WBEZ | religion http://www.wbez.org/tags/religion Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Political Crisis In Moldova http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-01-25/political-crisis-moldova-114610 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Healing%20earth%20%281%29.png" style="height: 245px; width: 620px;" title="" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/243764758&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">&ldquo;Healing Earth&rdquo; Environmental Science textbook adds spirituality to curriculum.</span><br />Science and faith are sometimes in harmony with each other, but often there have been bitter disputes. Pope John Paul II finally settled the Catholic Church&rsquo;s famous dispute with Galileo by formally acquitting him in 1992. But with challenges like Climate Change and mass extinctions, faith leaders from the indigenous to Islam, from Buddhist to Baha&rsquo;i have called for urgent action to heal our Earth, which Pope Francis calls &ldquo;the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor&rdquo;. &nbsp;&nbsp;A new era calls for new tools. &nbsp;Loyola University-Chicago&rsquo;s International Jesuit Ecology Project has created a new environmental science e-textbook and multimedia project called &ldquo;Healing Earth&rdquo;. &nbsp;The project goes beyond science to add the perspectives of ethics, spirituality, and action. &nbsp;We talk with three people behind the project, Nancy Tuchman, &nbsp;professor of Biology and founding director of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University-Chicago, Michael Schuck, associate professor of Theology at Loyola University-Chicago and Father Michael Garanzini, chancellor secretary and president emeritus of Loyola University Chicago.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong> Nancy Tuchman, &nbsp;professor of Biology and founding director of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University-Chicago.</p><p>Michael Schuck, associate professor of Theology at Loyola University-Chicago.</p><p>Father Michael Garanzini, chancellor secretary and president emeritus of Loyola University Chicago.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Moldova1.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 620px;" title="A Moldovan army general watches demonstrators during a large protest in Chisinau, Moldova, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. More than 15,000 people gathered to protest against the government, demanding early elections in the impoverished East European nation, an action that comes after demonstrators stormed Parliament last week as lawmakers approved a new pro-European government.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/243764751&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="font-size:24px;">Growing Political and Social Unrest in Moldova</span><br />Last week a group of protesters broke into the Moldovan Parliament, demanding the country hold new elections. The event took place amidst larger protests in the capital, Chisinau. The protests began when the government secretly swore in a new head of government. We&rsquo;ll take a look at what&rsquo;s behind the growing unrest with Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center.</p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 15:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-01-25/political-crisis-moldova-114610 An Unkillable Myth About Atheists http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/unkillable-myth-about-atheists-114593 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/atheism.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In his new book,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2015/11/11/455573765/like-it-or-not-we-may-be-meaning-junkies">The Big Question: Why We Can&#39;t Stop Talking About Science, Faith and God</a>, Alister McGrath argues that &quot;we need more than science to satisfy our deep yearnings and intuitions.&quot; That something more for McGrath is God, specifically, the Christian God.</p><p>As he develops this argument, again and again&nbsp;<a href="http://alistermcgrath.weebly.com/biography.html">McGrath</a>&nbsp;characterizes atheists who embrace science but not God as stuck in a place devoid of full understanding or meaning. There&#39;s a &quot;richness&quot; in the Christian engagement with nature that atheists miss, for example.</p><p>McGrath understands the foundational atheist perspective to be this: &quot;Since science discloses no meaning to the universe, the only reasonable conclusion is that there is no meaning to find.&quot;</p><p>Here, yet again, is the unkillable myth, the persistent blind spot about atheism that apparently no amount of explaining can make go away. No matter how lucidly atheists explain in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatheistbook.com/products/abetterlife">books</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.argumentsforatheism.com/arguments_against_meaning.html">essays</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2014/09/16/348949146/is-atheist-awe-a-religious-experience">blog posts</a>&nbsp;that, yes, life can and does for us have meaning without God, the tsunami of claims about atheists&#39; arid existence rolls on and on.</p><p>Where does this persistent (is it also willful?) misunderstanding come from?</p><p>McGrath offers some quotes from atheists that may seem, at first glance, to support his stance, as in this excerpted passage from&nbsp;The Atheist&#39;s Guide to Reality&nbsp;by Alex Rosenberg: &quot;What is the purpose of the universe? There is none. What is the meaning of life? Ditto.&quot; Yet, to conclude from these lines that atheists&#39; lives suffer from a lack of meaning amounts to conflating two very different things.</p><p>First is the understanding, emergent from evolutionary theory, that neither the universe as a whole, nor we humans within it, have evolved according to some plan of design. Cosmic evolution and human evolution unfold with no guiding hand or specific goals. Most atheists do accept this, I think.</p><p>Second is to embrace as a logical next step the idea that our own individual lives have no purpose or meaning. Do you know of any atheists who believe this? I don&#39;t.</p><p>Nor do I recognize the scientific communities of which I am a part &mdash; both online and offline &mdash; in McGrath&#39;s insistence that a &quot;sense of cosmic pointlessness haunts many today, particularly within the scientific community.&quot;</p><p>An anthropological perspective teaches us that we humans are a quintessentially meaning-making species. We create love and kindness (hate and violence, too), and also work that matters. We recognize and protect (or, too often, harm) our sense of connection to other animals, to plants and trees, to all of nature&#39;s landscapes. What are those acts if not ones of meaning and purpose?</p><p>Another new book, this one published just last week, takes up questions of meaning and purpose. Neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/07/books/review-in-when-breath-becomes-air-dr-paul-kalanithi-confronts-an-early-death.html">When Breath Becomes Air</a>&nbsp;is a memoir by a physician confronting, at age 36, a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer, made all the more poignant because we readers know at the outset that Kalanithi died at age 37, before he could fully complete the book.</p><p>Lurking within passages that speak to creating meaning in the face of death &mdash; passages beautiful enough to cause me to recommend the book to anyone and everyone &mdash; is a version of the unkillable myth. Kalanithi writes:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;To make science the arbiter of metaphysics is to banish not only God from the world but also love, hate, meaning &mdash; to consider a world that is self-evidently not the world we live in. That&#39;s not to say that if you believe in meaning, you must also believe in God. It is to say, though, that if you believe science provides no basis for God, then you are almost obligated to conclude that science provides no basis for meaning and, therefore, life doesn&#39;t have any.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>Kalanithi describes the &quot;sacredness&quot; of his work as a neurosurgeon, the burdens that make medicine &quot;holy.&quot; His view, though powerful and rewarding to read about, doesn&#39;t render his equation &mdash;&nbsp;<em>science provides no basis for God = life has no meaning</em> &mdash;&nbsp;into a truth.</p><p>Let&#39;s return to McGrath. His central theme in&nbsp;The Big Question&nbsp;revolves around &quot;the ultimate coherence of science and faith.