religion and faith | KUOW News and Information

religion and faith

What To Do With Underused Churches?

Nov 23, 2015
Nathan Marion stands on stage at the Fremont Abbey during a community concert.
Courtesy of Abbey Arts/ Eratosthenes Fackenthall

Bill Radke takes a tour of the Fremont Abbey with Abbey Arts director Nathan Marion, who explained why he believes community art spaces improve public health.

Rainn Wilson: 'I was on the chess team. Model United Nations. Computer club. Debate club. I played xylophone in the marching band, and the Shorecrest High School Highlanders wear kilts.  So I was a skinny, xylophone player in a dress.'
Flickr Photo/Jens Schott Knudsen (CC BY NC 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1QHS5SR

Rainn Wilson – Dwight Schrute on The Office – grew up in the Seattle area and attended the University of Washington. He spoke recently with KUOW Ross Reynolds about nerd-dom, the Baha'i faith and his new book, "The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith and Idiocy."

The Paris attacks have brought new attention to Dimitri Bontinck, a member of Belgium's Dutch-speaking majority. His life was dramatically changed a few years ago, when his then-teenage son converted to Islam and went to Syria to join Islamist fighters there.

Now Bontick is trying to prevent other young Europeans from following the same path.

The U.S. Supreme Court justices said Friday they would hear a group of cases brought by religious hospitals, schools, and charities that object to the system devised under Obamacare to spare them from paying for birth control coverage for their employees and students.

NPR's Nina Totenberg reports:

Dennis Lindberg was 14 when he was diagnosed with leukemia. He refused to received blood transfusions, which ultimately led to his death three weeks after he was diagnosed.Dennis Lindberg was 14 when he was diagnosed with leukemia. He refused to received
Skagit Valley Herald/Scott Terrell

The first time I interviewed Dennis Lindberg, he was alone on a weekday evening. He had just turned 12, and he had set out Saltine crackers on a paper towel and poured me a glass of tap water.

He sat up straight on the couch and folded his hands in his lap. “What questions may I answer?” he asked. He was polite, tall for his age, with light blue eyes and acne scattered across his nose.

Religion is apparently weakening in America. A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that the percentage of Americans who say they believe in God, pray daily and attend church regularly is declining.

Among the findings:

  • The share of Americans who say they are "absolutely certain" that God exists has dropped 8 percentage points, from 71 percent to 63 percent, since 2007, when the last comparable study was made.

'Week in Review' panel C.R. Douglas, Bill Radke, Joni Balter and Eli Sanders.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

What's up with those scaly anteater-like animals? Why did Seattle Public Library’s rebranding effort fail? Was Bremerton High School's football coach prayer-leading or just praying? 

Bill Radke ponders the week’s news with The Stranger's Eli Sanders, Seattle Channel's Joni Balter and C.R. Douglas of Q13 FOX News.

Who is a Jew? It's an age-old question that in Israel been determined by government-selected rabbis in the decades since the country was established in 1948.

But now a group of Orthodox rabbis is challenging the state's control on determining who is and isn't Jewish — a status that affects many important aspects of life in Israel.

The parents of 7-year-old Lihi Goldstein weren't thinking about their daughter's future wedding when they adopted her as a toddler. Israelis Amit and Regina Goldstein picked the blue-eyed girl from a crowd of children at an orphanage in Ukraine.

The Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa says it has shut down its adoption services in India over religious objections to the country's new adoption rules. The Catholic sisters known for their blue and white habits and vow of free service to the poor say they have asked the government to de-register 13 orphanages.

Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a 43-year-old Polish priest who revealed his homosexuality, and a same-sex relationship on the eve of gathering of bishops from around the world, has been stripped of his doctrinal responsibilities for what the Vatican says are "very serious and irresponsible" actions.

"The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure," the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.

Pope Francis in a file photo from 2013.
Flickr Photo/Catholic Church England and Wales (CC BY NC SA)/http://bit.ly/1MuUz3K

Jeannie Yandel talks to Mary Dispenza, author and director of the Northwest branch of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, about Pope Francis' visit to the United States. 

Pope Francis speaks his mind, and he did that again in his address to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday morning. But, in the vein of the best Jesuit teachers, Francis praised America, its rich political history and its ideals before delicately delivering some things its political leaders might, well, want to consider working on.

There were political messages that challenged the orthodoxy of both American political parties, but, in this 51-minute address, there were a lot more points of emphasis Democrats are happy about — and that put some pressure on Republicans.

Demonstrator Alice Tsai takes a photo of the police blocking her group from accessing the Westin Hotel, where Chinese President Xi Jinping is staying.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Protesters have been trying to get so close to Chinese President Xi Jinping in Seattle that he can hear their chants. But they’re having a hard time.

In a much-anticipated visit, Pope Francis arrived at the White House Wednesday morning, where he met with President Obama. Francis addressed a crowd of more than 11,000 people.

Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber admits that she does not look — or act — like a typical church leader. Heavily tattooed and with a tendency to swear like a truck driver, Bolz-Weber was once a standup comic with a big drinking problem.

But she was drawn to Lutheran theology, and when a group of friends asked her to give a eulogy for another friend who had committed suicide, Bolz-Weber discovered her calling.

Sunday morning services at St. Mary Magdalene Community in Drexel Hill, Pa., look different from a typical Roman Catholic mass. The homily is interactive, there's gluten-free communion bread, and the priest is a woman.

Caryl Johnson calls herself a priest, but technically she was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. That happened automatically in 2011 when she was ordained by the group Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

Alvin Bailon and his wife were at their wits' end last September. Their 12-year-old son, an honors student, had begun having anxiety attacks, mostly about school. "And then all of a sudden he would slowly lose consciousness," Bailon recalls. "We term it as doze off. He would doze off and he would fall down slowly."

Madeline DeFrees in 1967. The poet, formerly a nun, would tuck an envelope and pencil into the deep pockets of her habit to write when she had time.
Lee Nye via MadelineDeFrees.com

Madeline DeFrees published her first poem at the age of 12.

It was called “Sympathy,” written for a Portland newspaper poetry contest.

When undocumented immigrants move through government-run detention centers in the U.S., it can take months before they find out if they'll be deported or allowed to stay in the country.

During this long wait, many become frustrated. And some turn to religion.

It's the job of the in-house chaplain to help connect detainees to religious services.

Keith Henderson, chaplain at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., says, "I love it. I love the job," partly, he says, because he likes challenges.

Scholar Amy Kittelstrom argues that being liberal doesn't mean not being religious or spiritual.q
Flickr Photo/Madison (CC BY NC 2.0)

When we call someone liberal, do we imply that they are not religious or spiritual? Today’s speaker says we shouldn’t.

In her new book “The Religion of Democracy,” scholar Amy Kittelstrom chronicles seven liberals who influenced early American democracy and helped guide its progress -- and did so with their religious values firmly in tow.

Swedish Hospital's facility on Seattle's First Hill.
Flickr Photo/Matthew Rutledge (CC BY 2.0)

New state rules intended to address secular hospitals' partnerships with Catholic health organizations has been rejected by the Washington Supreme Court.

The court ruled unanimously that the state Department of Health overextended its authority in expanding oversight of hospital mergers and affiliations.

Muslim leaders and Christian clergy in Spokane are asking for a federal hate crime investigation into anti-Muslim graffiti discovered on the Fourth of July. Someone scrawled the phrase “Death to Islam” on the side of a Bosnian heritage center.

In Seoul, a gay pride parade 15 years in the running is at the center of heated controversy between LGBT groups and Christian activists, who threaten to do what it takes to stop the marchers.

The growing visibility of South Korea's gays and lesbians has led to louder opposition from church groups in recent years, and this weekend's event has organizers preparing for confrontation.

Kim Malcolm speaks with Jessie Dye, outreach director for Earth Ministry, about what the Pope's message on climate change means to environmental activists of all faiths, including the "nones."

Rev. Carey G. Anderson speaks during the First African Methodist Episcopal Church’s 125th year anniversary service Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011 in Seattle.
Courtesy Seattle Times/Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times

The first call Rev. Carey G. Anderson received following the mass shooting at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston last week came from Seattle’s police chief.

“Chief O’Toole called me to express her condolence and concern and to let me know, and the black church at large, that SPD is standing available in any way and any capacity,” said Anderson, the pastor at the First A.M.E. Church in Seattle. 

Updated at 11:10 a.m. EST

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., today is holding its first Sunday service following a horrific shooting that killed nine members of a Bible study group there.

Updated at 6:46 p.m. EDT

Dylann Roof, the Charleston church shooting suspect, appears to have set up a website that contains photos of himself and a manifesto-like diatribe against non-whites. The author of the rant writes of being motivated by the Trayvon Martin case and concludes that there is "no choice" but to "take it to the real world."

Pope Francis today issued a sweeping 184-page papal letter, writing that climate change is a global problem with far reaching environmental and social consequences — especially for the poor. He blamed apathy and greed and called on developing countries to limit the use of nonrenewable energy and to assist poorer nations.

In April this year, on Earth Day, Pope Francis urged everyone to see the world through the eyes of God, as a garden to cultivate.

"May the way people treat the Earth not be guided by greed, manipulation, and exploitation, but rather may it preserve the divine harmony between creatures and creation, also in the service of future generations," he said.

Jenny Schulz isn't religious.

"I see religion as something really personal," said Schulz, 26, who works at a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. "So the fact that it is a requirement in politics always seems unusual to me."

She said she "oscillates between atheist and agnostic," but she knows it could be many years before she votes for a political figure who shares her (lack of) religious beliefs.

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