The Slingshot: India’s biryani police. Mormons’ shifting party ID. Uganda’s new synagogue.


Need to know: 09/16/2016

Cow politics

Biryani becomes latest issue in India’s struggle over religion, caste, politics

In India, biryani police have been inspecting the traditional rice dish to check if street sellers have been adding beef, which is banned across much of the country. More from Religion News Service

Blip or trend?

Mormons are less Republican this year, and Trump is not the only reason why

But it’s not only because they dislike Trump, writes Jana Riess. More from Religion News Service

The Assisi effect

Pope Francis of Assisi? A pontiff boosts the birthplace of a saint

Francis has visited three times in less than four years, cementing his affinity with the Umbrian city that is home to his namesake. More from Religion News Service

The newest tribe

In Uganda, a new synagogue for a remote group of Jews

In a country where Jews represent less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of the population, a new synagogue opens today (Sept. 16). More from Religion News Service

Subtext: refugees

Austrian cardinal clarifies: It’s not ‘Islamic conquest’ but Christian surrender

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn walked back an earlier statement that seemed to raise fears about Islamic immigration. More from Religion News Service

Bonus tracks

Ritual in crisis

The dangers of pulling a Kaepernick

“When we sing the national anthem, we’re not commenting on the state of America,” writes David Brooks. “We’re expressing commitment to the nation’s ideals, which we have not yet fulfilled.” More from

Conflicted in Mecca

The push and pull of gender for Muslims at the hajj

“I was at once frustrated by Islam’s nitpicky strictures on women’s dress and embraced by its warm sisterhood,” writes New York Times reporter Diaa Hadid. More from

Nuptial trends

More couples are asking friends and family to officiate weddings

An increasing percentage of couples are opting to have a friend or family member get ordained in order to marry them, a study finds. More from Live Science

Synagogue and state

Alexander the Great in an ancient synagogue?

A 1,500-year-old mosaic that might depict a meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest was unearthed in a fifth-century synagogue in Israel’s Lower Galilee. More from Biblical Archaeology Society

Opening today

“The Vessel” movie explores suffering and belief

The film, starring Martin Sheen as a priest, chronicles the story of small Latin American town a decade after the loss of almost 50 children in a tsunami. More from