In June, 2009, people were invited to bring their firearms without bullets during a service at the New Bethel Church Louisville, Ky. AP Photo/Ed Reinke, Pool

Why Americans have long been fascinated by gunfighting preachers

There is a long line of well-armed American preachers -- both real and fictional -- in US history and culture, confirming perhaps the view that true justice cannot be enforced by institutions alone.
Jeff Sessions is citing the Bible in defending the Trump administration’s immigration policy. AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

The Bible’s message on separating immigrant children from parents is a lot different from what Jeff Sessions thinks

Sessions ignored the many gospel teaching about love, and used a passagethat has been used historically to justify all manner of immoral behavior, including imperialism, slavery, Nazism and apartheid.
A mourner reads a sympathy card left for Anthony Bourdain at a makeshift memorial in New York. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Why religions of the world condemn suicide

Most religions have a fundamental belief that all human life belongs to God.
President Donald Trump sits down for an iftar dinner, in the State Dining Room of the White House. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Why Jefferson’s vision of American Islam matters today

As President Trump resumes an annual tradition of celebrating Ramadan, it provides a moment to remember that Islam has long been practiced in America.
Britain’s Queen Mother Elizabeth chats with Eric North, secretary of the American Bible Society, during a visit to the organization’s headquarters in New York City on Oct. 28, 1954. AP Photo/John Lindsay

How the American Bible Society became evangelical

The American Bible Society, with an annual revenue of nearly $370 million, is one of the largest religious nonprofits, and a highly influential one.
The Mormon church is still grappling with a racial past. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

Mormons confront a history of Church racism

Forty years ago, the Mormon church reversed restrictions on its members of African-American descent. Today, the church wants to celebrate the value of its diversity.
Immigrants and inspectors in the registry room for legal inspections at Ellis Island.

Jewish Americans changed their names, but not at Ellis Island

Thousands of Jewish immigrants and their children changed their names in America – but not at Ellis Island. The reasons are complicated and part of the Jewish struggle with their identity in America.
A Muslim family breaks fast during the month of Ramadan. AP Photo/Chris Carlson

What are halal foods?

Food plays an integral role during the 30-day period of Ramadan. This Speed Read explains how Muslims determine what foods are 'halal,' an Arabic word that means 'permissible.'
A file photo of a girl picking up a cupcake as she breaks fast at King Fahad Mosque in Los Angeles, California during Ramadan. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Why Ramadan is called Ramadan: 6 questions answered

Muslims observe a month-long fast for the holy month of Ramadan. A scholar explains the religious observance and its spiritual significance.
Frankenstein’s monster in the Hollywood Wax Museum. The fictional character first appeared in Mary Shelley’s novel in 1818. www.shutterstock.com

What Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein teaches us about the need for mothers

By showing us a world from which mothers are largely absent, Mary Shelley reminds us that the genius of motherhood lies less in biological reproduction than in the capacity to love.
Mosaics by artist Chuck Close on the walls of the new 86th Street subway station on the Second Avenue line in New York. AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

#MeToo in the art world: Genius should not excuse sexual harassment

In his short play from 1830, 'Mozart and Salieri,' Russian poet Alexander Pushkin proposed that genius and evil are incompatible. Here's why this argument is worth revisiting in light of #MeToo.
Father Patrick Conroy. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Why does Congress have a chaplain?

Following the controversy over the resignation of House chaplain Patrick Conroy, in this speed read, scholars explain when the tradition of legislative prayer was started and how it has sustained.

More Analysis and Comment

Just a thought

The caves of Northern Thailand are places where these religious traditions blend: There are shrines to the Buddha, Hindu hermits and the spirit lords of the mountain, all in the same space. These, as some might expect, are not three separate traditions. They blend together, especially so in cave legends Andrew Alan Johnson

Research and Expert Database

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  5. How the Catholic Church came to oppose birth control

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