Religion

Sarah Boden/IPR

More than 130 Iowa religious leaders and clergy have signed a statement calling climate change “one of the most pressing moral challenges facing our world today.”

They say carbon pollution is an environmental justice issue, because power plants have historically been located near low-income neighborhoods, communities of color, and agricultural communities. They want local, state, national and international leaders to form policies and strategies that promote sustainable energy use. 

mother mosque circle
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A few hundred people gathered at North America’s longest-standing mosque in Cedar Rapids Sunday to show support for the Muslim community. 

Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Native American and atheist leaders spoke to a crowd at the Mother Mosque of America about equality, acceptance and love.

The interfaith rally was held to counteract recent hate crimes and anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Mother Mosque Imam Taha Tawil thanked the participants for supporting tolerance and religious freedom.

YUVAL PELEG

The Bible is the most read book of all time. For billions of people around the world, it provides answers, and it also leaves many questions.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with archaeologist and biblical scholar Robert Cargill, who has worked long, hard, and traveled far to find an answer to the question of - Where did the Bible come from?

He's written about what he has found in his new book, The Cities that Built the Bible.

Charity Nebbe

Pew Research finds that 68 percent of Americans say there is no conflict between their personal religious beliefs and science. For the 30 percent who do see a conflict, "the most common source of disagreement involves beliefs about evolution and the creation of the universe."

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

It is hard to have conversations with people who disagree with your viewpoint. If you're having an even harder time with those conversations lately, you're not alone. 

"This election has played to our most primitive fear, and fight or flight responses. A lot of us are just weary and need to give ourselves time to muster those better qualities in ourselves," says Krista Tippett, host of the radio show On Being.

"Compassion, empathy and understanding don't feel very natural right now, but they are what are needed to live right now."

el7bara/Flickr

The Imam at the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids says Muslims in his community are reacting with a mix of fear and sadness to the election of Donald Trump as president.

Hassan Salim says he hopes President-elect Donald Trump will watch his language when talking about Islam.

“There are millions of American Muslims who are truly hurt every time he does not distinguish between what Islam is, what American Muslims are, and radical Islam. These are two separate things and he needs to make it very clear.”

Gold Star Museum

What does it mean to live an ethical life? Is it necessary to have religious beliefs in order to have a moral code?

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Webb Keane, George Herbert Mead collegiate professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, and Bob Cargill, assistant professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Iowa, about these questions. 

Both argue that humans don't need religion. 

John Pemple/IPR file photo

Sen. Chuck Grassley says he doesn’t see any reason to increase gun control measures, following this weekend’s mass shooting in Florida.

Deceased shooter Omar Mateen used guns to kill 49 people and wound 53 others at an Orlando nightclub.

Grassley says that’s no reason to increase firearm regulations. Rather he thinks the focus should center on what he calls “radical Islamists.”

Carl Wycoff

Iowa is becoming more diverse with time. While 77 percent of Iowans identify as Christian, nearly a quarter do not.

On this edition of Talk 0f Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on religious diversity in Iowa.

She talks with Maeve Callan, associate professor of religion at Simpson College, who gives talks on religious culture in order to humanize religious diversity and to help stop the stigmatization of minority religious groups in the state.

Flickr / JohnPaulRichards

Gov. Terry Branstad says a proclamation he signed that encourages Iowans to participate in a Bible reading marathon and to read the Bible on a daily basis, “Until the Lord comes,” is not an affront to religious liberty.

The ACLU of Iowa says it’s concerned that the proclamation endorses a particular religion.  The organization says it never announces an intention to file a lawsuit, but it is reviewing options in this case.

But Branstad says he’s "astounded" people are upset since he’s not forcing anyone to read the Bible or pray.

RifeIdeas / Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump released his first television ad this week in Iowa and New Hampshire. In it, he promises to stop what he calls radical Islamic terrorism by creating a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. Imam Taha Tahwil, director of the Mother Mosque in Cedar Rapids, has a less extreme, and more conversational, proposition: Trump should visit the mosque.

A coalition of religious leaders is having a unity prayer gathering on west steps of the State Capitol on Sunday. The group’s purpose is to show solidarity with Iowa Muslims, in light of what it calls, “hateful, divisive language" against Muslims in recent days.

Rev. Billy Young, president of the Pastors and Ministers Alliance of Des Moines, plans to attend. He says the current anti-Muslim climate reminds him of his childhood in Mississippi, where the Klu Klux Klan burnt a cross on his front lawn because his family was African-American.

Taysaev / Wikimedia Commons

The terrorist attacks on Paris sparked an outpouring of support for people affected. The attacks in Beirut that day before did not. Why?

Daryl Cameron, assistant professor of social psychology and director at the Iowa Morality Lab at the University of Iowa, says it’s because we don’t respond to the people living in those places in the same way.

