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Deepa Bharath

Deepa Bharath is an author at Religion News Service.

All Stories by Deepa Bharath

What California’s Ravidassia community believes and why they want caste bias outlawed

By Deepa Bharath — June 7, 2023
(AP) — Members of an under-the-radar, minority religious community are stepping into the public eye to advocate for making the state the first in the nation to outlaw caste bias.

Russell Crowe stars as Vatican’s ‘James Bond of exorcists’

By Deepa Bharath — April 17, 2023
In three decades, the Rev. Gabriele Amorth, a Pauline priest, claimed to have conducted over 60,000 exorcisms.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft campaigns against antisemitism

By Deepa Bharath — March 27, 2023
(AP) — A $25 million “Stand Up to Jewish Hate” campaign launched Monday by the 81-year-old billionaire through his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism aims to raise awareness nationwide about soaring incidents of antisemitism online and in person.

Saddleback Church doubles down on support for female pastors

By Deepa Bharath and Peter Smith — March 1, 2023
(AP) — “I’m serving Jesus under the authority and in alignment with my spiritual leaders,” said Stacie Wood, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church.

Seattle considers historic law barring caste discrimination

By Deepa Bharath — February 20, 2023
A Seattle City Council member, raised in an upper-caste Hindu Brahmin household in India, has proposed an ordinance to add caste to anti-discrimination laws that would make Seattle the first U.S. city to specifically outlaw caste discrimination.

In India, deity decorating a calling for Hindu temple artist

By Deepa Bharath — January 18, 2023
CHENNAI, India (AP) — A computer science graduate, S. Goutham quit his job nearly a decade ago to pursue his calling. He has since followed in the footsteps of his ancestors as a fifth-generation decorator of temple deities.

India’s visa temples attract devotees aspiring to go abroad

By Deepa Bharath — December 19, 2022
CHENNAI, India (AP) — This 'visa temple' has surged in popularity among U.S. visa seekers over the past decade; they can be found in almost any Indian city with a U.S. consulate.

Asian faiths try to save swastika symbol corrupted by Hitler

By Deepa Bharath — November 28, 2022
(AP) — The symbol is a millennia-old sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism that represents peace and good fortune, and was also used widely by Indigenous people worldwide in a similar vein.

New Saddleback pastor sees women clergy in church’s future

By Deepa Bharath — October 25, 2022
(AP) — He wants to ensure that on his watch, Saddleback “is empowered for men and women to lead.”

Religious polarization in India seeping into US diaspora

By Mariam Fam and Deepa Bharath — October 17, 2022
(AP) — Hindu nationalism has split the Indian expatriate community just as Donald Trump’s presidency polarized the U.S., according to one expert.

Lag in slavery reparations from US Jesuits irks descendants

By Deepa Bharath — August 16, 2022
(AP) – In a publicly released letter to the head of the U.S. branch of Jesuits, Jesuit leader Joseph Stewart expressed dissatisfaction with the progress made since last year's pledge to raise $100 million for a reconciliation initiative in partnership with descendants of people once enslaved by the Catholic order.

Columbia River’s salmon are at the core of ancient religion

By Deepa Bharath — August 16, 2022
ALONG THE COLUMBIA RIVER (AP) — For thousands of years, Native tribes in this area have relied on Nch’i-Wána, or 'the great river,' for its salmon and steelhead trout, and its surrounding areas for the fields bearing edible roots, medicinal herbs and berry bushes as well as the deer and elk whose meat and hides are used for food and ritual.

US houses of worship increase security after shootings

By Luis Andres Henao and Deepa Bharath — July 19, 2022
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Past attacks on houses of worship and other public spaces have prompted faith leaders to evaluate — sometimes for the first time — if there is more that can be done to keep their flocks safe.

In ‘Ms. Marvel’, Muslim fans see a reflection of their lives

By Deepa Bharath and Mariam Fam — July 12, 2022
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The show touches on issues from surveilling mosques to what wearing head scarves means for some.

Black Jewish leader works to boost community, inclusiveness

By Deepa Bharath — July 5, 2022
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nate Looney believes he can channel his painful personal experiences into healing divisions and changing perceptions, and help make a trip to the synagogue a spiritual rather than a scarring encounter for Jews of color.
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