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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, April 14 2017

We examine a Judaic "wheel of the year." Thoughts on irreligion within the Hindu American community. And a look at the revival of religion within China. It's Faithful Friday, our news segment about faiths and religious communities from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

We Pagans take a lot of pride in the our wheel of the year, the catalogue of various festivals and holidays we celebrate throughout the year such as Beltane, Samhain, and Imbolc. But of course the concept is not unique to us. Many other faiths have their own version. At Patheos, Gregory Eran Gronbacher discusses the fundamentals of what could be described as a "Jewish Wheel of the Year."

As unsettling as Donald Trump's racist and xenophobic rhetoric is, it's important to remember he's not the only politician who bashes immigrants. Likewise, the U.S. is not alone in its appetite for politicians who use fear of Muslims or immigrants to ratchet up support. In fact, America's friendly northern neighbor can peddle in xenophobia too.

When social scientists talk about the growing body of "nones" within the United States, it is largely assumed they come from Christianity. And while that's more often true than not, Christians are not the only ones seeing friends and families abandon the faith. Anant Rambachan discusses the loss of faith among many American Hindus and how it is affecting the religion's identity within America.

When you think "Asian" you probably don't think "Christian." But in fact a very large number of Asian Americans are just that. Indeed, due to the persecution many face overseas, America is an attractive port of destination for many Christians living in Asia. Nonetheless, it isn't always easy in America. Often it's easy to feel alienated, both by fellow Christians and other Asians.

Meanwhile back in Asia, mainland China has been for generations a society subtly and sometimes not-so-subtly hostile to religion. While officially certain religious groups are tolerated, such toleration often comes at a price in civil liberties and other religious groups, like independent Christian churches or followers of the Falun Dafa movement are brutally repressed. Nonetheless, religion has found its way back to the surface in recent years and there is an increasing recognition of the deep roots spirituality has found among the country's citizens.

Top image by Terry Johnson

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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