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A November ceremony will celebrate the beatification of Father Solanus Casey -- a significant step toward canonization as a saint for the beloved Detroit priest.

The ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 18 at Ford Field, home of the NFL's Detroit Lions. The stadium will be configured to accommodate about 60,000 people.

Pope Francis in May announced the beatification of Casey, who died in 1957 at age 86.

little girl walking away from camera
unsplash

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the cultural, and sometimes religious, practice of cutting young girls – often with the goal of restricting their ability to enjoy sex later in life.

The practice became a federal crime in 1996, but now for the first time, the government is prosecuting an alleged case of FGM.

The investigation is focused on a clinic in metro Detroit. Last week, prosecutors released a new indictment. A total of six adults are now facing charges. They're all members of a small Indian Muslim sect. Authorities say they have identified six victims, four girls from Michigan and two from Minnesota. The charges include "conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation." 

Lizzy Shell is a newcomer to Michigan’s music scene. 

The singer/songwriter has roots in Ypsilanti, but grew up in Tempe, Arizona.  Now, she's back in Michigan and out with her debut album Seed.

In the interview Shell talks about her faith, struggling with depression and dropping out of college. For Shell, healing came through writing and making music.  

Subterranean / Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Supreme Court is hearing arguments in an uncommon case: Can courts intervene when religious schools reject students?

Churches and faith-based schools operate with broad protections under the First Amendment. But this case raises questions about whether a student claiming discrimination can overcome that legal threshold.

The parents of a girl who was rejected by Notre Dame Preparatory School in Pontiac say she was illegally turned down in 2014 because of a learning disability.

church exterior
Flickr user: richevenhouse

In the U.S., the separation of church and state sounds like a clear division. But sometimes that line is blurrier than you might think. There’s a law on the books in Michigan that makes it a misdemeanor to encourage people to vote a certain way by offering them inducements or by threatening them with punishments. For example, your employer can’t fire you because of your vote. The law was enacted in the 1950s and one section specifically prohibits religious leaders from threatening parishioners with excommunication over politics.

Detroit's Central United Methodist Church is already sheltering a family seeking political asylum.
via Wikipedia

At least eight Michigan houses of worship announced plans to form a “sanctuary network” on Tuesday.

Courtesy of Zarinah El-Amin Naeem

 

This coming Sunday brings the fourth annual Headwrap Expo & Fashion Show in Dearborn.

It will feature head wraps from a wide array of cultural and spiritual perspectives.

Courtesy of Jeff Smith

Faith is a very personal thing.

For some people, finding a faith that brings their lives meaning takes time and a whole lot of searching.

Bill Moser's family undertook such a journey, and eventually joined the Amish community in their search for a life that reflected their faith. Their story is told in a new book called Becoming Amish.

flickr user DryHundredFear / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

How do we break down stereotypes about each other?

That question has driven a Michigan State University journalism class to create a series of guides to help disassemble the myths and stereotypes about different groups in our country.

Bias Busters: Guides to Cultural Competence have been created by students. They're a series of questions and answers about African-Americans, East Asian cultures, Native Americans and more.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobthemagicdragon/7003917056

The Next Idea

Growing up in Chicago during the 1950s was a remarkably innocent experience for me. We lived in a bubble of post-WWII gratitude, and religious diversity meant only Christianity and Judaism. Tales like “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and “Aladdin and the Magic Carpet” were the closest I came to even hearing about Islam, which was called Mohammedanism then.

Church pew with hymnal
Bala Sivakumar / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Federal and local law enforcement officials are hosting a summit in Detroit on Monday to help area religious leaders make places of worship more secure.

The training session will focus on best practices during emergencies, including active shooter situations.

Attendees are also being encouraged to communicate more with each other, including making others aware of threats they've received or suspicious individuals.

An exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History displays the science behind evolution.
Flickr user Dom Dada / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Can strict Christian belief co-exist with science and the scientific view of evolution?

A West Michigan-based group called Biologos believes the answer is "yes."

Deborah Haarsma, the president of Biologos, is an astrophysicist and former chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College.

Flickr user Fernando Revilla / Flickr

Tomorrow, for the second consecutive month, will be a Friday the 13th.

Professor Phillips Stevens of the University of Buffalo, whose research includes topics such as cultural anthropology and religion, says this fear could have religious roots.

Buddha painting in Dambulla cave temple in Sri Lanka. People in Sri Lanka have practiced Theravada Buddhism for centuries.
Bernard Gagnon / wikimedia commons

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Michigan has received $2 million to establish the Thai Professorship of Theravada Buddhism.

The school says Thursday the gift will enhance one of the largest Buddhist studies programs in North America. The holder of the endowed chair will teach courses and conduct research to advance knowledge of Thai Buddhism.

FLICKR USER ISAAC "AYE MIRA" SANCHEZ / FLICKR

Matt Green said that Grindr, perhaps the best-known location-based gay dating app, is not only about looking for love or hookups. It can also be a platform for finding spiritual, or even religious connections.

Hailing from Ann Arbor, Green is a second-year rabbinical student at New York City’s Hebrew Union College. He’s known as “The Grindr Rabbi” and uses Grindr to reach out to gay Jews in New York City.

Green said it all started when he came back from rabbinical school in Israel last year. He downloaded Grindr and posted to his profile that he was on his way to becoming a Rabbi.

A brick church
User VanZandt / Flickr- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Before you roll your eyes and grumble about what society is coming to, just hear these churches out for a second. 

"It was painful to hear that so many people weren't getting ashes until the evening," says Reverend June Marshall-Smith of Novi United Methodist.

She says growing up, she always got ashes in the morning, "to remind me all day how my faith is guiding me during the Lenten season."  

"[But now] churches had gone to only evening services and no longer morning services. So I was providing a morning service, but people who were not members of my congregation were not coming to that.

Monks playing dungchen / Dechen Phodrang monastic school, Thimphu

A new study will create a digital sound map of religion in Midwestern cities by collecting sounds of worship – sounds like Gregorian chant, Muslim calls to prayer, and Native American chants.

The Religious Soundmap Project of the Global Midwest is led by Amy DeRogatis, an associate professor of religious studies at Michigan State University, and Isaac Weiner, an assistant professor of comparative studies at Ohio State University.

Here's one of our favorite love stories

Feb 11, 2015

We originally aired this story on Valentine's Day, 2012.

It packs a lot into three minutes: young love, religious intolerance, small town bigotry, and the difficult life decisions we all have to make. 

It ends with a high school reunion that changed everything.

73-year-old Judith Narrol and 74-year-old Ed Storement were married on Valentine's Day, 2012.  They tell us they couldn't be happier. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan and Ohio researchers are building a "sound map" of religion in Midwestern communities to explore religious diversity in a novel way.

Religious and comparative studies professors from Michigan State University and Ohio State University received a $30,000 grant from the Humanities without Walls consortium. It's funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Before dawn this morning, five Satanists erected what they call a "snaketivity" on the east lawn of the state Capitol.

A fake snake coils its body around the display, which features the phrase “The Greatest Gift is Knowledge.”

Jex Blackmore is with the Satanic Temple of Detroit. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This holiday season, two very different religious beliefs will be on display at the state Capitol in Lansing.

A small crowd sang Christmas carols outside the state Capitol today. They were there to see a small nativity scene erected. The figures of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph will stand in stark contrast to a display featuring a snake that Michigan Satanists plan to put up on Sunday. 

Jane and Ellen Knuth / Amazon

In 2008, like so many college graduates, Ellen Knuth was looking for a job. But unlike many grads Ellen found a job more than 6,000 miles away teaching English in Japan. All her mother could do was hope and worry from afar. 

Jane Knuth now has Ellen back home in Michigan and together they've written the new book Love Will Steer Me True: A Mother and Daughter's Conversations on Life, Love and God.

In addition to worrying about her daughter being halfway around the world, Jane had concerns for her daughter's spiritual well-being.

User: Linda Stephan / Interlochen Public Radio

More than 100 years ago, Methodist missionaries set up Indian Mission churches in northern Michigan. The goal was to bring Christianity and to do away with traditional American Indian beliefs.

Today the missions blend those traditions. But they serve small congregations that can’t afford to pay their pastors.

The United Methodist missions have survived with lots of financial help from the denomination, but now leaders say they have to scale back.

For one mission pastor, it feels like a broken promise.

Interlochen Public Radio’s Linda Stephan reported this story.  

* Listen to the story from Linda Stephan above.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group of Metro Detroit clergy leaders stood together Thursday to send a clear message: They support same-sex marriage and equal rights for LGBT people.

