from Bernd Debusmann:

Obama and the American fringe

By Bernd Debusmann
March 16, 2012

The prospect of President Barack Obama winning another four-year term in November is swelling the ranks of anti-Muslim activists and groups on the extremist fringe of American society. Their growth has accelerated every year since Obama took office in 2009.

from Photographers' Blog:

Two worlds of Purim

March 9, 2012

By Nir Elias

As an Israeli and a resident of “ultra” secular Tel Aviv for most of my adult life, Purim -- the celebration of the Jews' salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther -- has always been a time of partying and dressing up, for me.

from John Lloyd:

God, Richard Dawkins, and the meaning of life

By John Lloyd
February 28, 2012

Two clever men, long past the first flush of youth, took part in a debate on God’s place -- or absence -- in the meaning and origin of life last week in Oxford. They differed; and to no one’s surprise, each remained unconvinced by the other’s argument at its end. Oxford University has been hosting such encounters for centuries.

from Tales from the Trail:

Santorum explains “phony theology” comment

February 20, 2012

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum says he wasn't questioning Barack Obama's faith on Saturday when he said the Democratic president's agenda was based on "some phony theology."

from The Great Debate:

The religion of an increasingly godless America

By Amanda Marcotte
November 24, 2011

By Amanda Marcotte
The views expressed are her own.

Listening to the national discourse, one could be forgiven for imagining that America is becoming an ever more religious place. The amount of God talk in the public square has dramatically increased in a generation. Prior to the 70s, the concept of “the religious right” had barely existed, but now it’s a powerful lobbying force with multiple groups from Focus on the Family to Concerned Women for America, all sitting on more money than most liberal special interest groups could ever hope to accumulate. Republicans, especially, claw over each other to demonstrate fealty to a very narrow, fundamentalist view of Christianity that forbids gay rights, reproductive rights, and requires you to believe that evolution never happened. A generation ago, most people outside of evangelical Christian circles had never heard of things like “megachurches” or “the Rapture”, but now even people living in the most secularist urban enclaves are familiar with these concepts, if still less than approving. Americans seem not just more religious, but more drawn to reactionary religion than ever before.

Mormon faith may hurt Romney in U.S. primaries – poll

November 23, 2011

 Mitt Romney’s Mormonism could hurt the Republican candidate with evangelical voters in his fight for the party’s presidential nomination, but those voters would favor him over President Barack Obama in the general election, according to a newly released poll.

Optimistic? Attending services may be reason

November 10, 2011

Regular attendance at religious services is associated with a more optimistic outlook and a lesser inclination to be depressed, compared to those who do not attend services at all, according to a recently published study.

Many U.S. Catholics have independent streak – survey

October 28, 2011

A majority of American Roman Catholics feel strongly about the sacraments and traditional church values such as caring for the poor, but they may not agree with the church teachings on topics such as abortion, same-sex marriage and maintaining a celibate, male clergy, a survey has found.

from Photographers' Blog:

Two sides of a living God

September 29, 2011

By Navesh Chitrakar

Born and raised in Kathmandu's Newar community I am familiar with Lord Ganesh. His elephant head attached to a human body makes him easy to identify. Ganesh is honored at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies as we celebrate religious festivals.

Iran-born writer “kills” ayatollah in novel

By Reuters Staff
July 25, 2011

A general view of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's shrine with pictures of him and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran