religion and faith | KUOW News and Information

religion and faith

Monday's bombing in the Saudi city of Medina stands out, even among the wave of terrorist attacks in recent days. It wasn't the death toll. It didn't produce the scenes of carnage like Saturday's bombing in Baghdad that killed nearly 200 people or last week's attack on the airport in Istanbul that left 44 dead.

It was the chosen target — Medina, the site of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad's tomb and his house.

Did war change Guatemala's faith?

Jun 30, 2016
I
Amy Bracken

It’s been 20 years since the official end of Guatemala’s civil war.

The 36-year conflict is generally seen as a military versus guerrilla struggle for power and land, and also a front in the Cold War. But many of the estimated 200,000 people killed were civilians, and massacres of mostly indigenous people led to widespread charges of genocide.

Miguel de León Ceto was born in Nebaj, a town in the hard-hit Maya Ixil highlands, but his family fled to Mexico when he was a baby. When he finally came back, he was a teenager, and there was something that particularly puzzled him.

Aboard a flight home from Armenia, Pope Francis fielded a pointed question from reporters: Did he agree with German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, said gays deserve an apology from the Church?

His answer was frank.

What Does 'Radical Islam' Mean?

Jun 22, 2016

The tragedy in Orlando has prompted a debate over use of the term “radical Islam.” Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with William McCants of the Brookings Institution about what the words mean, and why they are controversial.

Interview Highlights: William McCants

On the history of the term “radical Islam”

A mourner is comforted during a memorial in Charleston, S.C., Friday, June 17, 2016 on the anniversary of the killing of nine black parishioners during bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church.
AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Ross Reynolds talks with Rev. Carey Anderson about the one year anniversary of the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. Anderson is senior minister at Seattle's First African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Can comedy reform a swing hater?

Jun 14, 2016
Negin Farsad performs at TEDWomen2015, May 29, 2015.
Flickr Photo/TED Conference (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/sRrmMx

Bill Radke speaks with social justice comedian Negin Farsad about how she believes comedy can change people's negative views of Muslims and other minorities. Her new book is "How To Make White People Laugh." 

Middle school students at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound attend a press conference concerning a recent threat following the Orlando shooting.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A mosque in Redmond, Washington has added extra security patrols due to a recent threat.  It came just hours after the Orlando shooting.

Redmond police say they received an anonymous call Sunday night. The individual was not making the threat, but passing on information he had overheard.

The Washington National Cathedral says it will remove two images of the Confederate battle flag from the building's stained-glass windows. Then the church will hold a period of public discussion on issues of race, slavery and justice and revisit the question of how to treat other depictions of the Civil War on the windows.

When it comes to the issue of religious rights versus no-cost contraception, the only thing the Supreme Court could agree on was not to decide.

In an unsigned opinion issued Monday, the court sent a series of cases back to a raft of federal appeals courts, with instructions for those courts and the parties in the lawsuits to try harder to work things out. "The Court expresses no view on the merits of the cases," the opinion said.

Pope Francis told a gathering of about 900 heads of women's religious orders that he supports studying whether women can become deacons. The step is seen as a possible turning point for the Roman Catholic Church, which does not allow women to serve in ordained ministry.

At Thursday's meeting of the International Union of Superiors General, Francis was asked why women are not allowed to be deacons and whether he would form an official commission to look into the issue. He responded, "I accept; it would be useful for the church to clarify this question. I agree."

Jeannie Yandel talks to Mukilteo's Mayor Jennifer Gregerson about the reaction to a proposal to build a mosque in the city. 

The proposed mosque in Mukilteo.
Islamic Center of Mulkiteo

The Mukilteo businessman who sent postcards throughout his city, warning about a new mosque now says it was a bad idea. 

On Friday, Pope Francis released a 256-page document called "Amoris Laetitia," or "The Joy of Love." In it, he calls for the Catholic Church to approach issues of sex, marriage, family planning and divorce with less emphasis on dogmatic law and more emphasis on individual conscience.

While the post-synodal apostolic exhortation doesn't directly alter any church doctrine, its shift in tone is significant for Catholic families around the world.

In a major document released Friday, Pope Francis addressed divisive elements of Catholic doctrine — including how to treat couples who remarry after a divorce that wasn't annulled by the church, and the church's stance on contraception.

Without issuing any new top-down doctrine, Francis said that priests should focus on providing pastoral care for Catholic couples, rather than sitting in judgment of them, and that individual conscience should be emphasized, rather than dogmatic rules.

