Marcus Mumford & the trouble with labels

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Mumford & Sons

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Marcus Mumford, the 26-year-old lead singer of the wildly successful British band Mumford & Sons (pictured here), raised the hackles of religious folks (in some quarters) when he declined to claim the "Christian" label as his own. Photo courtesy Big Hassle Media

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(RNS) Labels can be helpful when, for instance, applied to cans of soup or barrels of toxic waste. But they are less so when affixed to human beings -- particularly when labels are meant to summarize one's spiritual identity.