Monthly archive June, 2011

Good Islam=Clergy, Bad Islam=Crystals

Amy Levin: A controversial religious tradition in Iran you wouldn’t expect to hear about is brewing in the news: occultism–or at least some relative version of it. The narrative arguably begins in medias res, when one of Ayatollah Ali Khameni’s aides accused allies of president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of engaging in “occult practices.” The aide...

The Urgency and the Lunacy

A Q&A with biographer Deborah Baker, author of The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism, released last month by Greywolf Press. by Ashley Baxstrom When biographer Deborah Baker came across a collection of letters at the New York Public Library, she opened a window into a particularly complex life. The letters told the...

The Church Needs Men

It's no secret there's a short supply of Catholic priests in the US, so when we heard that the shortage was now forcing churches to consolidate, we put our heads together to come up with some options for the Catholic Church.  While we admit that numbers 1 and 2 would almost completely solve the...

Bangladesh (Further) Surrenders Secularism

Kathryn Montalbano: This week, the Bangladeshi government has pushed to retain the state's Islamic status, a move that requires an amendment to the constitution that originally declared Bangladesh secular and independent from Pakistan in 1971.  Bangladesh's path to independence could almost be credited to Indian Muslims, who sought reprieve from social and political marginalization in...

Harrisburg’s Mayor Fasting and Praying for Budget Balance

What's a mayor of a major state capital to do?  Linda Thompson has tried nearly everything to balance the city's budget back into the black.  Her lastest effort? Three days of fasting and prayer to petition God for better fiscal straights.  From HuffPo:
"I am open about my faith and will be participating in the...

The Bishops, Proving Me Right

I shouldn't take any credit for predicting the actions of the most predictable institution on the globe, but I'll take it anyway.  I made the case at The Nation last week that the USCCB's recent statement on aid in dying would lead to broader crack-downs on end of life rights, privacy, and awareness....

#gaymarriageNY

Kathryn Montalbano: After a 3-hour debate today in the New York State Assembly, the future of gay marriage in New York--and ultimately, the nation--remains unsolved and undistinguished from concurrent deliberation, including a property tax cap and New York City rent control. Meanwhile, rallies in Albany--for and against gay marriage--have highlighted the preeminence of the issue...

Applying Liberation Theology to the
Argument for Gay Marriage

Amy Levin: Last Wednesday, June 15th, something historic happened…for the fourth time. The New York assembly approved the same-sex marriage bill, known as The Marriage Equality Act, which spearheaded a hopeful telos to allow same-sex couples to enjoy benefits and protections of marriage under state law. The New York Senate currently has 31...

Blessed Boards

Jo Piazza writes at the WSJ's Metropolis that Montauk's the place to go to get your stick blessed.  Reverend Michael Rieder will bless your surfboard, snowboard or boogie board. Perhaps he can also put a good word in with god for a killer set.
Members of the assembled crowd whispered Sunday that Jimmy Buffet, a...

Don’t Get Islam? Don’t Worry, There’s an App for That!

Ashley Baxstrom: Sure, you may have access to things like the Internet, where you can Google or search Wikipedia for Islam (actually, if you Google Islam the Wikipedia page is the first thing that shows up); you could study Islam in an academic setting; you could even become an expert...

Of Artists, Expatriates, Faith and India

An excerpt from Vikram Kapur's article "When Society Failed the Artist" today at The Hindu, on the recent death of exiled Indian artist M.F. Husain in London:
What is interesting in the case of Husain is that the furore over his nude depiction of Hindu deities did not erupt when the paintings were created in...

Hollywood Gets God (and Tolerance) in Aruba

Jo Piazza: Film festivals are typically places where film executives schmooze amidst the selling of both movies and stars. They are not places where one goes to hear much about god or religion. The G and R words are anathema to Hollywood anyway. The town’s only use for them is in commercially viable blockbusters about exorcisms...