&quot; I&#39;d like to say that open dialogue about the interweaving of scientific and religious narratives that McGrath champions &mdash; dialogue asking if that interweaving is really a possible, or even a desirable, goal &mdash; is the way forward. At the same time, I find intriguing and persuasive the perspective of physicist<a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/05/i_won_t_take_money_from_templeton_science_and_religion_can_t_be_reconciled.html">Sean Carroll</a>, who explains why he takes no money from the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.templeton.org/who-we-are/about-the-foundation/mission">John Templeton Foundation</a>&nbsp;by saying it is because its underlying goal is to further this very notion of consilience.</p><p>It&#39;s a real irony that McGrath spills a lot of ink in his book railing against Richard Dawkins&#39; reductive judgments about people of faith &mdash; which I, too,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2012/03/26/149310560/atheist-firebrand-richard-dawkins-unrepentant-for-harsh-words-targeting-faith">have questioned</a>&nbsp;&mdash; while McGrath himself makes reductive judgments about atheists.</p><p>I&#39;m yet another atheist voice&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2014/08/28/343952506/atheists-feel-awe-too">chiming in</a>&nbsp;to say that my life, thanks very much, is full of meaning.</p><p>Now, how to make this unkillable myth about atheism into a moribund myth?</p><div><hr /></div><p><em>Barbara J. King, an anthropology professor at the College of William and Mary, often writes about human evolution, primate behavior and the cognition and emotion of animals.&nbsp;Barbara&#39;s most recent book on animals is titled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/176686699/how-animals-grieve">How Animals Grieve</a>.&nbsp;You can keep up with what she is thinking on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/bjkingape">@bjkingape</a></em></p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 12:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/unkillable-myth-about-atheists-114593 Thou Shalt Not Toss Food: Enlisting Religious Groups To Fight Waste http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/thou-shalt-not-toss-food-enlisting-religious-groups-fight-waste-114546 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/plymouthchurchcompost-ea9f544a4e74bc4e151b8963d6f1d2ca443ea0d6-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res463210872" previewtitle="Brother William Valle of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Md., loads potatoes onto his cart at the Capitol Area Food Bank, in Washington, D.C. A new government initiative seeks to engage faith-based groups on food waste — for instance, by using their existing relationships with food banks to redirect excess food to the hungry."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Brother William Valle of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Md., loads potatoes onto his cart at the Capitol Area Food Bank, in Washington, D.C. A new government initiative seeks to engage faith-based groups on food waste — for instance, by using their existing relationships with food banks to redirect excess food to the hungry." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/foodbankpriest_custom-8709421c018f88560d9beede1aa5530b41bf921c-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Brother William Valle of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Md., loads potatoes onto his cart at the Capitol Area Food Bank, in Washington, D.C. A new government initiative seeks to engage faith-based groups on food waste — for instance, by using their existing relationships with food banks to redirect excess food to the hungry. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Separation of church and state? When it comes to fighting food waste, the U.S. government is looking to partner up with the faithful.</p></div></div></div><p>The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday launched the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.epa.gov/communityhealth/foodsteward">Food Steward&#39;s Pledge</a>, an initiative to engage religious groups of all faiths to help redirect the food that ends up in landfills to hungry mouths. It&#39;s one piece of the agency&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/16/440825159/its-time-to-get-serious-about-reducing-food-waste-feds-say">larger plan</a>&nbsp;to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030.</p><p>&quot;We can make leaps and bounds in this process if we tackle this problem more systemically and bring a broader number of stakeholders to the table,&quot; EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy tells us. By engaging religious communities, she says, &quot;we are tapping into incredibly motivated and dedicated people.&quot;</p><p>Food waste connects to the core values of many faith communities, particularly helping the poor and feeding the hungry, McCarthy notes.</p><p>As we&#39;ve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/16/440825159/its-time-to-get-serious-about-reducing-food-waste-feds-say">reported</a>, more than 1,200 calories per American per day are wasted, according to U.S. government figures. Loss occurs on the farm, at the retail level and in homes. We consumers often toss out foods because they&#39;ve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/12/26/167819082/dont-fear-that-expired-food">passed their sell-by date</a>&nbsp;&mdash; but are still just fine to eat &mdash; or because we buy more than we can eat before it goes bad.</p><div id="res463248692" previewtitle="Members of Parroquia's San José Latino ministry glean from the fields of Angelic Organic's farm in Caledonia, Ill."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Members of Parroquia's San José Latino ministry glean from the fields of Angelic Organic's farm in Caledonia, Ill." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/angelicorganic_wide-369fe8ec03bf954e7ff68fd5435dcc4fed83fec1-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Members of Parroquia's San José Latino ministry glean from the fields of Angelic Organic's farm in Caledonia, Ill. (Courtesy of Parroquia San José)" /></div><div><div><p>As McCarthy notes, a lot of that is discarded but still edible and wholesome and could be used to feed some of the 48 million American who struggle to get enough to eat.</p></div></div></div><p>At the consumer level, changing behavior is key, says EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus, and faith-based groups can help make that happen in a variety of ways. For instance, when these organizations hold potlucks, the leftovers can go to the local food bank.</p><p>EPA says groups can also work with local grocers, schools and restaurants to direct food to food banks and shelters that would otherwise be wasted. They can hold seminars for the faithful and the broader local community to teach them how to menu plan and shop their own refrigerators first to avoid buying excess food, and how to compost the leftover scraps. EPA has developed a toolkit with lots more suggestions for groups that sign its &quot;Food Steward&#39;s Pledge.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Getting out the message &mdash; particular what individual families can do ... local community leaders are critical in doing that,&quot; Stanislaus tells us. And because faith-based leaders are often trusted advisers in their communities, &quot;we thought they were a natural ally.&quot;</p><p>Food waste is closely tied to another growing concern for many faith-based organizations: climate change, a problem that disproportionately affects the world&#39;s poor. Food waste is the single biggest material in U.S. landfills, according to the U.S. Agricultural Department. As this waste decomposes, it releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.</p><div id="res463212011" previewtitle="The compost/recycle system at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minn. According to Creation Justice Ministries, it's just one example of the various projects churches have implemented to reduce waste."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The compost/recycle system at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minn. According to Creation Justice Ministries, it's just one example of the various projects churches have implemented to reduce waste." