religion

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.

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.  

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:

Cody Newill / KCUR

In the aftermath of the shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, faith leaders in Kansas City are focused on moving forward.

At Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church,  the message during Sunday's Father's Day service was simple: the church will continue to welcome members and visitors regardless of the tragedy.

The number of Americans who choose not to identify with an organized religion has grown to 19 million in the last seven years. One group turning away from religious affiliations are millennials. On this edition of Up to Date, we discuss America's changing relationship with organized religion.

Guests:

A lawmaker in the Kansas House warns that a campus religious freedom bill could attract national attention like the type that has been aimed at Indiana recently.

The Kansas bill would bar colleges from taking action against religious student groups that want to exclude people from their organization.

Republican Rep. Stephanie Clayton urged her colleagues to vote against the bill in a House committee.

“If we pass this, we might face national backlash. It could have an adverse effect on the Kansas economy,” says Clayton.

Indiana and Arkansas are in the news for controversial legislature aimed at protecting religious freedom. On this edition of Up To Date, the Ethics professors discuss when religious freedom infringes on other freedoms. Plus, what  responsibilities do employers and employees have when it comes to illness, mental or otherwise, in the workplace?

Guests:

Prison chaplains provide service for many souls, but what happens when your congregation is made up of the men who served under Adolf Hitler? The book Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis pieces together the life of Henry Gerecke, the U.S. Army chaplain given one of the most controversial assignments following World War II.  Guest

  • Tim Townsend​, editor at Timeline and author of Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis

 

For clergy, providing spiritual support in mental institutions can be difficult especially when some members of your congregation may not even be aware of who you are. On this edition of Up To Date, we talk to the chaplain at Osawatomie State Hospital on the challenges of ministering to the mentally ill. 

Guest:

  • Rev. Jeffrey Yelton is the psychiatric chaplain at Osawatomie State Hospital in Kansas.
Ecjmartin1 / Wikimedia Commons

For nearly 200 years, Jackson County has been home to followers of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Today, thousands of members visit the Community of Christ Temple in Independence, Mo., which is a sacred destination for the faithful.

But if you take a look back at the early days of Mormonism, peace and joy weren't in abundance, as militia forces, settlers and the state fought against the church for nearly a decade.

The beginnings of Mormonism

The Catholic Church is located in Vatican City, an ocean away and then some. But what happens in Rome affects the lives of Catholics living in Kansas City, and what happens here reverberates all the way up to the top. This conversation explores whether a perceived shift in the Catholic Church affects the priorities and attitudes of Catholics in our region. 

Guests:

From the world's fascination with Pope Francis to the rise of ISIS overseas, religion played a significant role in some of the biggest headlines of 2014.

On Wednesday's Up To Date guest host Brian Ellison speaks with Kevin Eckstrom, editor-in-chief of Religion News Service, and Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, executive religion editor of the Huffington Post, on the top religion stories last year, and religion's rising profile in the news. 

KU / Creative Commons

For the past few decades, American communities have been trying to foster this thing called "multiculturalism." As we continue to debate notions of privilege and perception, how is this experiment going? Are we more empathetic than we used to be? Plus, having "the talk"... about race.

Guests:

Courtesy / Black Archives of Mid-America

In an age before the internet—and in an environment that in some ways promoted isolation and disconnection—African-Americans in Kansas City in the early 20th century still found ways to find connection and community.

Churches and social clubs have been called the “glue” that held the black community together, alongside families and schools, and a new exhibit at the Black Archives of Mid-America chronicles some of that important history.

Guest:

  • Michael Sweeney, collection librarian for the Black Archives of Mid-America
Anne Roberts / Flickr-CC

It’s no secret that people of different religions often clash over their differences. But when you look closer, the similarities jump out, especially when it comes to significant objects. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, our Religion Roundtable takes a look at why objects such as stones, crosses, bread, drums and incense have places of prominence in spiritual observance and how their function differs in each religion.

Guests:

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