religion

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Free will, individual responsibility, and the pursuit of happiness: Fundamental tenets of, wait for it... Satanism. While the word conjures up images of fire and brimstone, the truth is a bit more complicated. So why does a religion which celebrates so much what Americans profess to hold dear get such a bad rap?

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This hour, we hear from two people whose lives were forever changed by the tragedy. 

Fifteen years after the attacks of Sept. 11, Americans have grown aware not only of the danger of terrorism but also of the reality that their nation is far less white, Christian and European than it used to be.

"Culturally, we're a country of Bollywood and bhangra and tai chi and yoga and salsa and burritos and halal and kosher," says Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion at Harvard University and author of A New Religious America.

Top French Court Suspends Riviera Town's Burkini Ban

Aug 26, 2016

France's highest administrative court struck a blow against controversial 'burkini bans' Friday, upending one town's decision to prohibit the full-body swimsuit on its beaches.

The Council of State suspended the ban in Villeneuve-Loubet, just west of Nice, saying it "seriously, and clearly illegally, breached the fundamental freedoms to come and go, the freedom of beliefs and individual freedom."

The Riviera town was one of roughly 30 municipalities to forbid beachgoers from donning the swimsuit often worn by Muslim women, reporter Jake Cigainero tells our Newscast unit.

Connecticut's First Mormon Temple to Open in Farmington

Aug 19, 2016
Josh Rosenfield / WNPR

After three years of construction, Connecticut’s first Mormon temple is almost complete. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans to unveil the Farmington building with a three-week public open house beginning September 30, after which non-Mormons will not be allowed to enter.

A New York City man was charged Monday in Saturday's shooting deaths of an imam and his associate as they left a mosque in Queens. Police say the suspect, Oscar Morel, 35, of Brooklyn, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Police Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner describes how the crime occurred:

New York police are working to track down the gunman who fatally shot the leader of a mosque in Queens and his associate on Saturday as they were walking home from afternoon prayers.

Meanwhile, members of the Bangladeshi Muslim community are mourning the death of Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his friend Thara Uddin, 64. They're calling on the police to investigate the killings as a hate crime.

Georg Aumer / Flickr

What can you say about the sun? It sits not only at the center of our solar system but has, over time, been at the center of religions, scriptures, songs, art and countless other aspects of our culture.

Churchgoing Americans say their preachers often speak out on hot social and political issues and occasionally back or oppose particular candidates in defiance of U.S. law prohibiting such endorsements.

CircaSassy / Creative Commons

Connecticut is among the least religious states in the country according to the Pew Research Center. While the number of churchgoers might not be high, religion is a pillar of our state’s history.

Faith in Connecticut is rich and diverse, but this hour, we zoom in on our Puritan past and find out how, if at all, that past still influences our communities today. We speak to a professor and historian and we get the perspective of a pastor from the United Church of Christ -- a protestant denomination that can trace its roots to the Puritan religion. 

Even if fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad doesn't medal at the Rio Olympics, she is set to make the history books.

Once she hits the fencing strip for her first bout in the women's individual sabre competition on Aug. 8, she will become the first U.S. Olympic athlete to compete while wearing a hijab.

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Last week, the Hartford Archdiocese won a case against the insurance company who refused to reimburse the Archdiocese for payments made to victims of priest sexual abuse. 

In Middletown, St. George’s boarding school has announced a settlement with up to 30 former students, who allege they were sexually abused. 

Pope Francis says it is wrong to equate violence with Islam, adding that "I do not believe that it is true or right that Islam is terrorist."

On a flight back to the Vatican after a five-day visit to Poland, Francis was asked by a reporter about remarks he made following last week's attack on a church in northern France in which an elderly priest was brutally murdered. The reporter asked the pope why he refers to terrorists but never to Islam when talking about such violent incidents.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET with a reaction from Hillary Clinton provided by her campaign.

In one of the most powerful moments at the Democratic National Convention, a Muslim father of a fallen U.S. soldier took the stage with his wife beside him and spoke directly to Donald Trump.