They also strongly condemned some of their fellow Michigan Christian leaders who are fighting to uphold the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Last week, a group of about 200, mostly Michigan-based black pastors declared that “the fight is on” to protect “traditional” marriage.

The festival in past years.
The Arab American News.com

The festival has been canceled for the second year in a row due to higher liability insurance costs for festival organizers.

The three-day festival in Dearborn celebrated Arab culture and was one the largest gatherings of Arab Americans in the U.S., but it also attracted anti-Islamic protestors and Christian missionaries from around the country.

Niraj Warikoo reports for the Detroit Free Press:

Tensions at the festival broke out in 2010 when a group of Christian missionaries arrived with video cameras to record their attempts to debate Muslims. Some were arrested for disturbing the peace, though later acquitted of most charges. Their arrests drew outrage from conservatives across the U.S.

Another Christian group filed a lawsuit against the city, saying the missionaries were restricted in where they could distribute their literature. In 2012, a separate group of Christians brought a pig’s head mounted on a pole with anti-Islam signs, resulting in some youth hurling bottles at them.

Warikoo reports that Dearborn was forced to pay $300,000 to the Christian missionaries arrested in 2010.

The Arab-American Chamber of Commerce says they’re still looking for ways to move forward with the festival.

Whitefish filets.
user Cheryl Q / Flickr

TRAVERSE CITY – Many fish markets in the Great Lakes region are running short of whitefish, and it's coming at a bad time: the Passover holiday.

Whitefish is a key ingredient in gefilte fish, a traditional Jewish dish that originates in eastern Europe. Recipes vary, but it often consists of ground fish, vegetables such as onion and carrots, and bread crumbs formed into loaves or balls.

The shortfall results partly from the bitterly cold winter that caused vast sections of the Great Lakes to freeze over. The ice cover kept some commercial fishing crews stuck in port. A drop in the whitefish population is also to blame.

Kevin Dean of Superior Fish Co. near Detroit says his latest shipment amounted to just 75 pounds, although he requested 500 pounds.

Kyle Norris/Michigan Radio

St. Henry’s in Lincoln Park held its first Mass on June 3, 1923 and its last Mass on March 2, 2014.

At the end of the church’s final Mass, parish members took the most important objects and walked them out the door.

The holy oils were carried by five members of the Olive family. Jackie and Bill Balmes carried out the marriage registry (they’ve been married for 65 years). Four men, including Jim Bomia and his two grandsons, lifted the crucifix off the wall (it weighed several hundred pounds), and walked it down the aisle and out the door.

LGBT flag
antiochla.edu / Antioch University

There can be little doubt that we are living at a time when our attitudes as a society are undergoing a tremendous shift in what we think of individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Recently, we spoke on this show with Michigan State University professor Charley Ballard, who directs the state of the state surveys. The most recent MSU survey found, for instance, that 54% of Michiganders support gay marriage, with 36% opposing it.

Just four years ago, gay marriage was opposed by 51% and favored by 48% of those surveyed.

That is the view from social science. But what about the view from the pulpit?

Ken Wilson is pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor. The evangelical minister has spent years wrestling with this question:  Where do we – as a Christian faith community – draw the line on the gay marriage issue?

His journey to rethinking his beliefs about where LBGT people fit into what he calls “the company of Jesus” is spelled out in his new book “A Letter to my Congregation:  An evangelical pastor's path to embracing people who are gay, lesbian and transgender into the company of Jesus.”

Listen to the full interview above. 

Central Michigan University

A college class that involves poring over ancient biblical texts might not inspire much excitement.

But a college class that teaches some of the same lessons using zombies? Ah, that's going to grab 'em!

That's the idea behind a religion class at Central Michigan University that has, indeed, grabbed a lot of attention. It's called "From Revelation to 'The Walking Dead,'" and it’s taught by religion professor Kelly Jean Murphy.

CMU student Carl Huber is a junior who is double-majoring in Comparative Religion and Sociology, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Nation of Islam's Farrakhan to speak in Detroit

Feb 23, 2014
NOI/Facebook

DETROIT (AP) - Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan will deliver the keynote speech on the final day of the movement's four-day convention in Detroit.

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones told participants at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday that Farrakhan had some "awesome words" when he addressed the council earlier.

Farrakhan's address is titled "How Strong is Our Foundation: Can We Survive?"

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