religion and faith | KUOW News and Information

religion and faith

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.

Pope's Alarm Bell On Climate Change Heard In Puget Sound

Jun 22, 2015

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.

Don't Believe In God? Move To Seattle

May 26, 2015
Seattle atheists march in a parade. Ten percent of the city identifies as atheist, actively not believing in God. That's the highest percentage among large cities in the U.S.
Flickr Photo 2008/Evil Angela (CC BY-NC 2.0)

If you don’t believe in God, Seattle may be the city for you.

Ten percent of Seattle residents call themselves atheists – the highest rate among the largest metro areas in the U.S., according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

Two nuns from 19th-century Palestine are now saints after being canonized by Pope Francis, in a move seen as aimed at encouraging Christians across the Middle East who are facing persecution by Islamist extremists.

According to The Associated Press:

The U.S. is less Christian than it used to be, and fewer Americans choose to be a part of any religion, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Of the more than 35,000 people surveyed, 70 percent say they are Christian — but the number of people who call themselves atheist and agnostic has nearly doubled in the last seven years.

There’s a new series making waves on the web. “Halal in the Family” centers around the Qu’osbys, an all-American family who also happen to be Muslim.

It’s no coincidence that the family name sounds a lot like “Cosby.” Co-creator Miles Kahn tells Here & Now’s Robin Young that the idea first came from a comment that journalist Katie Couric made, that maybe what American Muslims needed to combat stereotypes was their own “Cosby Show.”

When walking into the front vestibule of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church in the seaside town of Scituate, Mass., it doesn't look or sound like the average church.

"What the hell are you doing?" an actor from The Young and the Restless says on a big-screen TV with two recliners set up in front of it. They're all arranged right next to a stained-glass window.

Courtesy of Ayan Jama

The sun was peeking through the clouds on Saturday, April 25  at Victor Steinbreuck Park in downtown Seattle, where a crowd gathered to celebrate the first ever Islamophobia Awareness Day.

The event was created by a group of Muslim girls from Rainier Beach High School. 

Abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage. The so-called pelvic issues are the ones that the head of the Roman Catholic Church really gets worked up about, right?

Not this pope.

That has been pretty clear to anyone listening to Pope Francis since he took over at the Vatican in 2013. “It is not necessary to talk about all these issues all the time,” Francis told an interviewer that same year. 

Now, Francis seems determined to talk about global climate change. And lots of people are listening.

As a 12-year-old Catholic boy growing up in England, Michael Fitzgerald decided he wanted to be a missionary in Africa. Eight years later, he was studying theology and learning Arabic in Tunisia.

He went on to devote his priestly ministry to the promotion of interfaith understanding between Muslims and Christians, and became one of the top Roman Catholic experts on Islam. He has served as the archbishop of Tunisia, the papal nuncio — effectively a Vatican ambassador — in Cairo, and the Vatican's delegate to the Arab League.

Sixty-three percent of people who took part in a global survey of religious attitudes say they are religious, according to WIN/Gallup International, the organization that carried out the polling.

The poll also found that 22 percent said they were not religious while about 11 percent said they were "convinced atheists," according to the poll published today. It surveyed nearly 64,000 people in 65 countries.

Plymouth Congregational Church in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Aaron Gustafson (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Chris James of Dubuque University about his study on Seattle churches and what they can tell us about the future of religion.

Seattle's Jewish Population Soars

Apr 3, 2015
Remaining edifice of the old Temple De Hirsch, Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.
Flickr Photo/brewbooks (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman speaks with Matt Boxer, a researcher at Brandeis University's Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, about the increase in Seattle's Jewish population. Boxer is part of a team commissioned by the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle to study the Jewish population.

Karen Shiveley, 67, waits to meet the pastor of a Baptist church in Everett. Shiveley has been checking out several churches around the Seattle area, hoping to find the right fit.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

 At Greater Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Everett, Karen Shiveley sat alone in a pew, waiting to meet the pastor. The 67-year-old was smartly dressed, with orange-framed glasses, and she wondered if this could be her church home.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds talks with Leah Libresco, news writer at FiveThirtyEight, about the boycott issued by Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of government travel to Indiana after it passed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, described by opponents as a license to discriminate against gays and lesbians. 

In Israel, religious law governs family matters.

For a Jewish divorce, an Orthodox rabbi oversees a ritual that begins with the husband placing a folded decree, called a get or gett, into the wife's cupped hands. But that paper can be hard to obtain, because the husband can refuse to grant the divorce.

A new Israeli film playing in the U.S. shows how patriarchal Jewish divorce laws can trap even secular women for years.

The film is a drama called Gett: The Trial of Viviane Ansalem. Viviane wants a divorce but needs her husband's permission.

At the U.S. Supreme Court, you know that it's going to be a hot argument when the usually straight-faced Justice Samuel Alito begins a question this way: "Let's say four people show up for a job interview ... this is going to sound like a joke, but it's not."

The issue before the court on Wednesday was whether retailer Abercrombie & Fitch violated the federal law banning religious discrimination when it rejected a highly rated job applicant because she wore a Muslim headscarf.

Vandalism at Bothell Hindu Temple and Cultural Center.
Courtesy of HTCC/Nitya Niranjan

Marcie Sillman talks to Kami Simmons, professor of law at Wake Forest University Law school in North Carolina, about the challenges of proving a hate crime.

Last week the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Bothell and Skyview Junior High School were vandalized by graffiti that read "get out" with a swastika symbol and "get out Muslims." Now leaders of the Hindu temple and local interfaith leaders in the community are calling for a federal investigation of the incident.  

Vandalism at Bothell Hindu Temple and Cultural Center.
Courtesy of HTCC/Nitya Niranjan

Leaders of a Hindu temple in Bothell have fast-tracked a plan to add some extra security cameras. This comes after the temple was tagged with racist graffiti over the weekend. The incident has gotten some international media attention and is still under investigation.  

A highly contagious disease was sweeping across the United States. Thousands of children were sick and some were dying. In the midst of this outbreak, health officials did something that experts say had never been done before and hasn't been done since: They forced parents to vaccinate their children.

It sounds like something that would have happened 100 years ago. But this was 1991 — and the disease was measles.

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