That father, Khizr Khan, condemned the Republican presidential nominee for proposing a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

Esther Shittu / WNPR

When we did our show on Romeo and Juliet a few months ago, Tina Packer invited us to come up to Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Mass., to see her new production of The Merchant of Venice this summer. Colin said we'd love to; we'll come up there and do a show!

It seemed like the sort of niceties that people often toss off on the radio.

But it turns out they meant it. And so, so did we! So we went up and taped a show in the Berkshires with Tina and her Shylock, Jonathan Epstein.

A Muslim community center in Kingston was the target of vandalism, in what may be a response to an apparent terrorist attack in Nice, France.

Mabel Lu / flickr creative commons

Last fall, Colin saw The Bloodstained Men and Their Friends demonstrating in New Haven.

They wear white coveralls with red stains on the crotches.

Thegreatlandoni / flickr creative commons

From scientists to fiction writers, conspiracy theorists to theologians, aliens have captured the imagination of us all. But as we ponder the possibilities let us pause to ask ourselves why.

Why do these yet to be found creatures from space occupy such a central role in the musings of so many? And should their existence be confirmed, what will it mean for us on Earth?

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.

Methodists from churches all over New England met last week at the New England Methodist Conference in Manchester. At that conference, they passed a resolution that attempts to make the broader church more inclusive for LGBTQIA people. It’s a decision that may have deeper resonance now after the attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando last week. Beth DiCocco is spokesperson for the New England Conference and she joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to discuss this resolution.

What is the Methodist Church's position on homosexuality?

Katie Burns

The Islamic Association of Greater Hartford hosted an interfaith vigil for the victims of the Orlando, Florida shooting on Tuesday night. Attendees came together to try to make sense of the events that occurred. 

Updated at 8:55 p.m. ET.

He called it yapping, loose talk, and sloppiness. President Obama dismissed criticism of his administration's avoidance of the term "radical Islam" and urged America to live up to its founding values Tuesday, speaking at length about inclusiveness and religious freedom.

US Embassy / Creative Commons

Orlando, Florida was the scene of a mass shooting Sunday that left 50 people dead and dozens more injured. We've heard the story before: a shooter walks into a crowded room with multiple weapons to kill large numbers of people in an astonishingly small amount of time.

Vice / Flickr

Between orthodoxy and cultism exists a narrow divide; a proving ground of public opinion where spirited groups vie for entry into the hallowed halls of true religion. Few are more firmly planted in this place than the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Steve Terrell / Wikimedia Commons

There has never been a time in the last ten presidential cycles when voters have disliked two presidential front-runners as much as they dislike Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Yes, the country is becoming increasingly polarized, but that doesn't explain why the candidates aren't well-liked by their respective parties.

Update at 3:15 p.m. ET: Ali's Funeral Set For Friday

Muhammad Ali, the man considered the greatest boxer of all time, died late Friday at a hospital in Phoenix at age 74. He was battling respiratory problems.

He died of septic shock related to natural causes, with his family at his bedside, according to family spokesman Bob Gunnell.

Ali inspired millions by standing up for his principles during the volatile 1960s and by always entertaining — in the boxing ring and in front of a microphone.

Nancy Shilts stood just inside the door of St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in Scituate, Mass., on Sunday, handing out fliers and hugs to parishioners as they arrived — for the very last time.

"It's just like I just lost my house," she said.

Shilts is one of the parishioners who have taken turns staying in St. Frances, day and night since 2004. That's when the Archdiocese of Boston said it was shutting the church down to sell the land.

Wikimedia Commons

Krista Tippett must know something. After all, she's been hosting a show -- originally called Speaking of Faith and now called On Being -- for about 15 years. She talks to the wisest of the wise and the sagest of the sage, about matters of existence, transcendence, and, you know, what does it all mean? What kind of universe is this anyway?

Gabe Simerson / WNPR

A group of Muslim men and boys knelt in prayer in the Berlin Mosque as an imam recited from the Qur’an. A few hours earlier, they were downstairs, hosting their first "Youth Hangout" -- an afternoon of Jeopardy for high schoolers of all faiths designed to show solidarity in the face of anti-Muslim hate rhetoric. 

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