NXIVM: What you need to know

The bizarre, cultish group that made headlines for recruiting women to be “slaves” and “masters” has closed after its leader, Keith Raniere, was denied bail after appealing in court. Raniere’s cult, NXIVM, caught the public’s attention last fall when the New York Times published a detailed exposé that included graphic details about branding of female followers, coerced sexual acts and blackmail.

Pope Francis and Cardinal Sarah look at European Catholicism and do the math

(COMMENTARY) Europe was once the heart of Christendom and sent waves of missionaries around the world. Now it’s is suffering from "vocational sterility," in part because of a "dictatorship of money" that is seducing the young. In a recent speech to Italy's bishops, Pope Francis offered a sobering sound bite: "How many seminaries, churches, monasteries and convents will be closed in the next few years? God only knows."

Wearing Religion On Her Sleeve

Historically, Indonesian Muslims have worn loosely wrapped, somewhat transparent, colorful scarves. Now, the most common covering is the jilbab, an opaque square scarf which is tightly wrapped and pinned under the chin, and typically does not show any hair. For Muslims who do not wear one, it is enough to “cover their hearts.” But for *Aya and many other Muslim women, the ritual of physically covering her body is also important, as it puts the religious principle into practice — an external expression of an internal disposition.

Time for #SBCToo: 'Wrath of God' has fallen on the Southern Baptist Convention

Anger is timely, along with grief, as waves of #MeToo and #ChurchToo messages about sexual abuse and domestic violence have triggered a series of stunning headlines. Most have been linked to the work of Paige Patterson after news about sermons in which he critiqued a teen-aged girl's body, knocked female seminary students who weren't striving hard enough to be attractive, and advised an abused wife to stay with her husband rather than seeking legal help.

Fighting FGM is a spiritual war

Ann-Marie Wilson, a doctor of psychology and a midwife who trained in Pakistan, recently completed a paper on the origins of FGM, claiming that the mummies in the British Museum show clear signs of the practice. Now three countries, Egypt (97 per cent), Ethiopia and Indonesia (the most populous Muslim country in the world) account for more than half of the 200 million women and girls who have undergone what can be a life-threatening procedure.

The Archbishop of Delhi's Call for Prayer

Why has a letter by the Archbishop of Delhi to all the Parish priests and religious institutions in the Archdiocese of Delhi with the subject ‘Prayer for our nation’ created a firestorm in India? The media suddenly is abuzz after several different voices across the political spectrum cry foul that the letter is meant to divide the nation on communal lines. Notably, the right wing Hindu organization’s ideologue called it a "direct attack on secularism and democracy."

The State of Journalism in Argentina

Since the beginning of the Internet, traditional media has tried to adapt to new technologies and business models. Newspaper sales are declining and online media adds pressure as they compete for reader’s attention. Journalism in Argentina is now facing economic crisis. Our biggest newspapers, La Nación and Clarín, are reducing their staff while others close their doors. This is not only a newspaper problem, it is known that radio & TV stations are firing journalists, as well.