religious beliefs

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Student Forced to Wash Ashes Off Forehead in Front of Class

Teacher who called cross inappropriate apologizes

(Newser) - A Utah teacher is on administrative leave after she made a 9-year-old Catholic student wash off the Ash Wednesday cross from his forehead. Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams said Thursday that fourth-grade teacher Moana Patterson won't be teaching as the district investigates, the AP reports. Karen Fisher says... More »

5 Most, Least Religious US States

New Hampshire is where Americans are least religious, Mississippi the most

(Newser) - Being able to freely turn to whatever higher power one chooses (or none at all) is one of the principles America was founded on, but in some states, residents take their religion more seriously than others. A Pew Research Center survey from 2014 was placed under the 24/7 Wall St.... More »

Almost Everyone Thinks Atheists Are the Worst

'Atheists are broadly perceived as potentially morally depraved and dangerous': study

(Newser) - When given a hypothetical scenario describing a fictional character who progresses from torturing animals as a child to murdering homeless people as an adult, most people assume that this person is an atheist—and that includes atheists themselves. That's what researchers at the University of Kentucky in Lexington are... More »

Indian Top Court to Rule on Muslim Divorce With 3 Words

Men have to say 'talaq' 3 times and they're officially free; women say that's discriminatory

(Newser) - Although the Koran spells out how a Muslim couple's divorce should be handled—Islamic experts say it's to be spread out over three months so the couple can gauge if it's really the best decision—a more modern-day divorce tactic is now being examined by India's... More »

Woman's Abrupt Hyper-Religiosity Has Medical Cause

Patient already believed in God, so it wasn't a 'case of religious conversion'

(Newser) - Her friends and family felt something was wrong: The Spanish woman went from simply believing in God to believing she was seeing and talking with the Virgin Mary. And that's not all. The 60-year-old abruptly shifted from being happy and positive to sad and withdrawn, reports Live Science . Suspecting... More »

NYPD Cops Get OK to Sport Turbans, Beards for Religion

Both Sikh and Muslim officers have pushed for policy change

(Newser) - The NYPD announced Wednesday it has revised policy so that police officers can now sport beards and turbans if called for by their religion, the New York Times reports. Per NBC New York , officers must get the green light before showing up for work with either, but once they get... More »

After New Mom's Death, Jehovah's Witnesses Take Heat

Eloise Dupuis, 27, died of a hemorrhage after she refused blood transfusion

(Newser) - Jehovah's Witnesses are defending their ban on blood transfusions after the death of a new mom in Quebec this month. Family members of Eloise Dupuis, 27, say she was influenced to decline a potentially lifesaving blood transfusion after a bedside visit by a "hospital liaison committee" of Jehovah'... More »

Why Food Vendors in Malaysia Have to Rename Hot Dogs

Government tells Auntie Anne's that 'dog' can't be in product name if it wants halal certification

(Newser) - What's in a name? In Malaysia, a heck of a lot when it comes to hot dogs. Per the BBC , the country's Islamic Development Department has told food vendors in the mostly Muslim nation that if they want a halal designation (meaning food items have been given the... More »

Teen Dies After 68-Day Fast, Family Faces Homicide Charges

13-year-old Aradhana Samdariya was taking part in ancient religious ritual

(Newser) - For more than two months, a 13-year-old in India took part in an extreme religious fast, reports the BBC . Early this month she called off that fast, but she fell into a coma two days later and died of cardiac arrest on Oct. 4—and now her parents, well-off jewelers... More »

Georgia Passes Anti-Gay Bill, May Face Economic Backlash

Churches, pastors could refuse to serve same-sex couples

(Newser) - Gay rights advocates say discrimination could soon be legal in Georgia if Gov. Nathan Deal signs a bill now on his desk. The controversial Religious Liberty Bill—which would allow churches and pastors to refuse to serve same-sex couples, at least in theory—passed the Georgia legislature late Wednesday, reports... More »

11 Least Religious Cities in the US

Yup, Sin City makes the list

(Newser) - Haven't yet found God and don't plan to? You might feel right at home in Portland, San Francisco, or Seattle. Those are the least religious cities in the country, according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute picked up by MarketWatch . Here are the 11... More »

America Might Be Ready for an Atheist President

New Republic essay thinks another political taboo is poised to fall

(Newser) - A Politico Magazine story sounds a pessimistic note about the prospects for an atheist president, noting that Barney Frank came out as gay 25 years ago but waited until after his political retirement to announce that he was a non-believer. But at the New Republic , Isaac Chotiner finds "surprising... More »

Texas A&M Bill Threatens Funds for Gay Group

Student senate passes measure allowing students to opt out on religious grounds

(Newser) - If the Texas A&M student senate has its way, the university's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Resource Center could soon find itself lacking funds. The senate last night passed the Religious Funding Exemption Bill, which allows students to opt out of paying student fees that fund university services... More »

Good Friday Dancing Ban Has Germany in a Twist

But some Germans say one-day ban small price for tradition

(Newser) - No, the "Tanzverbot" isn't the latest German dance craze. It's quite the opposite: the decades-old law that bans all organized dancing in Germany on Good Friday and other religious holidays. And with church attendance falling around Germany, its citizens are increasingly calling for the ban to be... More »

Across the Globe, 1 in 6 Unaffiliated With a Religion

New study sheds light on global religious practices

(Newser) - The third-largest "religious" group in the world isn't actually affiliated with a religion: A new Pew study finds one in six people across the globe don't follow any particular religion. Thus, the "unaffiliated" make up 16% of the world population, or about the same percentage as... More »

Belief in Heaven, Hell Alters Crime Rates

Believers in heaven more likely to be unlawful: study

(Newser) - If God is going to let you off easy, why not commit the crime? That sums up the findings of a study by two US professors who say that countries with a belief in hell have lower crime rates than those with a greater belief in heaven, the Daily Mail ... More »

Atheists 'Scrub Away' Blessing on Highway

Florida non-believers wash road blessed by Polk Under Prayer

(Newser) - Atheists in central Florida scrubbed a major highway this weekend to symbolically wash away holy water left behind by Christians, Bay News 9 reports. Armed with mops, brooms, and hoses, they washed down a road on the Pasco-Polk county line that had been anointed last year by a group called... More »

Godless on the Rise

Religion in politics a sign of fear and dwindling numbers, not strength, says expert

(Newser) - Evangelicals might appear to be everywhere in American politics, but the number of believers is falling, according to studies. Agnostics and atheists are among the fastest-growing segment in the US, reports the Guardian . The number of secular Americans has likely doubled in the last three decades, and has grown especially... More »

Malaysia: Woman Can't Quit Islam

Court refuses to grant 'teapot cultist' permission to change religion

(Newser) - Kamariah Ali may consider herself a member of the Sky Kingdom sect—known as the "teapot cult"—but she is a Muslim under the law, a Malaysian civil court has decided. The court rejected the 60-year-old woman's request to leave Islam to avoid being jailed for apostasy,... More »

Religion to Die Out in 9 Nations

Mathematical model points to extinction in Australia, Austria, Ireland

(Newser) - Religion is bound for extinction in nine nations where it's already in decline, according to researchers using mathematical models. The researchers applied the principle of "nonlinear dynamics" to census data from the countries—Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland—and predicted... More »

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