Feminism In Faith: Four Women Who Are Revolutionizing Organized Religion • Behind the numbers: Religious ‘nones’ may not be who you think they are • For Hateful Comic in France, Muzzle Becomes a Megaphone • Anti-Muslim speakers still popular in law enforcement training • Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality
Last week’s top news, from our perspective:
The first publicly ordained Orthodox Jewish female rabbi; an attorney leading the campaign to ordain Mormon women; a nun whose career was threatened for daring to question the Virgin Mary as a symbol of subservience; a Muslim journalist whose organization is re-translating the Qur’an’s most controversial verse. Bringing change to institutions entrenched in centuries of tradition takes a very specific kind of fighting spirit.
In recent surveys, the religious “nones” — as in, “none of the above” — appear to lead in the faith marketplace. In fact, “none” could soon be the dominant label U.S. adults pick when asked to describe their religious identity.
But they may not be who you think they are. Today, “nones” include many more unbranded believers than atheists, and an increasingly diverse racial and ethnic mix.
Thirty-eight times in recent years the French authorities have charged the comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala with violating anti-hate laws. The government has urged cities and towns to ban his performances, and some have done so, canceling his sold-out shows. Senior officials have condemned him as an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier who is inciting hatred.
Yet the campaign against him shows few signs of succeeding. Not only has he escaped conviction in many of the cases brought against him or, at worst, had to pay fines, he has easily circumvented limits on his public appearances via the Internet and social media. One of his videos, posted just in February, a riposte to the Interior Ministry and specifically Manuel Valls, the interior minister, received almost two million views in the first week it was up.
While Muslim-American activists and media reports have raised awareness about anti-Muslim trainers, occasionally resulting in curriculum reviews and canceled classes, many say the problem persists because there are too few police administrators to properly vet courses and instructors.
The consequences, critics add, go beyond political incorrectness and include undermining public safety and obscuring real dangers as police officers chase bad leads based on profiling.
Many people around the world think it is necessary to believe in God to be a moral person, according to surveys in 40 countries by the Pew Research Center. However, this view is more common in poorer countries than in wealthier ones.
In 22 of the 40 countries surveyed, clear majorities say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values.