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Belief Beat

Belief Beat

August 2011 Archives

Muslims Celebrate End of Ramadan, Brace for 9/11 Anniversary

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Ramadan, the holy Islamic month of daytime fasting and spiritual reflection, has ended with the usual Eid-al-Fitr festival fanfare — plus some controversy at Rye’s Playland amusement park (my old stomping grounds), confusion in Indonesia, and continued civil disobedience in Egypt. […]

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Hurricane Irene, Earthquake and Other Disasters: Blessing or Warning from God?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Hurricane Irene may not have wreaked quite as much destruction as initially feared — my family and friends are all OK, if a bit waterlogged and powerless, but that’s typical after any big storm in the New York suburbs — […]

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Fun Friday: What to Ask Republican Presidential Candidates, And What Not to Wear to Church

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I dearly love the premise of GetReligion, a blog that points out weaknesses in the mainstream media’s coverage of faith-related issues, but I do get annoyed at its conservative Christian perspective at times. For example, all the pearl-clutching over Bill […]

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Religious Aftershocks from Virginia’s Earthquake, Libya’s Revolution

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I’ve been busy this week covering some interesting research studies (blog posts to follow) on  American faith, politics and behavior. In the meantime, the world is still turning — and shaking. Surprisingly, no word yet from Harold Camping or other doomsday Christians […]

Fun Friday: Married Priest Says Celibates Do It Better

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Growing up Orthodox Christian, I always scratched my head at the Catholic Church’s unique insistence on celibate parish priests. A priest’s wife can be such an asset to the community, and it certainly makes sermons and pastoral counseling feel more […]

Pope Benedict & Clergy Bless Pilgrims, Forgive Abortions, Ignore Condoms at Catholic World Youth Day

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Catholic World Youth Day is underway, with Pope Benedict and ministering to hundreds of thousands of teens and young adults who have converged on Madrid, Spain for August 15-21 celebration. (This event takes place every three years, visiting a different […]

Where Do White Evangelicals Stand on Strict State Immigration Laws?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Religious leaders and faith-based groups have taken an active role in the debate over immigration reform vs. enforcement – some louder than others, some conspicuously quiet. The new flare-up over Alabama’s extreme new law is no exception. Catholic clergy tend to […]

Michele Bachmann & Rick Perry: Fair Questions for the ‘Christian’ Candidates?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

With Rep. Michele Bachmann winning the Iowa straw poll, and Gov. Rick Perry entering the race hot off his Texan prayer rally, we’ve got ourselves a Christian horserace for the Republican presidential nominee. (My theory is they’ll split the white […]

Should Federal Funds Go to World Vision & Other Groups That Only Hire Christians?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly aired an interesting piece this weekend about whether faith-based groups that accept government funding may continue only hiring members of their own faith. (Remember, the ongoing controversy here is that these groups are supported by taxpayer […]

Fun Friday: Stephen Colbert on God’s Low Approval Rating; No Gay Marriage for Bert & Ernie

posted by Nicole Neroulias

If President Obama and other politicians are feeling down about their unpopularity these days, perhaps they can take some consolation in God’s surprisingly low approval rating. (He’s still more popular than the politicians, of course, but not by as much […]

London Riots Prompt Prayers, Reflection

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The riots in London, Birmingham and other British cities have caught us off-guard — it’s a far cry from the pomp and circumstance associated with the recent royal wedding, not to mention next year’s Olympic Games and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond […]

Rick Perry Prays for America, While Army Atheists Go Marching Along

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Texas Gov. Rick Perry held his much-publicized — some say too publicized, but I strongly disagree — daylong prayer rally in Houston on Saturday. Check out coverage of “The Response” from CNN, AP and Mark Silk’s Spiritual Politics blog. Let’s see […]

Fun Friday: TDS Tackles No-Copay Birth Control, Atheist Protest of Ground Zero Cross

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I’m still washing out my eyeballs after last night’s “Daily Show With Jon Stewart” uncensored segment on Jason Jones’ vasectomy — good thing I didn’t go into medicine! Fortunately, the “Culture War Update: The Dividening of America” segment aired earlier in […]

Big Love, Big Crime: Warren Jeffs Convicted for Child Brides, Faces Up to Life in Prison

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Don’t mess with Texas, indeed: CNN reports that polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs has been found guilty of sexually assaulting his 12- and 15-year-old “wives.” (Remember how the Utah courts couldn’t get this done?) The Texas jury is deliberating whether to […]

Ramadan F-Words: Friends, Family, Fasting, Forgiveness & Female Problems

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Ramadan 2011 is underway, with Muslims around the world fasting and praying accordingly. As promised, I met up with Aman Ali (in hat) and Bassam Tariq, the “30 Mosques in 30 States” guys, when they stopped in Seattle during Day […]

Debt-Ceiling Deal: Devil in the Details, Angels on the Floor?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of sacrifice, is underway — just in time for Congress to hammer out an uneasy deal to slash $917 billion in spending over the next 10 years. (See what I did there?) While not a […]

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posted 4:57:28pm Feb. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Fun Friday: Atheist Temple Planned for UK's Nonbelievers
Author Alain de Botton has announced plans to build an Atheist temple in the United Kingdom, presumably so nonbelievers have a place to gather and share their philosophies. Um... isn't that what Starbucks is for? Also, I can't wait to see how the architect will handle this kind of project. May

posted 2:53:42pm Jan. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Alaska Airlines: High Payers No Longer Offered Sky Prayers
Alaska Airlines, now the country's seventh-largest airline, has announced it will stop offering prayer cards with its in-flight meals. (It's just raining religion news in the great unchurched Pacific Northwest lately.) I've flown Alaska several times since moving to Seattle, but I confess that I'

posted 11:07:56am Jan. 26, 2012 | read full post »

Washington's Gay Marriage Debate: Clergy vs. Clergy
I reported for Reuters at the Washington state Capitol yesterday, covering the public hearings on a gay marriage bill -- and in between, the breaking news that the state Senate now has enough votes to pass the bill. (The House already had enough votes.) It now appears that Washington's lawmakers wi

posted 11:24:39am Jan. 24, 2012 | read full post »

What Israel's Domestic Policy & Santorum Supporters Have in Common
Hope everyone had an introspective Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, whether observed as a faith-related holiday, a nice break from the work week or something else entirely. Check out this story from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly about how mandatory sentencing for drug crimes and non-violent offens

posted 1:32:44pm Jan. 18, 2012 | read full post »

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