Friday News Roundup: Whether the Embattled Scientologists?

istock_000003001750xsmallThere’s always been a lot of gossip and high-profile news around Scientology.  Some say religion, some say cult.  Brooke Shields speaks out again its ban on psychiatric medications on behalf of women with post-partum depression.  Tom Cruise jumps up and down on Oprah’s couch: is he a man in love, or is he ecstatic because he’s moved up to a higher stage within the religion?

This week brings some especially rough news for Scientologists: the attempt to fine them, jail them and ban their religion outright.

Read the rest of this entry »

Syrian journalist freed from prison

I first came across the name Michel Kilo on Tanenbaum Peacemaker Hind Kabawat’s website.  I was doing research in preparation for a series of interviews with Hind for her Peacemaker in Action case study.

Kilo is a Syrian journalist and pro-democracy activist. In prison since May 2006, he was released ten days ago.  His three year sentence was for “weakening national sentiment and encouraging sectarian strife.” Read the rest of this entry »

Friday News Roundup: Religion STILL on the Run

istock_000003001750xsmallMy colleague Rachel wrote a great post the other day about Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old whose family wants to treat his cancer with natural remedies rather than chemotherapy.  When the court system ground its gears into action to compel Daniel’s parents to allow the chemo, she took him and fled.

Unsurprisingly, this has generated no small amount of press attention, along with a lot of analysis about the family’s motivations and whether it’s indicative of a greater issue for the medical community.  More on the Hauser case along with some of the week’s other most interesting tidbits below the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Religion on the Run

Huh?  So I’m all set to post on this interesting story of Daniel, a 13 year old boy with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma whose parents are refusing to continue his chemotherapy treatments on religious grounds.  They, and their son, belong to a Native American tradition that eschews Western medicine, in favor of natural, herbal remedies.  In fact the mother says that she only agreed to the initial round of chemotherapy because she felt pressured into it.  Now that the family has discontinued the treatment, x-rays show that the cancerous mass which was previously responding to the chemo, is now growing larger again.  All of this drama has played out in a courtroom in Minnesota, and has struck a chord with many Americans for a multitude of reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday News Roundup: The Torture Debate

istock_000003001750xsmallLast week, Pew came out with some…interesting statistics on Americans’ takes on the justifiability of torture.  Unsurprisingly, it was newsworthy data, and a lot of MSM publications gave it press.  This week, having taken some time to digest the results, the religious press and blogosphere are starting to weight in on the study.

Also this week:  Religious discrimination at work is not just a U.S. issue, and meet the iPhone app that got the Apple Axe.

Read the rest of this entry »

“When you hate, it is like taking poison…”

I saw  Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye last night at West End Collegiate Church. Part of their presentation echoed a conversation we’d had together in the office earlier that day about how to measure impact. Pastor James spoke about the hundreds of people that were killed in Jos, Nigeria in November 2008. In this crisis many died, he said, but not the 57, 786 of another time in the same region, before the Interfaith Mediation Centre began its work. Powerful, and yet, this is not a comparison often made for evaluations and donors – because how do you assess impact in the negative – in the numbers not killed? Read the rest of this entry »

Talking Religion in the Classroom

“I thought we weren’t supposed to talk about religion in school?”  A high school Principal in New York City recently asked me this question at an education fair in Harlem.  Before this conversation, I assumed most educators would recognize the difference between proselytizing and talking about religion in regards to culture and history. I was misinformed.

Read the rest of this entry »