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Catholicism still emerges in Europe’s political races, but at the margins

Catholicism still emerges in Europe’s political races, but at the margins
Written by Sam Marshall on 2017-02-09


IN THE Europe of 2017, can there be such a thing as a Catholic political leader? That seems like a topical question in a year when the European Union is being shaken to its foundations and at least three European democracies (France, Germany, the Netherlands) face elections in which issues of culture and identity loom large.Before even thinking about the matter, it is...(Read More)

How the travel crackdown is affecting North American debate on Islam

How the travel crackdown is affecting North American debate on Islam
Written by Sam Marshall on 2017-02-03


AMIR AHMAD NASR is about as pro-Western as anyone born deep inside the world of Islam could possibly be. Born to Sudanese parents whose professional lives took them to many countries, he is bilingual in Arabic and American English. He believes passionately in liberal democracy and the free exchange of ideas. He has no patience with those who think that authoritarian systems...(Read More)

Why Koran readings in Anglican churches preoccupy the mighty

Why Koran readings in Anglican churches preoccupy the mighty
Written by Sam Marshall on 2017-01-28


IS IT appropriate to read from the Koran during worship in a Christian church? This month, people close to America’s new head of state, and spiritual advisers to Britain’s long-standing one, have been forced to consider that question.It started on January 6th at an Episcopal cathedral in Glasgow when a Muslim student was invited to read from her faith’s sacred text, and duly chanted...(Read More)

Why some religions, like the Mormons, sing

Why some religions, like the Mormons, sing
Written by Sam Marshall on 2017-01-22


IF YOU know anything at all about the Mormons, you probably know that they sing and play great, homely American music. So in Donald Trump’s gradual self-transformation from noisy outsider to comfortable dweller in the corridors of supreme power, getting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to perform at his swearing-in was an important milestone. They are an august national institution. They helped...(Read More)

A president with a feel for the spiritual who was hated by the pious

A president with a feel for the spiritual who was hated by the pious
Written by Sam Marshall on 2017-01-16


AMERICA is saying goodbye to a president whose spiritual life presents an extraordinary paradox. Barack Obama was loathed, almost literally demonised by many God-fearing people, who felt that his policies over reproductive rights, same-sex marriage and stem-cell research were something much worse than mistaken. A remarkable number of his compatriots persisted in believing that he was a crypto-Muslim....(Read More)

Fighting climate change may need stories, not just data

Fighting climate change may need stories, not just data
Written by Sam Marshall on 2017-01-09


ALEX EVANS is a development wonk with an engaging streak of vulnerability. As an adviser on poor-world economics to Tony Blair’s government in Britain, and then a co-organiser of a UN climate-change summit, he has seen first-hand the waves of optimism and pessimism that have washed over the inner circle of politicians and bureaucrats with an interest in cooling the planet. He sensed the eager...(Read More)

Donald Trump will be prayed into office by mavericks and mainstreamers

Donald Trump will be prayed into office by mavericks and mainstreamers
Written by Sam Marshall on 2017-01-03


AS ERASMUS has remarked before, there are countries (like England and Denmark) which have state churches but relatively little religious input in public policy; and there are other democracies, like America, which formally bar the establishment of any faith but nonetheless have a powerful "civil religion" which somehow invests important national events with an air of the transcendent. Presidential...(Read More)

Ever since the first Christmas, people have bickered over its meaning

Ever since the first Christmas, people have bickered over its meaning
Written by Sam Marshall on 2016-12-28


SOME Christmas rituals have an ancient pedigree. One of them is clerical scoldings. At least since Chrisitanity's fourth century, priests of that faith have been deploring the revelry that distracts people from spiritual contemplation. As Mark Forsyth, a British author of popular history, observes in a jaunty new book, “A Christmas Cornucopia”, “Christmas has for sixteen hundred years been...(Read More)

Syria’s tragedy could poison inter-faith relations

Syria’s tragedy could poison inter-faith relations
Written by Sam Marshall on 2016-12-22


RASHAD ALI is a British Sunni Muslim who devotes most of his life to combating extremism and urging young co-religionists to reject the siren voices of jihadism. At the risk of making himself unpopular with some members of his community, he actively assists the government’s efforts to counter hard-line Islamism. He works mostly in his own country but also follows the Muslim scene in many other...(Read More)





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