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/plymouthchurchcompost-ea9f544a4e74bc4e151b8963d6f1d2ca443ea0d6-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="The compost/recycle system at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minn. According to Creation Justice Ministries, it's just one example of the various projects churches have implemented to reduce waste. (Courtesy of Plymouth Congregational Church)" /></div><div><div><p>Last summer, Pope Francis made headlines around the globe when he issued a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/18/415429852/pope-francis-climate-change-a-principal-challenge-for-humanity">papal encyclical</a>&nbsp;urging action on climate change. That call helped energize new conversations throughout the Catholic church on environmental issues &mdash; including food waste, says Cecilia Calvo, who coordinates the environmental justice program for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She says more Catholics are asking, &quot;Rather than contributing to a culture of waste, how can we be conscious of our choices?&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>Many other faith-based groups already have programs targeting food waste.</p><p>For example, in the past year, the&nbsp;<a href="http://creationcare.org/">Evangelical Environmental Network,</a>&nbsp;a policy and advocacy group, launched its own &quot;Joseph&#39;s Pledge&quot; program: It teaches churches how to minimize food waste through actions like donating to food banks, planting community gardens and composting. (The program&#39;s name refers to the biblical Joseph, who helped guide ancient Egypt through seven years of famine.) About 200 churches have signed up so far, EEN President Mitch Hescox tells us. The goal is to reach 1,000.</p><p>&quot;Evangelicals are primarily conservative politically,&quot; Hescox notes. &quot;They want to take action by themselves. And this is one step they can do themselves to help people to address the problem. And it&#39;s a win-win. &quot;</p><div id="res463216657" previewtitle="A compost station for organic waste created by fifth graders at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island in Providence."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A compost station for organic waste created by fifth graders at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island in Providence." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/hazoncompost_edited_custom-14c86fbaedefb9fea44ae18b328be261f889024b-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 229px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="A compost station for organic waste created by fifth graders at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island in Providence. (Courtesy of Hazon)" /></div><div><div><p>Shantha Ready Alonso, executive director of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.creationjustice.org/">Creation Justice Ministries</a>, an environmental justice group spun out of the National Council of Churches, says the 100,000 congregations in her organization&#39;s network, representing 45 million people, have a variety of programs to address food waste.</p></div></div></div><p>She points to the&nbsp;<a href="http://ferncliff.org/">Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center</a>&nbsp;in Little Rock, Ark. Run by the Presbyterian Church, she says it&#39;s a model program where 100 percent of food scraps get composted. She says some churches grow food in on-site gardens and direct it to the needy. And she notes that churches and individuals with gardens are also encouraged to donate to&nbsp;<a href="http://ampleharvest.org/">Ample Harvest</a>, a nonprofit that connects gardeners to local food pantries.</p><p>&quot;Good stewardship is part of our DNA,&quot; she tells us. &quot;And the idea that 1 in [7] people in America are going hungry and yet we are wasting [so much] food is awful.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://hazon.org/">Hazon</a>, a Jewish environmental organization, already has several programs focused on food and sustainability, says Becca Linden, the group&#39;s associate program director. But &quot;this will be the year we make food waste a priority,&quot; she says.</p><p>Among other actions, she says Hazon will screen the food waste documentary&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/18/456489490/in-just-eat-it-filmmakers-feast-for-6-months-on-discarded-food">Just Eat It</a>, publish a compost guide and raise awareness that expiration dates don&#39;t necessarily mean food is no longer fit to eat.</p><p>Meanwhile, Muslims around the world have been calling attention to the food&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-28168162">waste that occurs during Ramadan</a>, a period when fasting is followed by feasting that can result in over-purchasing of food. The Quran says Muslims should &quot;eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.&quot; In the U.S., the group&nbsp;<a href="http://www.greenmuslims.org/">Green Muslims</a>&nbsp;is trying to spread awareness of Islam&#39;s environmental teachings. For instance, the group offers a&nbsp;<a href="http://greenmuslims.org/DCGM%20Green%20Iftar%20Guide.pdf">guide</a>&nbsp;to hosting a zero-waste&nbsp;iftar.</p><p>Of course, action on food waste transcends Abrahamic religions. One example:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.whiteponyexpress.org/">White Pony Express</a>, a program in Contra Costa County, Calif., that rescues food from farms and farmers markets, grocers, restaurants and caterers. It was founded by the leader of Sufism Reoriented, an American spiritual order.</p><p>Cecilia Calvo of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says there&#39;s a growing recognition that protecting the environment is everyone&#39;s moral duty. As Calvo notes, the question for many has become: &quot;What does it mean to care for our common home?&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/18/463109192/thou-shalt-not-toss-food-enlisting-religious-groups-to-fight-waste?ft=nprml&amp;f=463109192" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 09:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/thou-shalt-not-toss-food-enlisting-religious-groups-fight-waste-114546 Wheaton College Moves to Fire Professor http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-06/wheaton-college-moves-fire-professor-114397 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img about="" alt="" ap="" clarifying="" class="image-original_image" issues.="" m.="" photo="" spencer="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_201601061939520000.jpg" style="height: 424px; width: 620px;" theological="" title="Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Chicago. Hawkins, who's Christian, posted her views on Facebook and wore a headscarf to show solidarity with Muslims is disputing the university's account of interactions with administrators who've initiated steps to fire her. Suburban Chicago's Wheaton College initiated the termination-for-cause proceeding against Hawkins on Tuesday, saying she refused to participate in &quot;clarifying conversations&quot; about theological issues. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)" /></div><p>In the wake of the San Bernadino shootings, Prof. Larycia Hawkins of Wheaton College attempted to show solidarity with American Muslim communities by donning a hijab and citing&nbsp;Pope Francis in a Facebook post, saying Muslims and Christians worship the same God.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-17/wheaton-professor-suspended-over-stance-islam-114200" target="_blank">The college suspended Hawkins</a>, and now they&#39;re moving to fire her.</p><p>Hawkins says her bid to remain employed at the school has <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-23/wheaton-professor-talk-next-steps-wbez-114270" target="_blank">become the fight of her life.</a>&nbsp;Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Hawkins said the controversy is now about much more than her.</p><h3><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 32px; line-height: 24px; text-align: center; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">▼</span><strong><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">Listen</span>: WBEZ&#39;s Odette Yousef reports.</strong></h3><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/240743280&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 06 Jan 2016 14:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-06/wheaton-college-moves-fire-professor-114397 Wheaton Professor Talks Next Steps on WBEZ http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-23/wheaton-professor-talk-next-steps-wbez-114270 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Larycia Hawkins CREDIT Charles Rex Arbogast-AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Earlier this month, Larycia &nbsp;Hawkins began wearing a hijab in a show of solidarity with Muslims. The Wheaton College political science professor posted an explanation on Facebook:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr"><em>&quot;I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,&rdquo; she wrote, adding: &ldquo;As Pope Francis stated last week,<a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.wbez.org/news/do-christians-and-muslims-worship-same-god-114232&amp;sa=U&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjli8Ko3P" target="_blank"> we worship the same God</a>.