Recent Posts

A family adds flowers to a growing memorial at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The memorial was erected for the victims of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which crashed in the Ukraine on July 18, 2014, and killed all 298 occupants. Creative Commons image by Roman Boed

The ‘Splainer: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and religious burial customs

Kimberly Winston Jul 23, 2014

Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists on Monday released the bodies of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which had languished in refrigerated train cars since the plane was shot down on July 17. The world was shocked by images and reports of bodies being looted, thrown in the back of pick-up trucks and unceremoniously stacked in the train cars.

But for many of the victims’ families, the release has come too late for them to complete the burial customs of their various religions. This edition of The ‘Splainer looks at the death rituals of the different religions practiced by the victims, and how the delay in retrieving the bodies disrupted them.

Tuesday Morning Meme, featuring Amy Fowler, Theologian

Greg Perreault Jul 22, 2014



Amy Fowler from Big Bang Theory seems to be implying that a deity is most interested in final exam performance.

Investing summer time in meditation

Gabbie Rhodes Jul 21, 2014

When you’re stuck in a daily routine it’s hard to make time for other things. Usually, you become so comfortable doing your typical daily activities that you don’t even want to make time for anything else. I’ve experienced this problem. When I first started practicing Zen Buddhism, it was hard for me to find time to meditate everyday. Trying to balance school, work, homework, and other obligations made it difficult for me to even want to fit in mediating. Normally during the school year I would only meditate when I had time, which was either early in the morning or late at night and obviously that was a very inconsistent routine because I rarely had much spare time. However, in the summer I have a more flexible schedule that allows me to meditate nearly everyday for 30 minutes or more.

Sufi Muslims push designer Roberto Cavalli to pull an offensive logo

Heather Adams Jul 18, 2014

(RNS) A group devoted to the mystical Sufi tradition of Islam is taking to the streets and social media as it fights for the removal of the faith’s religious symbol on designer Roberto Cavalli’s “Just Cavalli” clothing and fragrance line.

Cavalli is an Italian fashion designer known for exotic prints and a sandblasted look for jeans. He created the “Just Cavalli” line in 2013. The line includes clothes, fragrances and accessories.

The “Just Cavalli” logo is said to be a snakebite, but members of the M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi centers say it’s actually their religious emblem.


Hobby Lobby’s Green family postpones launch of public school Bible curriculum

David Van Biema Jul 17, 2014

Fresh off their victory in the Supreme Court, the Green family, owners of the Hobby Lobby craft chain, appear to have hit a stumbling block in one of their other projects — a potentially controversial public school elective on the Bible.

Americans rated a series of religious groups other than their own on a "feeling thermometer" from 0 to 100 in a new Pew Research Center study. For use with RNS-AFFILIATION-RANKINGS transmitted July 16, 2014. Image courtesy Bill Webster, via Pew Research Center

Americans view Jews, Christians warmly; atheists, Muslims get cold shoulder

Cathy Lynn Grossman Jul 16, 2014

We like ourselves!

A new Pew Research survey finds U.S. adults feel most warmly about people who share their religion or those they know as family, friends or co-workers.

Americans give their highest scores to Jews, Catholics and Evangelicals on a zero-to-100 “thermometer” featured in the survey, “How Americans Feel about Religious Groups,” released Wednesday (July 16). They’re nestled within a few degrees of each other: Jews, 63; Catholics, 62; evangelicals, 61.

Tuesday Morning Meme, featuring Rev. Sideburns from ‘Under the Dome’

Greg Perreault Jul 15, 2014


In last night’s “Under the Dome” episode explored the well trod conversation between faith and reason by introducing Lyle, a man with faith in the Dome and who rocks Benjamin Franklin sideburns. For whatever reason, he seemed to think it would be a good idea to kidnap and torture the scientist.

A man adds an emoji character to the end of his text message. For use with RNS-EMOJI-KEYBOARD transmitted July 11, 2014. Creative Commons image by Intel Free Press

Move over, smiley face: New religious emojis on the way

Heather Adams Jul 14, 2014

(RNS) In addition to smiley faces, high heels and frogs, Unicode is rolling out a new batch of 250 emojis, among them a set of religious icons.

Unicode is the character coding system that gives a unique number for every character, allowing different companies to have access and the support for universal emojis.

The new emojis will feature three types of crosses, the dove of peace and the Om symbol, a mystical Sanskrit sound of Hindu origin. They will join an emoji cast that includes an angel and a devil.

Christmas in July, presented by the Voluntary Action Center and sponsored by Kilgore’s Pharmacy, was held at Missouri United Methodist Church on Thursday (July 10). Children even visited with Santa Claus and received gifts. Photo by Jenna Fear.

‘Christmas in July’ looks to meet the needs of the needy

Jenna Fear Jul 12, 2014

Though shorts and sandals are not the usual attire for Christmas festivities, Christmas in July is a different circumstance.

“The idea is to remind people there are needs year-round, not just during the holidays,” said Nick Foster, the executive director of the Voluntary Action Center.

The event, presented by the Voluntary Action Center and sponsored by Kilgore’s Pharmacy, was held at Missouri United Methodist Church on Thursday (July 10). The 23rd annual Christmas in July picnic meal was an opportunity for local low-income families to share food and fun. Children even visited with Santa Claus and received gifts.

Racial equality: “The struggle for equality is still going on”

Steve Swope Jul 11, 2014

I attended a meeting recently that wound up considering the idea of diversity. That’s not an unusual topic in this university community; we play host to students and professors from across the country and around the world.

But one person’s comment got me thinking, and got all of us talking. Someone compared Columbia’s racial mix to a former West Coast address, where Asians and Hispanics were numerous while blacks and whites were in the minority.