removed a secrecy rule to increase transparency for sexual abuse cases. AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Pope ends a secrecy rule for Catholic sexual abuse cases, but for victims many barriers to justice remain

Pope Francis recently removed a rule known as Pontifical Secrecy, which allowed clergy and church officials to withhold information regarding sexual abuse. Will it make the church truly transparent?

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