Friday Godbytes: Airport Yoga; Jewish Star Wars; Mormon Cuisine

I don't know about you guys, but flying can be a pretty stressful experience. It's not the flying itself that gets me so much as the journey to the plane: The security checks (“Does chapstick count as a gel if it melted in pocket?”); the annoying fellow travelers (“Stand on the RIGHT side of the escalator so folks can walk on the LEFT side, people!”); the long lines at food vendors (“How could this many people possibly want a Cinnabon right now?”); the boarding confusion (“Did she say Zone 1 or Zone 2? Wait, what gate is this?!”)…It's all a bit intense. But anxious passengers, worry no more: San Francisco Airport is unveiling the world's first dedicated yoga room within an airport. That's right, you can now get your frozen yogurt AND your Downward Facing Dog at the SAME PLACE.

Photo by Jerilee Bennett.

Americans intrigued but wary still of Mormon beliefs

(RNS) Suddenly, America's abuzz about Mormonism's “gold plates and magic underwear,” says Terryl Givens, a professor of religion at the University of Richmond. Mormon ways are little-known, yet many Americans are suspicious of them. Why? Cathy Lynn Grossman reports.

Praying for New Orleans, one block at a time

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Millie Campbell and Betty Minor pray for an end to the scourge of murders sapping the city — 199 last year, and 17 or so on the streets Campbell drove last week. Sometimes, driver and passenger join hands, bouncing slowly over the pothole-filled streets of their neighborhood.

Muslims call for NYPD chief to resign over video

(RNS) Muslim American groups are calling for New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to resign after for allegedly covering up his role in “The Third Jihad,” a documentary film that critics say demonizes Muslims and was shown to nearly 1,500 police officers and detectives. By Omar Sacirbey. 250.

Thursday Godbytes: Liam Neeson; Muslims for Ron Paul; Inoffensive Atheist Billboards

The Muslim blogosphere is all aflutter about…Liam Neeson?  Apparently the Irish film star, known for movies in which he plays the most hardcore guy in any given scenario, is considering leaving his Catholic faith and converting to Islam. People are offering a number of different opinions on the subject, but Muslim comedian Aman Ali gave us a peak into Neeson's religious future:       If Neeson were to become a Muslim, he might have to change a political affiliation or two. Apparently some American Muslims are entertaining the idea of voting for an unusual candidate in this year's presidential election: Ron Paul. Some people think billboards advertising for atheist causes are “too offensive.”  In response, one blogger decided to craft from really, really, really inoffensive atheist billboards. Finally, you get two Videos of the Day.  The first is a rather calming, entrancing video of Whirling Dervishes, a famous religious practice performed by the Mevlevi Order, an order of Sufi Muslims.     If you found the the previous video boring, then here's one of ELECTRIC WHIRLING DERVISHES!!

As missionary movement turns 200, questions for the future

“It's part of the American character to go out and help people,” said Clifford Putney, assistant professor of American religious history at Bentley University. “We go (out) saying we have all these great ideas and (people abroad) would be better off following them.”

COMMENTARY: The ultimate badge of honor

(RNS) Since 1862 all American clergy representing “some religious denomination” have been able to serve their country and their faith communities as military chaplains. For that, we can thank Abraham Lincoln. By A. James Rudin. 700.

10 minutes with … Lobsang Sangay

“My stand on self immolation is the same as that of the Dalai Lama, who has always discouraged drastic actions by Tibetans,” says Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of Tibet's government-in-exile. “He does not even endorse hunger strikes.”


Top Catholic bishop feels betrayed by Obama

(RNS) In the wake of President Obama's controversial decision last week to force religious groups pay for contraceptives, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan is feeling personally betrayed.

Why Mitt Romney can’t be the Mormon JFK

By talking about his Mormonism, Mitt Romney would call attention to his Mormonism. Politically speaking, that's a huge risk. Many Americans, and Republicans in particular, tend to consider Mormonism a “cult” — or “super spooky-wooky!” as Broadway's hit musical, The Book of Mormon, puts it.