At conference, US marries religion to human rights

The second-annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom has successfully encouraged a growing number of governments to pay attention to the issue and created an alliance on international religious freedom policy. But critics worry how successful those plans and statements can be, and what is motivating the Trump administration.

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Religious freedom has never drawn a bigger crowd (from all walks of faith)

(COMMENTARY) The U.S. State Department’s second annual Ministerial on religious freedom drew over 1,000 official invitees and many more for side events.

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How a growing evangelical Christian community in Latin America could threaten democracy

The book Evangelicals and Power in Latin America attempts to explain how the rise in evangelical voters will affect power and politics, human rights and the future of democracy in Latin America.

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Former Times bureau chief investigates rash of French church vandalism

A recent piece posted to Real Clear Investigations takes a deep dive into the trend of church vandalism in France, quantifying it with anecdotes, lots of data and interviews with people in the know. The reporting sheds a spotlight on the attacks and may be one of the best reported pieces on what’s been going on there by any news organization to date.

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South Asia's cradle of Sufism is losing its traditional music

Kashmiri classical music, which blends Sufi traditions from Persia with Indian classical music, is facing threat of extinction as fewer students have leisure or funds to study the art form and fewer maestros exist to teach them. Its musicians believe the genre could bring peace to the army-occupied region, following the ways of Sufi mystics who preached peace, tolerance, pluralism and universalism.

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Franklin Graham's charity is mobilizing aid to the U.S.-Mexico border

Samaritan’s Purse, the poverty and crisis relief organization known for sending millions of shoeboxes to orphans every Christmas, has said it is mobilizing resources to alleviate the U.S.-Mexico border crisis. The announcement came 10 days after Christian singer Nichole Nordeman wrote an open letter to Graham in the Washington Post.

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In Kashmir, pilgrimages diffuse Hindu-Muslim tensions

This month, thousands of Indian Hindu pilgrims are visiting the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir — a region of armed conflict between Kashmiri Muslim militants and Indian security officials — to pray at the Amarnath cave and shrine. Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims are setting up shops and travel businesses to accommodate them.

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Reporters need help from canon lawyers to explain California’s confession bill

(COMMENTARY) Religious freedom, an old-school liberal issue now largely taken up by conservatives, is often lost in mainstream news coverage. Lost in this coverage is an issue of such importance to Roman Catholics, that it may very well be the biggest fallout to come from years of clerical sex abuse when it comes to how it affects the law.

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Ideological fight club as a millennial religion

(COMMENTARY) We often hear discussion about whether religion causes violence or makes the world more violent. But maybe we should discuss if, in the absence of true religion, violence can become a religion?  

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Duterte’s moral crusade against drugs is targeting the Catholic Church

(NEWS ANALYSIS) Rodrigo Duterte has wasted no time going after clergy, particularly when the church began opposing his human rights record. His bloody war against drugs has shocked the church, but has been met largely with approval from his supporters.

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Why India is trying to criminalize instant divorce for Muslim men

A bill to ban triple talaq, or Islamic instant divorce, is creating controversy in India. The bill could be unconstitutional in two ways: it would criminalize only Muslim men for deserting their wives and it trumps so-called personal laws meant to provide religious freedom in civil matters like marriage.

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Are you 'spiritual but not religious'? There's a church for that
A peek inside the restoration of New York’s historic Trinity Church

As Americans gather to celebrate Independence Day, it is worth remembering that historic Trinity Church in New York City played a significant role in the birth of America and remains the burial site of several Founding Fathers, including Alexander Hamilton.

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Christians seek new audiences with graphic novels

Christian comic book fans see biblical influences on the origin stories of popular superheroes like Superman, Spider-Man and the Silver Surfer. Meanwhile, Christian publishers are getting into the graphic novel genre.

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