“We can imagine what its like to be someone in Paris going through this. It’s harder to think about what it’s like to be someone in Beirut,” he explains.

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In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, many have been quick to condemn the group calling itself ISIS, and many have also been quick to condemn Islam.

Islam is the second largest religion in the world, with more than one billion believers worldwide. Imam Hassan Selim of the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids  says it’s unfair to characterize all Muslims as terrorists.  

More than 120 people are dead in Paris after a string of terrorist attacks late last week, including one American. The attackers have been identified as Muslim extremists, and one of the terrorists is said to have gotten into France by posing as a refugee.

Alfredo Borba / Wikimedia Commons

The Pope landed in the States for the first time, in his papacy and in his lifetime, this week. When he opened his remarks at the White House with a reference to his immigrant childhood, things quickly took a turn for the political, as he went on to mention Obama's environmental policies.

Hans Hassell, a political science professor at Cornell College, says despite the Pope's praise for an Obama-led clean air policy, Pope Francis's views can't be described neatly as Republican or Democrat.

Catholic News Service Photos / Flickr

Pope Francis has raised eyebrows, cheers, and criticism for what some call his 'radical' teachings--on same-sex couples, climate change, and immigration. As he visits the United States next week, Catholics are hopeful he'll continue to address social injustice while building bridges to the world's larger, non-Catholic population. 

Father Bud Grant, a priest in Davenport and professor at St. Ambrose University, points to the Pope's recent encyclical on climate change as evidence of this trend.

Clay Masters / IPR

Ten Republican Presidential candidates vied for the evangelical vote Saturday in Ames at a forum sponsored by the leading Christian conservative group the Family Leader.

Nearly three thousand people showed up, including 250 pastors.    So far, no one has the important religious right vote sewn up.

There was a lot of agreement on display, against abortion and same-sex marriage, for religious liberty, and for a strong alliance with Israel. 

David Clarke / Flickr

Last week, the Pope released an encyclical asserting climate change is a moral issue. Father Bud Grant, Catholic priest and professor of environmental ethics at St. Ambrose University, says the message of the encyclical is one of interconnectedness.

"That word 'related' is one of the most frequently used words in the entire document. And that means that if we tug at the environmental thread, we tug at the economic thread and the spiritual thread. They're all wound up together in that seamless garment."

A tragic shooting last week in Charleston, South Carolina at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church left nine people dead and added fuel to conversations over racial relations in the U.S. After the incident, some historically black churches in Iowa are reviewing security plans and changing the way they think about greeting newcomers.

fusky / Flickr

When Troy Van Voorhis became a chemistry professor at MIT, he started getting questions from his students: Did science eliminate the need for religion? Did you have to be an atheist to be a good scientist?

J. Stephen Conn

While many see the Ten Commandments as a simple and powerful set of laws to live by; they are also a lightning rod for controversy in this country.

In 2012, the Vatican accused Catholic nuns in the US of straying from church doctrine, but in a report released this week, the church now says it welcomes the efforts of the sisters.

Sonja Salzburg for Harvest Public Media

Many beer aficionados are familiar with the rare breweries run by Trappist monks. The beer is highly sought after, but it’s not the only food or drink made by a religious order.

Eastern Iowa Coalition of Reason

Our country is very much identified as "one nation under God," however, the number of non-religious Americans has risen dramatically.

Photo by John Pemble

 

The social activist group Nuns on the Bus got a boost today for their 36 city tour to encourage voter registration.  They are launching the trip from Des Moines accompanied by Vice-President Joe Biden.  Speaking from the terrace of the State Capitol, Biden calls for the raising of the minimum wage.  “The middle class is in real trouble.  It was devastated by this recession.  It was already losing ground the previous ten years.” says Biden.

 

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When Sister Simone Campbell first heard about Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget deal, she was less than impressed. “America was not founded on individualism, you can’t have a quilting bee alone. We need to encourage solidarity. He made it seem like it’s the responsibility of the poor to pull themselves up by the bootstrap, that’s not right.”

Wyoming_Jackrabbit / flickr

State money is helping to build a new Christian park in Sioux City. Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, a Satanic statue will be erected outside a courthouse, next to the Ten Commandments.

Msgr. Richard Soseman / facebook / https://www.facebook.com/RRSoseman

Monsignor Richard Soseman grew up in the Quad Cities and served in a parish in rural Illinois, but for the last 6 years he’s lived and worked in Vatican City. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Monsignor Soseman about his life and work and his book, Reflections from Rome- Practical Thoughts on Faith and Family.

Geek2Nurse / flickr / derivitive work: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

Increasingly, efforts in environmental preservation are coming from churches.  Join host Charity Nebbe for a talk with Sister Mary Beth Ingham, professor emerita at Loyola Marymount University.  They cover what the Franciscan tradition is in viewing nature and our role in keeping it healthy.  Also, hear about what some churches in Iowa are doing to keep green.

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