Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, December 9

A look at how Confucianism continues to shape China, even under communist rule. How Sioux spirituality influenced the Standing Rock protests in North Dakota. And a disheartening story of Buddhist immigrants becoming the subject of discrimination in the United States. It's Faithful Friday, our segment on faiths and religious communities from around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Sometimes regarded as the Chinese counterpart to Christianity (insofar as its impact on the country's culture and politics), Confucianism experienced a sharp rebuke from Chinese leadership during the early years of communist rule. Now, however, Confucianism appears to be back on the rise and with the tacit endorsement of Chinese state officials. The South China Morning Post takes a look at the ways in which spirituality shapes the lives of modern Chinese people.

Many people are by now familiar with the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. But what many might not know is how the protests were influenced by indigenous beliefs held by the Sioux tribe. Religion News Service has more details at their website.

One of the fastest growing religions in China is, interesting enough, Christianity. But it's also unclear how fast it's growing, because a very large portion of China's Christian population practices their beliefs in secret, outside of the eye (or so they hope) of the Chinese government. The Spectator's Yuan Ren investigates these "illicit" or "secret" churches of China.

If you've been paying attention to the intersection of religion and politics in the United States, you may have become aware of a strange trend: a tendency for activists on the far right to praise Israel while simultaneously bashing and denigrating Jews in the United States. Look no further than Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's chief strategist. At The Huffington Post, Carol Kuruvilla examines what makes the pro-Israel, anti-Semitic alt right tick.

And in case you thought only Hispanic Americans or Muslim Americans were the target of xenophobic hatred this story will, sadly, disappoint you. Buddhist writer Justin Whitaker comments on the growing antipathy towards Buddhist immigrants from Asia, who likewise are perceived as alien and "un-American."

Top image by Gerard Willemsen

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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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