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">That last remark landed Hawkins -- who is tenured -- in hot water with officials at Wheaton College. At issue is the school&rsquo;s &ldquo;statement of faith,&rdquo; a document written in 1924 by the school&rsquo;s second president, Charles Blanchard.</p><p dir="ltr">The statement of faith lays out guidelines for faculty, as well as school leadership and the student body.</p><p>Hawkins was suspended and put on paid administrative leave. Now, talks to resolve the situation have broken down.</p></p> Wed, 23 Dec 2015 13:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-23/wheaton-professor-talk-next-steps-wbez-114270 Are You an Evangelical? Are You Sure? http://www.wbez.org/news/are-you-evangelical-are-you-sure-114233 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-482319366-e90a11d165d9430ebfbe4b5e1d505af644773c6b-s600-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res459389815"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee courts the religious vote at the Rock Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Manning, South Carolina." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/11/gettyimages-482319366-e90a11d165d9430ebfbe4b5e1d505af644773c6b-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee courts the religious vote at the Rock Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Manning, South Carolina. (The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Here&#39;s what we&#39;ve heard about evangelical voters lately:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/trump-carson-white-house/2015/11/15/id/702235/">Donald Trump, Ben Carson</a>, and now Ted Cruz are fighting for them. Cruz says that a bunch of them are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-evangelicals-swing-2016-for-gop-as-cruz-says-1448905373">&quot;missing&quot;</a>&nbsp;(and that he&#39;s the man to find them). And anyone will tell you that they play a decisive role in Iowa GOP caucuses.</p></div></div></div><p>You can&#39;t talk about a U.S. national election &mdash; especially the Republican side of it &mdash; without a hefty discussion of what evangelicals want. But in the hurry to answer that question, the most basic of questions gets ignored: who are evangelicals? That definition can vary from person to person, or even from pollster to pollster. And at the center of it all is a term that, for all the attention it gets, is remarkably poorly defined.</p><p><strong>How do you define it?</strong></p><p>Here&#39;s how squishy the term &quot;evangelical&quot; is: depending on the method of measurement, more than one-third of Americans are evangelical, or fewer than one-in-10 are.</p><p>That huge range comes from the different ways pollsters and other social scientists define the term. In a lot of surveys, a pollster simply asks people how they identify, often adding on the question of whether someone has been &quot;reborn&quot; as a Christian: &quot;Do you consider yourself an evangelical or born-again Christian?&quot;</p><p>According to the Pew Research Center, around&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/chapter-1-the-changing-religious-composition-of-the-u-s/">35 percent of American adults</a>&nbsp;(that is, roughly half of all Christians) consider themselves evangelical or born-again. So when reporters and politicians talk about &quot;evangelicals,&quot; it can sound like they&#39;re talking about a huge chunk of the population &mdash; more than a third.</p><p>But then, other national political pollsters, like&nbsp;<a href="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2015/images/11/05/relia2.pdf">CNN/ORC</a>, add a modifier onto most of their evangelical polling, focusing on&nbsp;<em>white </em>evangelicals. (And this is the group most pundits are talking about, particularly when it comes to Republican primary politics.)</p><p>The idea, said one survey researcher, is to avoid lumping groups with clearly distinct political ideas into one bucket.</p><p>&quot;White evangelical protestants are some of the most reliably conservative and Republican voters in the electorate,&quot; said Greg Smith, associate director of research at Pew. &quot;African-American protestants, on the other hand, are some of the most strongly and consistently Democratic voters in the electorate.&quot;</p><p>&quot;If you didn&#39;t look at them separately,&quot; he added, &quot;if you lumped them all together, you would miss a big part of the story about the connections and the interrelations of religion, race, and politics in the U.S.&quot;</p><p>Cut that pool of evangelicals or born-agains to white, non-Hispanic evangelical Protestants only, and they account for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/chapter-1-the-changing-religious-composition-of-the-u-s/">19 percent of Americans</a>, according to Pew&#39;s data.</p><p>Beyond self-identification, there are more exacting ways of defining the group. In fact, Pew has two ways of counting evangelicals. In addition to asking people to self-identify, it sometimes uses a denominational system, creating a dividing line between &quot;evangelical&quot; Protestant denominations, like Southern Baptists, and &quot;mainline Protestants,&quot; like Methodists (&quot;historically black&quot; Protestant churches are in a separate category). By this definition, around&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/">25 percent</a>&nbsp;of Americans are evangelical.</p><div id="res459388809"><div><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/evangelicals-20151211/child.html">&nbsp;</p><script src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/evangelicals-20151211/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script></div></div><p>Definitions can get even tighter &mdash; and with them come smaller estimates of evangelicals. The Barna Group, a research firm that specializes in religious issues, uses what may be the toughest definition of evangelicalism out there. It asks a series of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/111-survey-explores-who-qualifies-as-an-evangelical#.Vmr1BhorJPV">nine questions</a>&nbsp;about beliefs (Did Jesus lead a sinless life? Does salvation come from &quot;grace, not works&quot;?). Only 6 percent of Americans are &quot;evangelical&quot; by Barna&#39;s definition, according to their latest count.</p><p><strong>The entanglement between race and religion</strong></p><p>Because political polls often focus on white evangelical voters (which is in turn in part because those evangelicals &mdash; however one defines them &mdash; are such a coveted demographic among GOP voters), white evangelicals end up getting a huge amount of media attention. But that means they can end up being portrayed as the face of evangelicalism, period. Indeed,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/09/25/the-evangelical-vote-the-conservative-vote-the-gop-race-isnt-breaking-down-so-neatly/">articles</a>&nbsp;about this polling sometimes end up conflating white evangelicals with all evangelicals.</p><p>Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, believes that race ends up getting glossed over in the hubbub over the so-called &quot;evangelical vote,&quot; as she said in a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4UqpBnuCvI">February speech</a>.</p><p>&quot;The media does this all the time. You never hear them talk about black evangelicals,&quot; she said. &quot;Watch the 2016 election. When they begin to talk about evangelicals again, they won&#39;t go to Bible-believing black evangelicals. They&#39;re going to talk to white people. I know. I&#39;ve watched them do this, and I have argued with people about this over and over again.&quot;</p><p>Consider an imaginary pair of evangelicals &mdash; one black, one white &mdash; who sit next to each other in the pew every Sunday. They could have the same religious beliefs. But as Smith pointed out, they&#39;re likely to have vastly different political beliefs: the black churchgoer is more likely to vote Democratic, while the white one will lean GOP.