Click here or on the image above to view an audio slideshow from the Namo Monastery.
America’s many religious groups agree on one thing: the sinking economy must be the government’s top priority, according to a new analysis of a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. You can view it here.
It found that stengthening the nation’s economy was regarded as the most pressing issue for the government by 83 percent of white evangelical Protestants, 88 percent of white mainline Protestants and 85 percent of Americans unaffilated with any religion.
It doesn’t say what white evangelical Protestants, a key base for the now opposition Republican Party, would like to see the government do to address America’s economic woes.
from AxisMundi Jerusalem:
The Likud party leader was chosen to form a government after a right-wing majority was elected in a Feb. 10 parliamentary election. Netanyahu has been shuttling between factions, trying to cobble together as broad a coalition as possible that will have a better chance of long-term survival.
Major stumbling blocks so far have been over the future of Palestinian statehood talks and strategies to heal a contracting economy.
from Raw Japan:
When I was 14, my best friend and I were obsessed with the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar", and we played the album until we had it memorised.
When I recently saw an ad for a "Japonesque Version" performed by Gekidan Shiki, one of Japan's best-known theatre groups, with the entire cast in the white foundation and flaring makeup lines of traditional kabuki theatre, I knew I had to go.
What I found was a powerful, if sometimes disconcerting, blend of Japan and Jerusalem.
Could the Pope make a historic visit to commmunist Vietnam later this year? A papal envoy hinted at this on Thursday, as Vietnam and the Vatican are seriously discussing establishing diplomatic ties. “This is my wish,” Vatican Undersecretary of State Monsignor Pietro Parolin told reporters when asked if he thought the Pope could visit the Southeast Asian country this year. He added that the question had not been discussed in meetings with the Foreign Ministry and government’s religious affairs committee. (Photo: Priest outside a Hanoi court trying Catholics for illegal protests, 8 Dec 2008/stringer)
The papal envoy has been attending the first meeting of a joint working group on improving ties this week in Hanoi. He said the talks had made progress, but establishing ties was a process that will take time.
Roman Catholicism in Vietnam dates back centuries, even before French colonial rule. Now some 7 percent of mostly-Buddhist Vietnam’s population of 86 million are Catholic, making it one of the biggest Catholic communities in Asia.
from India Insight:
It did not get great publicity but a recent U.N. report on religious freedom in India offers a stinging image of a country suffering from communal divisions and mob-inspired religious persecution.
It argues there is a very real risk of a repeat of a tragedy like the Gujarat riots of 2002, when more than 2,000 people, mainly Muslims,were killed by Hindu mobs.
The U.S. Special Rapporteur of religion or belief Asma Jahangir, a well-respected Pakistani human rights activist, travelled to India last March to prepare the report. It catalogues violence and discrimination faced by India's religious minorities, whether Muslim or Christian or Sikh.
Just in time for Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday next week, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has posted an extensive research package examining the debate about evolution, Darwinism and religion in the United States. “The Debate over Evolution” is a treasure trove of information about the debate and especially useful for the lists breaking down views of the main religious groups and the political fight over Darwinism state by state. (Photo: British Darwin commemorative stamp, 29 Dec 2008/Royal Mail)
Here are the main entries:
Overview: Fighting Over Evolution
Darwin and His Theory of Evolution
The Social and Legal Dimensions of the Evolution Debate in the U.S.
Religious Groups’ Views on Evolution
Fighting Over Darwin, State by State
Evolution: A Timeline
Graphic: Religious Differences on the Question of Evolution
Speaking of Darwin, we’ve done several posts about the Turkish anti-Darwin campaigner Harun Yahya and his Islamic creationst campaign against evolution. Most of the attention on this has been on his mega-book Atlas of Creation, how it’s being distributed in Europe and what the reaction to it has been.
Religion’s role in U.S. politics was on full display on Thursday as President Barack Obama spoke and prayed at the annual National Prayer Breakfast.
Obama, an adult convert to Christianity, used the occasion to announce that he will be establishing a White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This will replace or be an extension of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives established by former President George W. Bush, who was strongly supported by conservative Christians.
Some of Obama’s remarks about the new office are sure to raise eyebrows in those conservative Christian circles. For example:
“While the U.S. is generally considered a highly religious nation, African-Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole, including level of affiliation with a religion, attendance at religious services, frequency of prayer and religion’s importance in life,” the report says.
- Nearly eight in 10 blacks (79 percent) say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56 percent among all U.S. adults.
How much fun — really — can you make of religion? A U.S. marketer of board games may find out with ”Playing Gods” which it calls “the world’s first satirical board game of religious warfare.” It had its European premier this week at the London Toy Fair and will make a U.S. debut at the New York Toy Fair in February.
Ben Radford, head of the company that put the game together, said in a news release it is designed for two to five players who act as “gods” and …
“Try try to take over the world and make everyone on Earth worship him or her. As a god, you can try to convert other gods’ followers, promising them things like Afterlife, Prosperity, and Miracles. Or you can kill them off with plagues, locusts, earthquakes, floods, and other Acts of Gods.