religion

Courtesy of Arionne Yvette Williams

 When Arionne Yvette Williams first heard “Formation,” the lead single of Beyoncé’s album, Lemonade, one of the lyrics inspired her to start a Bible study group for women.

“I just love the song; it just resonated with me as soon as I heard it,” Williams told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

The top policy-making body of the United Methodist Church this week narrowly approved a full review of all church law on sexuality. Up to Date host Steve Kraske speaks with two area ministers about this latest move by the Church.

Guests:

  • Rev. Adam Hamilton is the founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.
  • Rev. Mark Holland is also the mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County.

The battle over religious freedom and LGBT rights has moved from Arizona and Mississippi to Missouri. Conservatives there are backing an amendment to the state Constitution that would protect certain people — clergy, for instance — who refuse to take part in same-sex marriages.

But the measure has run into some unexpected — and unexpectedly stiff — opposition, from a longtime ally of the religious right: the business community.

When it comes to taxes, are we morally obligated to pay them to help our society? As presidential nominating conventions come up, is it ethical for a party to change the rules to block a candidate, even if he or she has a large majority of the popular vote? Up To Date's Ethics professors tackle these issues and more.

Guests:

  • Clancy Martin is a professor of philosophy at UMKC.
  • Adrian Switzer is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at the UMKC.
Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri legislators are considering a bill that would allow organizations and individuals to deny service to same-sex couples based on  religious beliefs, and that has left some commerce groups in Kansas City worried about the possible economic impact.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

About 20 Kansas City religious leaders gathered Wednesday to denounce a Missouri Senate bill they believe would invite discrimination of the LGBT community.

“It began with ... me saying, ‘Hey, you want to raise some hell in God’s name?’” says Rev. Chase Peeples with the Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ, drawing laughter from the assembled interfaith coalition.

Peeples says he’s disappointed supporters of Senate Joint Resolution 39 are touting it as a bill to protect religious liberties.

Legislation designed to allow business owners and clergy to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings is being blocked in the Missouri Senate.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar the state from "penalizing clergy, religious organizations, and certain individuals for their religious beliefs concerning marriage between two people of the same sex."

Steve Mencher / KCPT

At University of Missouri-Kansas City's Pierson Hall Monday, the group agreed on one thing - that the Kansas City area hasn't seen as much of a backlash against Muslims as there has been elsewhere in the country.

Mahnaz Shabbir, President of Shabbir Advisors and long engaged in interfaith advocacy, says people here are well informed.

"For more than 20 years we've been doing a lot of education on interfaith issues," she said in an interview.

But there was some sparring once the panel discussion got under way.

Matthew Ragan / Flickr

At a candlelight vigil in Hesston, Kansas, a local Mennonite pastor lit four candles — one for each of the victims of last week's mass shooting ... and one for the shooter.

We take a closer look at how Hesston's predominantly Mennonite community — a pacifist community — is responding to last week's events.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

On this week's Statehouse Blend, leaders of faith based organizations discuss their unique view on the current political climate in Kansas.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

On this week's Statehouse Blend, leaders of faith based organizations discuss their unique view on the current political climate in Kansas.

Guests:

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

When Dylan Mortimer was in fifth grade, he got a coveted pair of Air Jordans. 

"I was able to get some for about $60 that were a size too small for me," he recalls, "but I knew that was my only chance to afford them. I put them on and I was the envy of the school for about a year."

Of course, wearing shoes a size too small is no fun. "It was miserable and I can't say it really elevated my basketball play," he says with a laugh.

Legalization of same-sex marriage, streams of migrants flowing into Europe from war-torn Syria and the expansion of ISIS all top the list of important religion news stories this year. We look at which stories will continue to impact us in 2016 on this edition of Up to Date.

Guests:

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver held a holiday party and interfaith rally at Union Station Sunday evening to show support for Kansas City's Muslim community.

Several hundred people of all faiths came to the event to mingle, eat and enjoy the holidays together. Since terrorist attacks in Paris left more than 100 dead in November, Cleaver says, Islamophobic rhetoric in America has gone too far and risks alienating moral, law-abiding citizens.

Frank Morris / KCUR

A mosque, a church and a synagogue go up on the site of an old Jewish country club ...

It sounds like the setup to a joke — but it's not. It's actually happening in Omaha, Nebraska. The Tri-Faith Initiative may be the first place in history where these three monotheistic faiths have built together — on purpose — with the intention of working together.