</p><p>(Pew&#39;s polling on black Protestants focuses on that group as a whole, not on black evangelicals themselves. But&nbsp;<a href="http://www.people-press.org/2015/04/07/party-identification-trends-1992-2014/">82 percent</a>&nbsp;of attendees at historically black Protestant churches identify as or lean Democratic, according to Pew, and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/59315.png">72 percent</a>&nbsp;of black Protestant churchgoers identify as evangelical or born-again. Clearly, a huge share of black self-identified evangelicals also tend Democratic.)</p><p>All of which means something important: when evangelicalism comes into the U.S. political conversation, it&#39;s often also a conversation about race. The racial discrepancies in the numbers suggest that identifying as &quot;evangelical&quot; doesn&#39;t necessarily make a person more likely to vote Republican.</p><p><strong>The self-definition problem</strong></p><p>The question at issue with measuring evangelicals is the question of what people&#39;s religious beliefs mean for their political views.</p><p>Part of the problem here is that &quot;evangelical&quot; has a muddled definition, even when you strip away the politics and survey research.</p><p>&quot;The term &#39;evangelical&#39; has a very broad set of meanings in Christianity. In its origins, it refers to the evangel, which is a Greek word from the New Testament that refers to the &#39;good news,&#39; or the gospel of Jesus Christ,&quot; said John Green, professor of political science at the University of Akron and an expert in the intersection of politics and religion, in an August interview.</p><p>&quot;In some sense, all Christians have an element of being an evangelical, because they all share to one degree or another those basic Christian beliefs,&quot; he added.</p><p>Still, a few people and groups have tried to lay down some clear borders around evangelicalism. One of the better-known definitions (among religious scholars) comes from&nbsp;<a href="http://nae.net/what-is-an-evangelical/">David Bebbington</a>, a professor of history at Scotland&#39;s University of Stirling, who identifies four key traits of evangelicals. Those are, in turn, similar to&nbsp;<a href="http://nae.net/what-is-an-evangelical/">National Association of Evangelicals</a>&#39; own definition. That definition itself has four parts &mdash; four beliefs that a person must have in order to claim evangelicalism. Under NAE&#39;s rubric, an evangelical believes that the Bible is their &quot;highest authority,&quot; for example, and that it&#39;s important to spread the word to non-Christians.</p><p>That NAE definition is the &quot;most widely accepted definition&quot; of evangelicalism, as the Atlantic&#39;s Jonathan Merritt&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/12/evangelical-christian/418236/">wrote earlier this month.</a></p><p>That&#39;s not how specifically everyone defines their own evangelicalism, though. According to Jocelynn Bailey, who attends Centreville Baptist Church in Centreville, Va., it&#39;s about evangelizing.</p><p>&quot;What I think when I think &#39;evangelical&#39; is, &#39;I have good news about what I believe Jesus did for me on the cross, and I want other people to have that good news and that hope,&#39;&quot; she said, speaking in September. &quot;An evangelical is someone else who desires to share that.&quot;</p><p>One of her fellow parishioners, Tim Lemieux (himself a self-identified evangelical), had a different take about what&#39;s most important for an evangelical.</p><p>&quot;I define evangelical as someone who lives based on the beliefs of God and his authority for his purpose and his desires,&quot; he told NPR in September.</p><p>It&#39;s not that parishioners everywhere are likely to carry the same long, exacting definition in their heads. But Bailey and Lemeiux&#39;s differing definitions are a subtle sign that the meaning of &quot;evangelical&quot; is different from person to person, making it a tough thing to measure.</p><p>&quot;The term &#39;evangelical&#39; is squishy because people use the term differently,&quot; Green said in an email. &quot;This is not uncommon &mdash; think of words like &#39;middle class,&#39; &#39;moderate,&#39; or &#39;extreme.&#39;&quot; (Indeed, in one recent survey,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/3/12/8193113/middle-class-rich-poor">87 percent of Americans</a>&nbsp;saw themselves as some form of &quot;middle class.&quot;)</p><p>Consider that a Catholic could easily believe in spreading his or her faith, as Bailey does, or leading a godly life, like Lemieux does. And, indeed, Catholics will sometimes self-identify as &quot;evangelical,&quot; according to Smith. But by many religious or denominational definitions, Catholics are not evangelicals.</p><p>Even within the confines of Protestantism, &quot;evangelical&quot; does not always mean evangelical. Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America &mdash; the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S. &mdash; are mainline protestants, according to Pew&#39;s denominational definition.</p><p>To add to the confusion, here&#39;s another wrinkle: Missouri and Wisconsin Synod Lutherans&nbsp;are&nbsp;considered evangelical. (Another curveball: they don&#39;t necessarily go to church in Missouri and Wisconsin.)</p><p>There&#39;s one additional problem with the self-definition method, according to David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group.</p><p>&quot;The notion of a survey question asking, &#39;Do you consider yourself to be an evangelical or born-again [Christian]?&#39; offends me as a researcher because it is a double-barreled question,&quot; he told NPR in October. &quot;It has two very vague concepts.&quot;</p><p>He&#39;s not the only social scientist complaining about this: Pew demographer Conrad Hackett has likewise complained about this way of wording the question: it &quot;implies that &#39;born-again&#39; and &#39;evangelical&#39; are interchangeable labels, which may not be true for all respondents,&quot; he&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2008/11/04/the-evangelical-vote-in-question/">wrote in 2008</a>. &quot;It does not offer respondents alternate ways of expressing religious identity, which no doubt inflates estimates of the evangelical population.&quot;</p><p><strong>Politics may be blurring the lens</strong></p><p>You could dismiss this all as pedantry &mdash; that using &quot;evangelicals&quot; as a catch-all term for a certain group of Christians is a harmless shorthand, like calling all tissues Kleenexes or all sodas Coke.</p><p>But then, consider how pollsters and pundits often separate white and black evangelicals based on their political views. That&#39;s one piece of a bigger problem: the degree to which &quot;evangelical&quot; may be becoming redefined by its political associations.</p><p>&quot;While evangelical, in this traditional sense, is really a religious word,&quot; Green said, &quot;it&#39;s become very strongly associated with Republican and conservative politics, because since the days of Ronald Reagan up until today, that group of believers have moved in that direction politically.&quot;</p><p>Indeed, that association has grown stronger in the last couple of decades. In the late 1980s, around one-third of white evangelicals identified as Republican,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/2006/05/02/will-white-evangelicals-desert-the-gop/">according to Pew</a>. Earlier this year,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.people-press.org/2015/04/07/a-deep-dive-into-party-affiliation/">Pew found</a>&nbsp;that 68 percent of white evangelicals do.</p><p>&quot;For the most part, the concept of being an evangelical has been used so much within the last three to four election cycles ... as a key demographic that we find that there&#39;s a lot of perceptions that the term evangelicals means &#39;Christians who vote Republican,&#39;&quot; said Kinnaman.</p><p>That means American culture may be moving toward a mushy, self-reinforcing idea of who evangelicals are. The term becomes not a nuanced religious concept but a flat heuristic for the idea of &quot;politically conservative Christians.&quot; If this is indeed how some Americans view evangelicalism, their responses to pollsters would border on meaningless &mdash; at least, in terms of measuring the relationship between religion and political leanings.</p><p>&quot;It may very well be that when people hear those words, if they have conservative perspectives, they may feel, &#39;That&#39;s my group, maybe I identify with that group,&#39; whereas that may not be an accurate measure of their religion,&quot; Green said.</p><p><strong>So why measure?