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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, April 15

A Jewish intellectual discusses the dilemma of protecting Jews abroad and opposing the repression of Arabs in Israel. A transgender Mormon explains why he's sticking with his faith. And members of Iran's ancient Zoroastrian faith face the challenges that come with dating outside of their religion. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly segment on news about faiths and religious communities from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

The term mindfulness is often associated with religions like Buddhism or Hinduism, but it also has a tradition within Abrahamic traditions as well. Progressive Christian writer Steve Robertson discusses the importance of mindfulness, paying attention, and courage in the Western religious tradition.

Jewish liberals in the West often find themselves in a difficult and precarious position. On the one hand, they have a natural inclination to support Israel, a state created to provide a homeland for the millions of Jews around the world who are frequently harassed and oppressed. On the other hand, they may feel uneasy about Israel's policies towards the native Arab Palestinians. Jewish writer Robert Cohen discusses this dilemma at Patheos.

Being gay and Mormon in America is notoriously difficult. Imagine then being transgender and Mormon. But while some might be tempted to abandon the church and seek a different religious path, Emmett Claren isn't letting himself be dissuaded. At The Huffington Post he explains why.

Gender issues have in many ways come to the fore recently with the rise of both LGBT politics and an increasing gender divided between the two major political parties of the United States. But how does gender identity affect religion? Public opinion researching firm Pew Research takes a look at how the world's male and female halves differ when it comes to religion.

Today, Iran describes itself as an "Islamic republic" and the Shia branch of Islam reigns dominant. But it wasn't always so. Before the rise of Islam, Iran's dominant religion was the Zoroastrian faith (also known as Mazdaism), a monotheistic religion born from the same roots as Hinduism. Today, Zoroastrians are a tiny minority. Which can be difficult when it comes to dating, especially since many Zoroastrian leaders disapprove of interfaith marriage.

Top image by David Shankbone

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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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