Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, June 17

Jewish leaders speak about the need to protect trans lives. Native Americans protest the appropriation of artifacts from their culture. And Chinese and Taiwanese scholars mourn the loss of a Confucian philosopher from among their number. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly segment on faiths and religious communities from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

In the wake of the Orlando shootings a great amount of attention is being paid now to the violence being waged against LGBTQ members of our society. A few weeks ago several Conservative Jewish rabbis passed a resolution affirming the rights of transgender and non-binary persons as God's children. You can read more at The Huffington Post.

People often talk about cultural appropriation, a serious issue wherein the traditions and beliefs of endangered cultures are imitated and altered without the permission of the culture in question. But appropriation, of course, can be about more than just ideas. Late last month several Native American / American Indian leaders and U.S. State Department officials protested an auction selling objects sacred to indigenous cultures in France.

Spirituality and religion are often very personal, intimate things. When we share them we want to feel like we're in a safe space, which explains the prevalence of special organizations and locations which tend to those needs. However, sometimes danger lurks in plain sight. In response to issues of sexual predation within the Jewish religious community (and others), Jewish writer Chaya Kurtz shares some thoughts on how to spot sexual predators in a religious community.

The sports world recently lost an icon when Muhammad Ali, a boxing legend and African-American hero, died after a decades-long battle with Parkinson's disease. But Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., was more than a hero to sports fans and African-Americans. He was also one of America's most prominent Muslim celebrities.

Another notable religious figure also died recently on the other side of the Pacific. Liu Shu-hsien, one of the leading scholars of modern Ruism (aka Confucianism) died in Taipei early this month. Writing for The South China Morning Post, Sabrina Fu reflects on all that Liu meant to the modern Confucian community and Chinese philosophy.

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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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