</strong></p><p>1976 was the first year Gallup asked Americans if they had been &quot;born again,&quot; as Hackett wrote in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.conradhackett.com/uploads/2/6/7/2/2672974/measuring_evangelicalism.pdf">a 2008 paper</a>. The organization&#39;s measurement methods varied over the next decade, but in 1986, the organization first asked the &quot;born-again or evangelical&quot; question that it uses today.</p><p>Over that time, self-proclaimed born-again Christians and evangelicals helped reshape the political landscape. In 1976, the born-again former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter was elected to the White House. After that, political interest in evangelicals and born-again Christians remained, but Rev. Pat Robertson&#39;s 1988 second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses in particular made it clear that white evangelicals were swinging Republican. Outspoken Christians like George W. Bush continued the trend of winning over these conservative Christians, and targeting those voters is still a key campaign strategy for politicians like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.</p><p>Green acknowledges that it&#39;s a hard term to pin down, but he believes there&#39;s real value in studying evangelicals.</p><p>&quot;A lack of common definition doesn&#39;t mean that the realities behind these terms are unimportant &mdash; just that measuring the realities is challenging,&quot; Green added. &quot;Behind these definition issues are real groups of people with distinctive values and behaviors. The trick is how to define measure the group of people accurately.&quot;</p><p>Still, as with the term &quot;middle class,&quot; it&#39;s possible that people&#39;s self-definition is so clouded that it&#39;s obscuring what&#39;s really going on in the intersection between American religion and politics.</p><p>And Kinnaman believes there is one other danger in the range of measures of evangelicalism out there &mdash; the more ways there are to measure this group of people, the more opportunities there are for spin.</p><p>&quot;For different purposes I have found that evangelical leaders might say, &#39;We&#39;re so small and such a small minority, and we&#39;re overlooked, and woe is us,&#39; and other times they might say, &#39;Don&#39;t forget about us! We&#39;re huge and we&#39;re as many as a quarter or 40 percent of the population,&#39;&quot; Kinnaman said. &quot;It&#39;s easy to be elastic about these numbers when they suit our purposes.&quot;</p><p>The most obvious lesson from any of this is that political reporters and readers need to know what they&#39;re looking at when they&#39;re reading news about &quot;evangelicals.&quot; Green and Smith both agree on this point &mdash; because surveys can be done a few different ways, those paying close attention to the results need to know that &quot;evangelicals&quot; are not always evangelicals.</p><p>&quot;From a certain point of view, any kind of information is probably better than nothing, but we have to be very careful when we interpret these findings,&quot; Green said.</p><p>Of course, to Christian voters themselves, the term itself isn&#39;t what matters; it&#39;s how politicians relate to them. Just as &quot;evangelical&quot; has been reduced in some political rhetoric to &quot;conservative Christian,&quot; some self-identified evangelicals fear being treated as one-dimensional Bible-thumpers.</p><p>For her part, Jocelynn Bailey&#39;s top issues include national defense and her self-described constructionist view of the Constitution. And based on those issues, she says Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is currently her top choice as a presidential candidate. So when she hears that a particular politician is courting the &quot;evangelical vote,&quot; she bristles.</p><p>&quot;It frustrates me, to be honest, because I think that I&#39;m more than just that,&quot; Bailey says. &quot;Certainly that flavors the way I would vote, but I want them to tell me who they are, and all of who they are, not just the stuff that they think I might want to hear.&quot;</p><p>She added, &quot;My vote is about more than my faith.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/19/458058251/are-you-an-evangelical-are-you-sure?ft=nprml&amp;f=458058251"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Sun, 20 Dec 2015 22:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/are-you-evangelical-are-you-sure-114233 Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? http://www.wbez.org/news/do-christians-and-muslims-worship-same-god-114232 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap_201512162312040000-009a30b459e4abc66b658ff3e2078a2e048b2f46-s1200.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res460486751" previewtitle="Pope Francis said Christians and Muslims worship the same God — but not everyone agrees."><div><div>Larycia Hawkins, a professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-17/wheaton-professor-suspended-over-stance-islam-114200" target="_blank">decided to wear a head scarf during the Advent season</a> as a gesture of solidarity with Muslims. In doing so,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/larycia/posts/10153326773658481">Hawkins quoted Pope Francis</a>, saying that Christians and Muslims &quot;worship the same God.&quot;</div></div></div><p>But some evangelical Christians disagree &mdash; and Wheaton, a Christian school,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/18/460312256/evangelical-college-suspends-professor-for-showing-solidarity-with-muslims">responded by putting</a>&nbsp;the political science professor on paid administrative leave. The college says it needs time to review whether her statement puts her at odds with the faith perspective required of those who work there.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/460312256/460312257" title="NPR embedded audio player" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The case also raises some big questions of theology.</p><div>Most mainstream Muslims would generally agree they worship the same God that Christians &mdash; or Jews &mdash; worship. Zeki Saritoprak, a professor of Islamic Studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, points out that in the Quran there&#39;s the Biblical story of Jacob asking his sons whom they&#39;ll worship after his death.</div><p>&quot;Jacob&#39;s sons replied, &#39;We will worship the God of your fathers&#39; &mdash; Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac. He is the God,&quot; Saritoprak says. &quot;So this God that Jacob worshipped, this God that Abraham, Isaac worshipped, is the same God that Muslims worship today.&quot;</p><p>Christians, however, believe in a triune God: God the father, God the son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. And many evangelicals will say that means Muslims and Jews do not worship the same god as as Christians.</p><p>&quot;The question basically comes down to whether one can reject Jesus Christ as the Son and truly know God the Father,&quot; says Albert Mohler, president of the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjRwsiHluvJAhUJWT4KHWBCCdAQFggdMAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sbts.edu%2F&amp;usg=AFQjCNH5ZdIbGewSHcNrvqURKzZyc2VA4g&amp;sig2=z71sPLUIBCt5So-2DfjYYw&amp;bvm=bv.110151844,d.cWw">Southern Baptist Theological Seminary</a>. &quot;And it&#39;s Christ himself who answered that question, most classically in the Gospel of John, and he said that to reject the Son means that one does not know the Father.&quot;</p><p>But Christians themselves differ on this question.&nbsp;</p><div><img alt="Pope Francis said Christians and Muslims worship the same God — but not everyone agrees." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/20/istock_000003109511_large_wide-fe00e9894f52538af036aa0ffab55fd1a6113493-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Pope Francis said Christians and Muslims worship the same God — but not everyone agrees. (iStockphoto)" /></div><p>The Second Vatican Council, speaking to Catholics back in 1964, affirmed that Muslims &quot;together with us adore the one, merciful God.&quot; And Amy Plantinga Pauw, a professor of Christian theology at Louisville Seminary, says Christians can have their own definition of God while still seeing commonality with Muslims and Jews.</p><p>&quot;To say that we worship the same God is not the same as insisting that we have an agreed and shared understanding of God,&quot; Pauw says.</p><p>One theologian with knowledge of both Christian and Islamic doctrine is Hamza Yusuf, president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, Calif., the first Muslim liberal arts college in the U.S. Born Mark Hanson, he was raised as a Christian and then converted to Islam. He quotes the Quran as saying that God is immeasurable, so to define God in some particular way is impossible.