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religion and faith

Ross Reynolds talks to Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun columnist, about the comments made by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the niqab, a face veil some Muslim women wear.

This week officials are gathering in Washington to discuss how to counter extremist messages, particularly those from the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

ISIS has been luring thousands of Westerners to the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. The number of Americans who have traveled to Syria is still relatively small — in the neighborhood of 150 people — and a thin slice of that group, perhaps as many as two dozen Americans, are thought to have joined ISIS.

The organization United4Iran displayed this billboard in Washington, D.C., in 2012 to protest the treatment of Baha'is in Iran.
Flickr Photo/United4Iran (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel talks with Mitra Zarakani, an employment specialist at Jewish Family Service's Eastside location, about her immigration to the U.S. and attending a secret university in Iran.

Pope Francis over the weekend became the first pontiff to hold a private meeting with a transgender person. It’s one of many firsts for Pope Francis that have been seen as promoting greater inclusiveness in the church.

But what about women in the church? According to a Georgetown University study, 72 percent of nuns in the U.S. have left the church in the last five decades, compared with 35 percent of priests.

Just six years ago, the Vatican’s launch of an investigation into American nuns sparked outrage, but the release of the report in December was more warmly received.

All Pilgrims Christian Church on Seattle's Capitol Hill.
Flickr Photo/Curtis Cronn (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Don Jensen, executive director of Community Lunch, and Greg Turk, pastor of All Pilgrims Christian Church on Seattle's Capitol Hill, about community controversy over the church's plans to expand a meal program for people in need.

Jews Face New Fears In Europe

Jan 13, 2015

The killing of four French Jews in last week’s hostage standoff at a Paris kosher market has deepened the fears among European Jewish communities shaken by rising anti-Semitism and feeling vulnerable due to poor security and a large number of undefended potential targets.

The hostage situation followed the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead. Experts say European Jews have not felt this threatened since World War II, when some 6 million Jews were murdered in the Nazi Holocaust.

(This post was last updated at 6:50 p.m. ET.)

A nationwide manhunt for the suspects of France's deadliest terrorist attack in more than 50 years ended in a hail of gunfire on Friday.

After hours of tension in two separate standoffs that shut down parts of the Paris metro area, the two main suspects in the attack on a satirical magazine and a man who took hostages at a kosher grocery are dead, President François Hollande said in a speech to the nation.

We're not all Charlie

Jan 8, 2015
Carlo Allegri/Reuters 

#JeSuisCharlie exploded on social media on Wednesday in support of the murdered journalists at Charlie Hebdo.

But while people across the world are aligning themselves with the French satirical publication, these are the reasons they shouldn't: 

1. Je suis Charlie? Nope. I'd be dishonest. 

Charles R. Johnson with Ralph Ellison
Wikipedia Photo/Robin Platzer

As a teenager, University of Washington professor emeritus Charles Johnson discovered a book on yoga and meditation on his mom’s bookshelf that sparked his interest in practicing Buddhism.

Johnson spoke with Marcie Sillman on KUOW’s The Record to discuss the intersection of race, religion and his writing. His newest book is called “Taming the Ox: Buddhist Stories and Reflections on Politics, Race, Culture, and Spiritual Practice.”

In The Sunday Conversation, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Allan Edwards is the pastor of Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church in western Pennsylvania, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America. He's attracted to men, but he considers acting on that attraction a sin. Accordingly, Edwards has chosen not to act on it.

Jews, Chinese Food And Christmas: A Love Story

Dec 24, 2014
Chinese food fortune cookie
Flickr Photo/Ginny (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Hanna Raskin, former food critic for the Seattle Weekly, about the historical reasons why American Jews traditionally eat Chinese food on Christmas.

The Vatican released a much-anticipated report Tuesday, examining the lives and social work of American nuns.

The report on the 50,000 nuns and another on their leaders were both initiated under Pope Benedict in 2008. In 2012, the Vatican took over the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and said the leaders focused too much on social issues and promoted radical feminist themes.

You may think Jewish cooking can be summed up with a few dishes like chicken soup, knishes, chopped liver and gefilte fish.

But there once were Jewish communities all over the world — most of which no longer exist and all of which had a distinctive cuisine.

Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

It's been only two years since the Vatican released a highly critical report on American nuns that caused years of tension and distrust. But Catholic cardinals offered the same nuns praise on Tuesday as part of a report on women's religious orders in the United States.

Amin Shifow, general manager of Puget Sound Yellow Cab, said he wants to start a hotline for drivers to report harassment and other potential crimes against them.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A Muslim advocacy group in Seattle is calling on the FBI to look into a possible hate crime against a Somali taxi driver. According to Seattle Police, the attacker reportedly told the driver “you are a terrorist” and “I will shoot you,” then repeatedly punched him in the face.

