Declining Vulture Population Impacts Zoroastrian Death Rites

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Not only do the Zoroastrians in India (called Parsis) face declining numbers, there is another disappearing population that threatens their sacred traditions: vultures. The predatory birds are integral to the community’s traditional death ritual. At the top of a building in Mumbai called the “Towers of Silence,” the Parsis […]

Zoroastrianism 101

c. 2007 Religion News Service Good and Evil Zoroastrians believe their God, Ahura Mazda, created all that is good in the world and gave humans the ability to make choices. One of those choices is evil. Evil is a force in the world called Angra Mainyu, but it was neither created by Ahura Mazda nor […]

Zoroastrians, Divided Over Conversion, Face a Shrinking Future

c. 2007 Religion News Service CHICAGO _ As a high school boy in Minnesota, Joseph Peterson spent the late 1960s reading at the local library, passing over Mad Magazine or sci-fi novels in favor of ancient religious texts. The scripture of the Zoroastrians _ the faith of the old Persian Empire _ captured the Christian […]

Jews Look to Rebuild New Orleans and Jewish Community

c. 2007 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS _ Its numbers sharply reduced by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans’ Jewish community is about to launch a novel rebuilding campaign to recruit as many as 1,000 Jewish families to New Orleans with offers of moving grants, loans and other economic incentives. The unusual initiative _ maybe unique in […]

COMMENTARY: New Ways to Tell the Greatest Story Ever Told

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) To every age, Holy Week must speak anew. The story remains the same _ the most extensively detailed narrative in the Gospels, indeed the starting point for creating the Gospels. But how we read it changes from age to age and from culture to culture. As always, some believers […]

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Conservative Seminary to Allow Openly Gay Students NEW YORK (RNS) Openly gay students who want to serve as rabbis or cantors are now welcome at the Jewish Theological Seminary, school officials said Monday (March 26). The announcement came three months after the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the […]

There Are 46 Days in Lent, but Only 40 Days of Sacrifice

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Forty-six. Count ‘em. That is the number of days between Ash Wednesday and the start of Easter in the Western tradition of Lent. So why do Christian churches often refer to the 40 days of Lent, and what should followers who sacrifice a favorite food or activity during the […]

Sacrifice and Fasting Central to Lent

c. 2007 Religion News Service CLEVELAND _ Philip Horvath says it is not easy to walk by Wendy’s on his way home from school and not go in. That’s why the eighth-grader at St. Christine Catholic Church in Euclid, Ohio, gave up fast food for Lent. “I think of God,” Philip said. “He gave up […]

White Lawmaker, With God on His Side, Seeks Apology for Slavery

c. 2007 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ In his first months in office, freshman U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Memphis, has introduced resolutions paying homage to Stax Records and Negro League Baseball, and apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans. Cohen says a formal apology by the U.S. government would be […]

Arkansas Jews Get a Lesson in Wandering Toward a Permanent Home

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) For the past 26 years, members of the tiny Temple Shalom synagogue in Fayetteville, Ark., have celebrated Passover without a building to call their own. But that’s about to change, thanks to an uncommon act of charity that stands to infuse their holiday with new significance and, members hope, […]