</p><p>&quot;God is much greater than anything we can imagine,&quot; Yusuf says. &quot;The Muslims have a statement in our theology: Whatever you imagine God to be, God is other than that.&quot;</p><p>At&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lpts.edu/">Louisville Seminary</a>, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, Pauw says she&#39;s preparing her students for Christian ministries that are likely to involve work with people of other faith traditions and she says she&#39;d like them to remember that no religious community can claim God&#39;s favor.</p><p>&quot;No one is in a position of saying, &#39;Well, we know exactly how God works in the world, and my particular group has a monopoly on that,&#39; &quot; Pauw says.</p><p>She adds: &quot;There are certainly Muslims who will say that. There are certainly Christians who will say that. But it&#39;s out of my own Christian conviction that I think we have to approach these issues with a kind of humility and kind of generosity toward others, because God&#39;s ways are not our ways.&quot;</p><p>In&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wheaton.edu/Media-Center/Media-Relations/Statements/Wheaton-College-Statement-Regarding-Dr-Hawkins">its statement</a>&nbsp;about Professor Hawkins&#39; view that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, Wheaton College emphasizes its rejection of religious prejudice and its commitment to treat and speak about neighbors with love and respect, as Jesus commanded people to do. But, the statement says, &quot;our compassion must be infused with theological clarity.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/20/460480698/do-christians-and-muslims-worship-the-same-god?ft=nprml&amp;f=460480698" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Sun, 20 Dec 2015 22:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/do-christians-and-muslims-worship-same-god-114232 Wheaton Professor Suspended over Stance on Islam http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-17/wheaton-professor-suspended-over-stance-islam-114200 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/wheaton college flickr Stevan Sheets.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Wheaton College this week suspended an associate professor who&rsquo;s been wearing a headscarf to show her solidarity with Muslims who face discrimination.</p><p>Dr. Larycia Hawkins says she&rsquo;ll wear the hijab every day until Christmas to live out her Christian faith.</p><p>The Evangelical school says its <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/christian-college-professor-wearing-hijab-put-leave-114190" target="_blank">decision to place her on administrative leave </a>is not about the headscarf, but rather comments she made on her Facebook page.</p><p>In particular, a post in which Hawkins said Christians and Muslims worship the same God.</p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Odette Yousef </a>joins us with the details.</p></p> Thu, 17 Dec 2015 12:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-17/wheaton-professor-suspended-over-stance-islam-114200 Unbelief as a Belief System: Core Tenet for Christians' Fight for Religious Rights http://www.wbez.org/news/unbelief-belief-system-core-tenet-christians-fight-religious-rights-114186 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-52263955-058a4496c17ce65e641df6c852f4602a9a573bff.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res459703647" previewtitle="Activists hold posters during a March 2005 rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to support separation of church and state. The court heard two cases regarding whether Ten Commandments monuments should be displayed on government properties."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Activists hold posters during a March 2005 rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to support separation of church and state. The court heard two cases regarding whether Ten Commandments monuments should be displayed on government properties." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/14/gettyimages-52263955_custom-efa44954e7fe101f607569b5c0fd15eaec34cf95-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Activists hold posters during a March 2005 rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to support separation of church and state. The court heard two cases regarding whether Ten Commandments monuments should be displayed on government properties. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Christian conservatives who are battling for the right to promote their faith in public or official settings see themselves locked in an epic contest with a rival religion. But that rival isn&#39;t Islam. It&#39;s secularism.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;Secularism and Christianity are distinct, immutable religions,&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.charismanews.com/politics/opinion/52031-to-retake-america-we-must-defeat-her-false-religion">writes David Lane</a>, founder of the&nbsp;<a href="http://theamericanrenewalproject.org/">American Renewal Project</a>, a group he organized to promote more political participation by conservative pastors. &quot;Secularism advances the fundamental goodness of human nature, where historic Christianity sets forth a pessimistic view of human nature.&quot;</p><p>The notion that secularism can be seen as a religion is ridiculed by many nonreligious people, but Lane and other Christian conservatives have their own Supreme Court hero to back them up: the late Justice Potter Stewart, who served on the court from 1958 to 1981.</p><div id="res459692906" previewtitle="The late Justice Potter Stewart, who served on the Supreme Court from 1958 to 1981. Stewart was the lone dissenter in a 1963 decision banning Bible readings in public schools."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The late Justice Potter Stewart, who served on the Supreme Court from 1958 to 1981. Stewart was the lone dissenter in a 1963 decision banning Bible readings in public schools." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/14/ap_6705110119_custom-bb000d47d68e18f6c1257c03534da43b692abd38-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 451px; width: 620px;" title="The late Justice Potter Stewart, who served on the Supreme Court from 1958 to 1981. Stewart was the lone dissenter in a 1963 decision banning Bible readings in public schools. (Charles Tasnadi/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>The lone dissenter in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1962/142">School District of Abington Township v. Schempp</a>, a 1963 Supreme Court decision that banned Bible readings in public schools, Stewart argued that prohibiting such religious exercises put religion in &quot;an artificial and state-created disadvantage.&quot; Such a ban, Stewart said, &quot;is seen, not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p><strong>Defining Secularism And Its Relation To The State</strong></p><p>That view of secularism as a religion has since become a key part of the conservative argument against a strict separation of church and state. It suggests that when government authorities ban prayers or Bible readings or Nativity scenes on public property or in official settings, it isn&#39;t avoiding the appearance of state support for religion, it&#39;s unfairly favoring one faith tradition over another.</p><p>In 1984,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=39565">President Ronald Reagan cited Stewart&#39;s dissent</a>&nbsp;in arguing for a constitutional amendment authorizing school prayer.</p><p>A secular viewpoint is normally understood as one that excludes religious references, so Stewart&#39;s claim is controversial, even among some people of faith.</p><p>&quot;Secularism is a way you look at the relation between government and religion,&quot; says Barry Lynn, a Christian minister who also directs Americans United for Separation of Church and State. &quot;If you say religion should keep its hands off government and government should keep its hands off religion, that to me is what a secularist is. You can have any or no theological beliefs backing that up.&quot;</p><p>Some scholars nevertheless say some advocates of secularism do have their own worldview and belief system. Among them is Robert George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a leading lay Catholic intellectual.