The project has inspired some, and angonized others.

In a tiny suburban section of Omaha, kids at Countryside United Church of Christ sing Away in a Manger in preparation for an upcoming Christmas program.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

According to environmental journalist Simran Sethi, indulging in the sensual side of food can be revolutionary. How taste and sustainability go hand-in-hand, including extended discussions about karah prasad (holy bread in the Sikh tradition) and chocolate.

Guests:

The L.A. Times recently ran a story on a counter-intuitive study that shows that children raised in non-religious homes “are more generous and altruistic than children from observant families.” The Ethics Professors discuss the role religion plays in instilling morals. 

Guests:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas City-area Muslims say anxiety among the community is as high as it’s been since 9/11.

Terrorist attacks in Paris and around the world combined with increased anti-Muslim rhetoric has caused a spike in hate mail and venomous posts on social media.

There have been overt acts of aggression against Muslims in several cities in the United States in recent days. Local leaders say the issue of Syrian refugees has fueled Islamophobia, as well.

There isn’t a day that goes by without hearing news coverage about the group that calls itself the Islamic State. Many Muslim leaders would say the actions and ideology of the group aren’t Islamic.  We explore how close the terrorist group is to the religion from which it takes its name. 

Guests:

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

During Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. last month, he praised the late Thomas Merton as one of four great Americans. Merton was one of the most influential Catholic writers of the 20th century. He spent the last twenty years of his life as a Trappist Monk in a monastery called the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky.

After his death, his writings remained in the public sphere, but it seemed that little else was left from the man who inspired so many. But this summer, hundreds of his items reappeared in Missouri.

How do you teach religion in public schools without stirring up a hornet’s nest? It's not easy — but if we don’t do it, are we breeding more religious intolerance?

Guest:

  • Linda Wertheimer is an education writer and the author of Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance. She is the former education editor of the Boston Globe.

Former U.S. Senator John Danforth has spent years speaking out against the abuses of our political system. On this edition of Up To Date,  he speaks with Steve Kraske about Missouri, the 2016 presidential race and his latest book, The Relevance of Religion: How Faithful People Can Change Politics.

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has captured the world's attention promoting scientific literacy and a secular world view. Steve Kraske speaks with him about his latest memoir, Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science, a sequel to his An Appetite for Wonder.  

WATCH: Pope Francis' Speech To The United Nations

Sep 24, 2015
Catholic Church England / Flickr--CC

Pope Francis is expected to address the United Nations at 9 a.m. Friday.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

As the nation's Capitol was humming with activity around the pope's visit, Catholics in Kansas City came together Thursday at Rockhurst University to watch the historic address to a joint session of Congress. 

A large crowd gathered in the auditorium of Pedre Arrupe, S.J. Hall on the Rockhurst campus. Students, faculty and staff, and members of the community watched the pope on two large screens at the front of the hall, applauding vigorously almost every time they saw Congress clap. There was also a giant screen feeding live tweets from around the country.

Papal Report

Sep 22, 2015

As Pope Francis heads to the Unites States, the Kansas City-based National Catholic Reporter gears up for a big three days. The story and editorial philosophy of the paper, including a new approach to covering a new pope. Bonus: a papal relic in Strawberry Hill.

Guests:

  • Dennis Coday, editor, National Catholic Reporter
  • Caitlin Hendel, CEO, National Catholic Reporter

Recently, a local author wrote a blog post, "Onward, Christian Gentry," which questioned how Christians — mainly white, evangelical Christians — approach living in the urban core. What role does faith play in developing urban communities in Kansas City? 

More than 4,000 members of the Mennonite Church USA gathered in downtown Kansas City July 2 to meet, worship and pass church-wide resolutions together at their biennial convention. But congregations are bitterly divided over two resolutions passed dealing with same-sex marriage.

The first resolution passed by nearly 1,000 delegates from congregations all over the country allows same-sex marriage if that congregation is within a regional conference that allows it. It calls for "Christian forbearance" and tolerance. 

With the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, some county clerks have refused to issue marriage licenses, citing religious beliefs. The Ethics Professors discuss performing government duties that conflict with one's faith. Plus, is it okay to break the law in the name of a just cause?

Guests: 

Bill Martin studied with revered lamas in India. He was also the charismatic founder of a money-making church, and ultimately, a sufferer from mental illness who died in a hospital for the homeless. Years later, his son tries to understand the man who raised him.

Guest:

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