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Antioch Community Church

A Northland church has lost its years-long battle to keep its digital sign after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled it violates Kansas City’s zoning laws.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the court held that the Board of Zoning Adjustment was right to deny Antioch Community Church a variance, or exception, to the city's sign ordinance. The ordinance generally prohibits digital signs in residential neighborhoods.

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A polarizing debate over the role of faith-based adoption organizations, and their ability to exclude same-sex couples, has tangled an update of Kansas adoption and foster care laws.

A bill needed to revise the rules passed the House without a dissenting vote in late February. But it drew opposition in the Senate this week when a controversial amendment was added.

Segment 1: Local poet writes collection based on his working class roots. 

For Robert Stewart, poetry isn't ethereal — it's a working class endeavor. He shares how his background as a plumber's apprentice, ditch-digger and truck driver shaped his worldview as a writer. 

file photo / Kansas News Service

With help from Vice President Mike Pence, short-handed U.S. Senate Republicans on Wednesday made Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback President Donald Trump’s ambassador for religious freedom.

Pence twice broke ties on nail-biter, party line, votes to ultimately confirm Brownback after months of delay.  With the governor being whisked away from his Statehouse job, soon enough, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will be ushered into an interim stint as governor.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

Sheri "Purpose" Hall is a spoken word poet, an author, an ordained minister and an activist. She's represented Kansas City in national poetry slams and recently, a video of her performing one of her poems, "Irregular Rape Poem," has gone viral. Hear her story.

Guest:

Michael Vadon / Flickr - CC

From ushering Donald Trump into the White House to NFL players taking a knee to a mass shooting at a Baptist church in Texas, much of the major news of the past year involved religion.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

Today, Stuart Swetland is the president of Donnelly College, which U.S. News & World Report recently recognized as the most diverse college in the Midwest. But in 1985, when TWA Flight 847 was hijacked, he was a Navy officer who was called to participate in a rescue mission with grim chances for survival. Hear his story.

Guest:

  • Stuart Swetland, President, Donnelly College

'Big Sonia'; Changing Your Mind

Nov 30, 2017

Sonia Warshawski is a Holocaust survivor who ran a tailor shop in Metcalf South Mall. A documentary about her life is in theaters now. What does this survivor story mean to a younger generation?

Plus: On KCUR's Central Standard, we're examining what it takes to change someone's mind. We talk to a local man, who tells us about leaving the religious sect in which he was raised.

Guests:

The Missouri French Creole community, located mainly in the eastern part of the state, has its own language and culture. We hear more from a filmmaker who is working on a documentary about them.

Plus: the overlooked history of how Jews shaped small towns in the Midwest. It's the topic of a symposium this weekend: Jews in the Midwest: 1850 to 1950.

Guests:

The American Humanist Association on Wednesday sued Kansas prison officials, alleging the Topeka Correctional Facility promotes Christianity in violation of the First Amendment.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Kansas City, claims the prison displays prayers and messages on prison bulletin boards, has erected an eight-foot cross in one of its multi-purpose rooms and often broadcasts movies with Christian themes on inmates’ televisions.

Pixabay - CC

From a targeted shooting in Olathe to the president's so-called "travel ban," tensions over race, culture and religion are high. Today, we delve into two experiences in the Muslim community and learn what living in Trump's America has been like for Islamic people.

The NAACP of Missouri has issued its first-ever travel advisory for the state, warning of harassment and discrimination. A look at whether Missouri is safe for people of color ... and whether safety related to race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation is something that people think about when planning their travels.

FIle Photo / Kansas News Service

Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday touted his credentials and passion for helping the Trump administration mitigate religious persecution around the globe.

The prospective ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom said he does not know how long it might take for the U.S. Senate to consider his nomination by President Donald Trump, and he hasn’t yet decided when to turn over the reins to his lieutenant governor, Jeff Colyer.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

After months of speculation, news broke Wednesday evening that Pres. Donald Trump nominated Kansas' governor as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. The appointment requires Senate approval. Today, we hear from journalists, political thinkers, and Kansas state lawmakers to find out what this long-rumored move means for the Sunflower State, and to discuss the legacy Gov. Sam Brownback will leave behind.

Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a Missouri church ultimately could make it easier for religious institutions to seek out state money for non-religious needs.

The justices ruled 7-2 in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, which had sought a state grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground, but was denied funding. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote it is “odious to our Constitution” to exclude the church from the grant program.