</p><p>&quot;I don&#39;t think there really can be any question that there are forms of secularism, including some that are very prominent today in universities and other elite sectors of our society &mdash; belief systems that are comprehensive views &mdash; that function in people&#39;s lives the way that religions function in the lives of traditional religious believers,&quot; George says.</p><p>Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission at the Southern Baptist Convention, goes further.</p><p>&quot;In some virulent forms of secularism, you have a moral code that is being imposed [that] often comes with the force of penalty of law,&quot; he says. &quot;It acts as a religion in terms of demanding conformity and seeking out heretics.&quot;</p><p>Recent polling by the Pew Research Center suggests that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewforum.org/2015/11/03/u-s-public-becoming-less-religious/">secular attitudes are gaining strength in the United States</a>, with fewer Americans saying they pray daily or attend church regularly.</p><p>But can secularism really be considered a religion?</p><p><strong>Unpacking What It Means To Be Secular</strong></p><p>No way, says sociology professor Phil Zuckerman of Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. He specializes in the study of &quot;nonreligious&quot; people.</p><p>&quot;To me, what makes religion religion is the supernatural beliefs,&quot; he says. &quot;So a scientist who is gazing out at the universe and trying to make sense of it by looking at facts, physical properties, material reality, is not engaging in religion. The person who looks out at the universe and thinks there&#39;s a magic deity behind it is engaging in religion.&quot;</p><div id="res459691666" previewtitle="Phil Zuckerman speaks to his class at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. Zuckerman specializes in the study of &quot;nonreligious&quot; people."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Phil Zuckerman speaks to his class at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. Zuckerman specializes in the study of &quot;nonreligious&quot; people." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/14/zuckerman-pitzer_custom-ebf8764ae80c3a3cf8cd6a5926ec8571f3db1ef3-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Phil Zuckerman speaks to his class at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. Zuckerman specializes in the study of &quot;nonreligious&quot; people. (Scott Phillips/Courtesy of Pitzer College)" /></div><div><div><p>At Pitzer, Zuckerman has founded an academic program in&nbsp;<a href="http://catalog.pitzer.edu/preview_entity.php?catoid=3&amp;ent_oid=153&amp;returnto=171">Secular Studies</a>, the first of its kind in the country.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;We need to unpack what it means to be secular,&quot; Zuckerman tells his students in a recent class on the sociology of secularism. &quot;There is so much diversity and so many ways to be secular.&quot;</p><p>One of Zuckerman&#39;s students, Chance Kawar, says in an interview that his &quot;nonreligious&quot; identity stemmed in part from his experience in a Boy Scout troop sponsored by a local Catholic parish in San Diego. As a teenager, Kawar says, he realized he was gay.</p><p>&quot;There was a lot of name-calling and bullying, and I actually got kicked out of the organization,&quot; he says. &quot;That was a very traumatic experience for me, not being welcomed by this religious community because of my sexual orientation. It was certainly a big turnoff for me in terms of religion.&quot;</p><p><strong>Finding Acceptance Among The Nonreligious</strong></p><p>Not all of Zuckerman&#39;s students are anti-religion, however. April Forrest, a 30-year-old single mother who is finishing her college education, notes during a class discussion that not all Christian churches are as judgmental as they are sometimes portrayed to be.</p><p>&quot;You do find ones where it is about love and trying to make the world a better place and being more like God,&quot; she says, &quot;which would be like being as good as you can be.&quot;</p><div id="con459689220" previewtitle="related stories"><div id="res459688653">In a paper she wrote for Zuckerman, Forrest argued that God should not be blamed for bad things that happen.</div></div><p>&quot;I believe in a loving God,&quot; she wrote. &quot;I know that life isn&#39;t perfect. I watched my mother&#39;s battle with drug addiction and depression. I&#39;ve seen my father in and out of jail ... I saw my uncle die of AIDS. ... At 23, I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. I struggle every day to do regular tasks. But I still believe.&quot;</p><p>In a personal note to Zuckerman that she added to the paper, Forrest wrote, &quot;I&#39;m sure you have a lot to say back to this. Actually, I&#39;m a little worried.&quot;</p><p>In an interview, she admits to fearing that Zuckerman and her Pitzer classmates might think less of her because of her religious views.</p><p>&quot;I guess there was a concern being here, where there is a culture of secularity,&quot; she says. &quot;I am aware that I&#39;m a little different in believing in God.&quot;</p><p>But Forrest found Zuckerman to be wholly respectful of her views. In an interview, he says he understands how people with religious convictions may feel out of place in some secular settings.</p><p>&quot;I had a Mormon student burst into tears in my own office, saying she felt so alienated, put down, mocked, criticized,&quot; Zuckerman says. &quot;So there&#39;s no question that in really secular enclaves like Pitzer College or Berkeley, if you&#39;re a student of faith, you&#39;re going to be made to feel defensive. You&#39;re going to be made to feel less intelligent, and that&#39;s definitely a problem.&quot;</p><p><strong>Secularists Not Dominating Cultural Landscape</strong></p><p>Such cultural conflicts are what lead some conservatives to allege the spread of &quot;anti-Christian bigotry&quot; in America. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said in a recent speech that &quot;secular progressives&quot; are among those in America &quot;<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/ben-carson-liberty-university-215760">trying to push God out of our lives</a>.&quot;</p><p>But Zuckerman, the author of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Living-Secular-Life-Answers-Questions/dp/0143127934/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1449685967&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=Living+the+Secular+Life">Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions</a>, vigorously disputes such generalizations.</p><p>&quot;I can tell you from my research that in certain parts of this country, nonbelievers are certainly not the ones dominating the cultural landscape,&quot; he says. &quot;If someone is not churchgoing, people are suspicious of them. Prayers are said at the Little League games. I&#39;ve interviewed so many [secular] parents in the Bible Belt whose children are teased on the schoolyard and taunted that they&#39;re going to go to hell.&quot;</p><p>Zuckerman has data to back up his assertion that secularists are not a favored group. In a 2014 Pew survey where people were asked to rate 23 possible presidential traits,<a href="http://www.people-press.org/2014/05/19/for-2016-hopefuls-washington-experience-could-do-more-harm-than-good/">&quot;atheist&quot; came in dead last</a>. The share of respondents who said they were &quot;less likely&quot; to support an atheist for president had declined by 8 points since 2007, but it remained the least attractive trait a candidate could have, ranking far below using marijuana, having had an extramarital affair or being homosexual.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/14/458969716/unbelief-as-a-belief-system-core-tenet-for-christians-fight-for-religious-rights?ft=nprml&amp;f=458969716" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 16 Dec 2015 13:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/unbelief-belief-system-core-tenet-christians-fight-religious-rights-114186 Being Muslim in America Today http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-15/being-muslim-america-today-114168 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/islam flickr Rudy Herman.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks and at a time where some Republican presidential candidates have made strong anti-Islamic statements, what is it like to be a Muslim in America?</p><p>We talk with Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago officer of<a href="https://twitter.com/cairchicago"> CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.&nbsp;</a></p></p> Tue, 15 Dec 2015 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-15/being-muslim-america-today-114168