Leah Vincent is a board member of <a href="http://footstepsorg.org/about.php">Footsteps</a> and co-producer of the <a href="http://getsbesser.com/">It Gets Besser</a> project, both of which help support people who have decided to leave ultra-Orthodoxy.
Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community, an ultra-Orthodox sect of Judaism, in Pittsburgh.
"Yeshivish Judaism life is defined by religious law," Vincent tells NPR's Arun Rath. "We keep extra-strict laws of kosher, observe the Sabbath every week, maintain a separation of the sexes and a degree of isolation from the outside world."
When she was 16, she was caught exchanging letters with a male friend. Contact with men is forbidden in her sect, and she was cast out from her community.
Religious institutions in Washington have previously been exempt from discrimination rules but that could be changing. The Washington Supreme Court said in decisions Thursday that some employees whose duties are non-religious can bring discrimination claims against these nonprofits.
Rafe Pearlman came into his music career 20 years ago, right when grunge was capturing the world's attention. He didn’t have a meteoric rise to the top, but the singer-songwriter is still moving forward, selling out local shows where he mixes rock music with the chanting of many faiths.
Mary Dispenza came out of the closet more than 20 years ago. At the time, the former nun was directing pastoral nun services at the Seattle Archdiocese. Once Mary came out as gay, the church wouldn’t let her keep her position for long. Dispenza said that watching the gay vice principal of Eastside Catholic High School has been painful, and, after 20 years, a little too close to home for comfort.
Stories from the newest RadioActive youth producers delve into the personal struggles of a boy scared to reveal his religion to his friends, a single immigrant mother, and a girl who is getting back on track academically after having her life derailed by homelessness.
The Supreme Court invokes "God" before every public session. Now the justices will weigh whether it is different, as a legal matter, for government meetings to include more explicitly sectarian prayers.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case questioning the use of prayer at government meetings. But first, the marshal will ask "God" to "save the United States and this honorable court."