Author Lesley Hazleton at TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Flickr Photo/TED Conference (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/eKTSNu

Bill Radke talks with Seattle author Lesley Hazleton about her new book, "Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto."

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a controversial "religious freedom" bill into law.

The legislation, HB 1523, promises that the state government will not punish people who refuse to provide services to people because of a religious opposition to same-sex marriage, extramarital sex or transgender people.

Supporters say it protects the rights of people who are opposed to homosexuality but who now live in a country where same-sex marriage is a legal right.

Opponents say the law amounts to a state sanction for open discrimination.

Captain Simratpal Singh wearing his turban and full beard with his US Army uniform.
Courtesty of Sikh Coalition/Jovelle Tamayo

Bill Radke speaks with Captain Simratpal Singh about the U.S. Army now allowing him to grow a full beard and wear a turban in accordance with his Sikh religion.  Singh graduated from Highline High School in Burien and is a recipient of the Bronze Star. 

This week, Mississippi lawmakers approved a bill called the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act."

Supporters describe it as a bill protecting religious freedom. Critics call it a sweeping bill giving state sanction to open discrimination against LGBT people.

The legislation, now sitting on the governor's desk, allows state employees to refuse to issue same-sex-marriage licenses and protects private companies and religious groups from being punished for denying a range of services to LGBT people.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, facing mounting pressure from corporations with interests in his state, said Monday that he will veto a controversial "religious liberties" bill.

When Pakistani Taliban gunmen stormed a school in December 2014, killing more than 130 schoolboys, it united many Pakistanis in support of a major offensive against the radical group that had been growing more menacing for years.

That military operation, which was already underway, picked up momentum. Violence is down, and Taliban have been weakened in their strongholds in northwest Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan.

Ted Cruz raised the most money of any Republican presiddential candidate in Washington state.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Along with the horror and sadness evoked by the bombings in Brussels on Tuesday, Seattle's Muslim community is also grappling with feelings of fear and anxiety. 

Once again, they're worried about the possible backlash which can occur after events like this. 

Doreen Alhadeff has spent her life in Seattle, and now she wants to be a Spanish citizen.
KUOW Photo/Amina Al-Sadi

Over 500 years ago, Doreen Alhadeff's family had something taken away from them: their Spanish citizenship. Now Doreen is trying to get it back.

Update at 7 a.m. Sunday: The pope now has more than a million followers. He hit the million mark after 12 hours, making his the fastest-growing Instagram account ever, according to the company.

Our previous post continues:

One photo, 145,000 followers (from when we first published) ... and counting.

Steve O'Connor in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Bill Radke talks with Steve O'Connor about why he's calling on the Seattle Archdiocese to expand it's list of known child abusers. O'Connor was sexually abused by a teacher named Dan Adamson in the early 1960s at St. Benedict Catholic school in Wallingford. Adamson wasn't on the Seattle Archdiocese's list. 

Michael J. Cody
BishopAccountability.org

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times reporter Lewis Kamb about his story profiling Rev. Michael Cody, a priest who worked in Western Washington for 21 years and sexually abused children.

Radke also speaks with attorney Michael Pfau about secret files kept by the Catholic Church on abusive priests. 

Church abuse victim Mary Dispenza looks on in her studio with her artwork in the background in her Bellevue, Wash., home on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2006.
AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey

Bill Radke talks with Mary Dispenza, director of SNAP (Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests) in Seattle, about her reaction to "Spotlight" winning Best Picture at the Oscars Sunday night. The movie tells the story of how Boston Globe reporters uncovered a massive child abuse cover-up by the Catholic Church.

Some churches have become inclusive of gays and lesbians, but for transgender people, church can still feel extremely unwelcoming. A congregation in Phoenix is working to change that by focusing on the everyday needs of its members — many of whom are homeless trans youth.

It starts with a free dinner every Sunday night with donated homemade and store-bought dishes.

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter said he's concerned with the number of children who die because their parents choose faith healing instead of traditional medical care.

One of the Vatican's most prominent critics, who pushed for greater protections for children and harsher punishments for pedophile priests, has taken a leave of absence from the pope's advisory commission on clerical sex abuse.

Israel made a decision last week that supporters are calling game-changing. Men and women will be allowed to worship together at the holiest place where Jews can legally pray. This could lead to other changes in Israel.

Batya Kallus, who helped negotiate the deal that led to the government decision, is jubilant.

"This is groundbreaking," she says. "We've reconceived what the Western Wall includes."

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