The South Sudanese Community Lutheran Church meets at Zion Lutheran Church in Denison, Iowa, on Sunday afternoons.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the special Harvest Public Media series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

As Highway 30 enters Denison, Iowa, a city of 8,000, the national fast food chains stand next to Mexican groceries and restaurants. In this small city near the Nebraska border, waves of immigrants have been arriving since at least the 1980s.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

In another time, the opening of a new mosque in Johnson County, Kansas, may not have attracted hundreds of people from a wide array of backgrounds. But some say these are extraordinary times.

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, incidents that reflect bias against Muslims grew by 57% last year.

Crowds streamed into the new classic masjid, Arabic for mosque, at the Islamic Center of Johnson County.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

On a windswept hillside in Leavenworth County is a weather-worn wooden church that’s been there for nearly 150 years. For more than a century, Little Stranger Church was a place for worship and celebration   — until it wasn’t anymore. But now, some locals are trying to bring it back, and they have a powerful incentive: home-made pie.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

A stone’s throw from the childhood home of pilot Amelia Earhart in Atchison, Kansas, is Benedictine College. Benedictine monks started the college in 1857 to provide a Catholic education to the children of pioneers and to celebrate Mass with German and Irish settlers.

Today, about 40 monks live at the abbey on a hill overlooking the college and the Missouri River. They live much the same way Benedictine monks have lived since St. Benedict of Nursia established the order in sixth century.

The U.S. National Archives

When President Harry Truman moved into the White House, he thought the creaks and groans meant it was haunted. It turns out it was just in imminent danger of collapse. Today, hear the story of how the executive mansion was completely gutted and restored. Then, what takes more than seven years and 900 international volunteers to complete?

Kansas City Fashion Week

Kansas City takes the nickname 'Paris of the Plains' seriously, and not just because of our fountains. Today, we learn why Kansas City Fashion Week has designers, photographers, models, makeup artists, and stylists gathered in the Heartland. Then, the director of the Vatican Observatory looks at the intersection of religion and science. He'll also answer an "age-old" question for us: Should extraterrestrials be baptized?

As more young people identify as Nones (as in "no religious affiliation"), are they still making room for rituals in their daily lives?

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Wylie "Cyote" C / Wikimedia Commons

In such a divided era in America, is respect for different faiths critical to the country's success? A former member of President Obama's Faith Advisory Council answers that question. Then, trout season begins on March 1 and there's no better place in Missouri to ring it in than Bennett Spring State Park, outside Lebanon.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City metro-area residents continue to voice opposition to the Trump Administration's executive orders on immigration. The latest was a candlelight vigil Sunday afternoon in Overland Park.

Sofia Khan started planning the vigil last weekend, after an order temporarily barring refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries was issued.

Fibonacci Blue / Flickr - CC

From the Standing Rock protests to the European migrant crisis, we explore the stories of faith and values that made headlines in the last year. Then, we meet a community activist who has spent decades working on behalf of urban neighborhoods in Kansas City.

Photocapy / Flickr -- CC

What do ancient religious rituals mean to millennials? Across faiths, people are following the rituals of their parents and grandparents, but the meaning they attach to those practices may be changing.

Plus, a chat with the curator of an exhibit, ¿Qué Pasa, USA?, which features artists of color who are using humor to explore questions of race and belonging.

Guests:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

It goes without saying that religious communities are not monolithic. That may be especially true after this election.

So when I got an assignment to get “the response of religious communities” to the presidential election, my impulse was to visit with every religious institution in the area. Not possible. So I arbitrarily selected representatives of a few denominations, knowing it would be but a sample, a snapshot, of what some houses of worship were feeling.

I began with mosques. 

The creator and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com talks about the challenges facing Muslim women in the wake of Donald Trump's election. Then we examine the soundtrack of the Vietnam War, and listen to some of the songs that helped American troops get through the conflict.

How Uncertainty Builds Faith In 'A Gray World'

Sep 27, 2016

During troubled times some turn to prayer, but when left with no answers they may question their beliefs. Religion writer Bill Tammeus says that doubt is natural, and can play a big part in strengthening one's faith.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The NCAA has put off its December announcement on future championship sites to give itself the chance to monitor what happens in state legislatures this fall.

When the Missouri legislature re-convenes, it’s possible that a so-called "religious freedom" bill may pop up again on the agenda. That concerns Kansas City Sports Commission Executive Director Kathy Nelson. Especially since the sports commission submitted a record of 55 bids to the NCAA to host championships.

“For us, we have 55 have chances to get shot down if someone decides to vote for this,” said Nelson.

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