“The severity of the incident makes this a more serious matter,” said Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) in Washington state, which is part of a national organization. “The person was attacked by three people who left him bloodied and unconscious.”

Seattle's Mormon Temple, used for rituals and weddings. Mormons attend church in wards on Sundays.
Flickr Photo/Tyler Foote (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Earlier this week Kate Kelly, the founder of a group advocating for women to be ordained into the Mormon priesthood, was excommunicated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for apostasy.

“For Mormons it’s really the equivalent of spiritual death,” said Natalie Kelly, a Seattle-based member of that group, Ordain Women. She is not related to Kate Kelly.

United Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer speaks during a news conference Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Ross Reynolds talks with Frank Schaefer, author of "Defrocked: How A Father's Act of Love Shook the United Methodist Church," about his decision to officiate his son's same-sex marriage and the ensuing case over his dismissal from position as pastor in the Methodist church.

This segment originally aired October 20, 2014.

African-American clergy, academics and activists will hold a march on Washington this week, protesting the grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo. and New York City and call on the federal government to intervene in the prosecutions of police officers accused of unjustified use of force.

Author Ruth Ozeki.
Flickr Photo/Kris Krug (CC-BY-NC-ND)

If you’re driving a car or operating other heavy machinery when you listen to this Speakers Forum podcast, we hope you’ll pull over for the guided meditation portion. But don’t be alarmed. This talk is more likely to invigorate and inspire you than put you under a spell. And it may change forever how you react when your smart phone vibrates with some bit of news.

There are organizations pushing for more religious speech – and some demanding less. That’s a product of the country’s ongoing culture wars, but these cases aren’t changing the law – because the role of religious speech in public schools is already clear.
Flickr Photo/Challenge Convention (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Michael Leal, a student at Everett’s Cascade High School, had been suspended three times for passing out Christian literature and preaching on campus. The school worried his activities would offend other students.

Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo
Courtesy Seattle Archdiocese, file

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' migration committee, about the Roman Catholic Church's push for immigration reform. 

Author Anne Lammott at the lighting ceremony for the Rainbow World Fund's World Tree of Hope on Dec. 10, 2013 at San Francisco City Hall
Wikipedia Photo

Spirituality is never far from writer Anne Lamott's mind.

The Bay Area writer, a recovering alcoholic, is a proud and very liberal Christian. She's written extensively about her own life, and about her personal take on the power of prayer to help people get through crises.

Lamott's latest essay collection, "Small Victories," is a compilation of old and new work. In each essay, she contemplates daily, sometimes mundane, manifestations of grace.

People in black face dress up as Black Peter, a traditional holiday figure in the Netherlands.
Flickr Photo/Hans Pama (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with James Kennedy, an American historian who researches Dutch history at the University of Amsterdam, about the history of Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter, Saint Nick's helper in the Netherlands. 

Celebrations with Black Pete usually involve performers in blackface, and can be seen locally this weekend in Lake Forest Park.

mars hill church
Flickr Photo/Mars Hill Church (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Seattle’s Mars Hill Church announced Friday that it will disband its network of churches. According to its website, each location will now become independent or close all together.

How The Gun Debate Plays Out In Faith

Oct 22, 2014
KUOW Photo/Ryan Katz

Charles Stephens performed opera in New York City for 20 years. He sang with the Seattle Symphony on opening night. But Stephens says that doesn’t compare to the concert he recently directed last month.

Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel talks with Leo Egashira, representative for Dignity Seattle, which ministers to LGBT Catholics, about the Vatican's gay-positive statements coming from an ongoing synod of cardinals.

mars hill church
Flickr Photo/Mars Hill Church (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with University of Washington religion professor Jim Wellman about Mark Driscoll's resignation and what it could mean for the future of Mars Hill Church.

AP Photo/Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

The founding pastor of one of the Pacific Northwest's biggest mega-churches has resigned.

Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll submitted a letter of resignation to the church's board of overseers Tuesday according to a statement on the church's website.

Updated at 11:00 a.m. ET

As we reported earlier, a synod of Catholic bishops meeting at the Vatican has released an interim document that signals the likelihood of a dramatic overhaul in the church's stance on gays and lesbians, as well as its view on divorced members.

Many millennials — people born after 1980 — have embraced vintage items: vinyl records, thick-framed glasses ... and now, dietary laws.

"I'm 21 years old, and, yes, I do keep kosher," says Lisa Faulds.

She says she ate whatever she wanted growing up: "bacon, ham, all that fun stuff. Seafood, shellfish."

But that all stopped a few months ago.

According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, nearly a fourth of millennial Jews are keeping kosher.

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