Weekly religion news with items on efforts to broaden Rep. King's congressional hearings aimed at Muslim-Americans and terrorism, "Hungers of the Heart" by Richard G. Watts and more.
Over 80 people of faith from Long Island, N.Y., including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and interfaith leaders, sent a letter recently to Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., urging him to cancel his planned congressional hearings to investigate claims of “radicalization” in the Muslim-American community.
King, who said the hearings may start March 7, is chairman of the House on Homeland Security Committee and wants to focus these hearings on homegrown terrorism and incidents involving American-born Muslims, such as the Fort Hood shooting and the attempted Times Square bombing.
The diverse group of faith leaders say the singling out of the Muslim community undermines fundamental American values and is counterproductive to improving national security.
King says over 80 percent of mosques are run by extremists, which Muslim leaders dispute. He also says Muslim-American leaders don’t cooperate with law enforcement officials, though some law enforcement officials dispute this.
The signers urge Rep. King to “convene a dialogue among faith leaders, law enforcement and elected officials” rather than hold hearings that “will only further divide our community and undermine our nation’s highest ideals.”
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., have urged Rep. King to broaden the scope of the hearings.
King has recently tapped a respected New York Daily News reporter on the terrorism beat, James Gordon Meek, to serve as a senior investigator on the committee.
A poll released this week by Public Religion Research Institute shows that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of Americans agree that Congress should investigate religious extremism anywhere it exists and not single out Muslim-Americans.
The survey also says only about 34 percent of Americans report having heard a lot (7 percent) or a little (28 percent) about the upcoming congressional hearings to investigate alleged extremism in the American-Muslim community, while a majority 65 percent report having heard nothing at all.
Week in Religion
- Feb. 22, 1906, black Evangelist William J. Seymour arrives in Los Angeles and begins holding revival meetings. The Azusa Street Revival later breaks out under his leadership, one of the pioneering events of 20th century American Pentecostalism.
- Feb. 23, 1970, the Holy Eucharist was distributed by women for the first time in a Roman Catholic service.
- Feb. 24, 1782, pioneer American Methodist bishop Francis Asbury wrote in his journal, “It is my constitutional weakness to be gloomy and dejected; the work of God puts life into me.”
-- William D. Blake, Almanac of the Christian Church
The Muslim population in the U.S. is projected to grow from .8 percent in 2010 to 1.7 percent in 2030, equaling the population of Jews and Episcopalians.
-- Public Religion Research Institute
“Hungers of the Heart” by Richard G. Watts
This book is for those who are turned off by organized religion but want to deepen personal spirituality. It deals with the search for meaning, satisfying relationships, a more just society and connection with the Sacred. In a conversational style free of religious jargon, the author maps a spirituality that is rooted in reason and contemporary knowledge, as well as being grounded in the authentic core of the great world religious traditions.
-- Booklocker.com Inc.
Quote of the week
“When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.” – Anais Nin
Besom: A broom often used by Wiccans or other Neopagans to purify a circle or other sacred area before a ritual is conducted.
Religion Around the World
Religious makeup of Australia
Catholic: 25.8 percent
Anglican: 18.7 percent
Uniting Church: 5.7 percent
Presbyterian: and reformed 3 percent
Eastern Orthodox: 2.7 percent
Other Christian: 7.9 percent
Buddhis:t 2.1 percent
Muslim: 1.7 percent
Other: 2.4 percent
Unspecified: 11.3 percent
None: 18.7 percent
- CIA Factbook
GateHouse News Service