How religion motivates people to give and serve

Read article in The Conversation

According to Giving USA, the leading annual report of philanthropy in America, religious contributions (narrowly defined as giving to houses of worship, denominations, missionary societies and religious media) made up 32 percent of all giving in America in 2016.

Another study found that 73 percent of all American giving went to a house of worship or a religiously identified organization.

Read the whole article here in The Conversation


Irish church aims to end stigma for the children of priests

Article in AP

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Bishops in Ireland have created detailed guidelines to address an issue the Roman Catholic Church has tried to keep under wraps for centuries: the plight of children born to Catholic priests and the women who bear them.

The policy, approved in May and made public recently, states that the wellbeing of the child is paramount. It says the mother must be respected and involved in decision-making, and that the priest “should face up to his responsibilities — personal, legal, moral and financial.”

Read the entire article at AP

India’s top court: Instant divorce among Muslims unlawful

AP article here

The decision was widely lauded by women’s rights activists as a step toward granting Muslim women greater equality and justice.

“It’s a very happy day for us. It’s a historic day,” said Zakia Soman, the co-founder of the Indian Muslim Women’s Movement, which was part of the legal battle to end triple talaq.

Read the entire article here

Those Who Commit Violence in the Name of Religion Act “Not from Faith, but from Hate”

Statement from KAICIID

It may evoke a sense of frustration or tiredness to read these sorts of statements. The content can feel vapid, predictable, obvious.

Even so, peace organizations have an obligation to speak out and be on the record. Especially in this case, there is real sadness, because Spain was an original signatory that made the founding of KAICIID possible.

Even when “there is nothing one can say,” we still thank KAICIID for being quick and clear, and pray that the work of KAICIID, and all conscientious peace groups can somehow and someday find a way to success in vanquishing those who are committed to violence, harm, and pain and human sadness.

The KAICIID Board of Directors issued today the following statement following the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, Spain on 17 August 2017:

“We are appalled by the news of the vicious terror attacks against innocent people in Spain yesterday. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those who have lost loved ones in this attack, to the people of Barcelona and Cambrils, and to the people of Spain.

We are faced with growing terrorist violence against innocents. We reiterate our conviction that anyone who seeks to justify violence through manipulation of religious teachings acts not from faith, but from hate. Terrorists who misuse religion to recruit others to their cause are committing a crime against their faith. Any person who believes that his religion allows him to commit violence against an innocent has been deceived by people seeking to exploit him.

The people of Spain have been steadfast friends of dialogue, and unwavering in their belief in the benefits of diversity and difference. This commitment to peace will prove stronger than the actions of the perpetrators of this attack, who seek to sow fear and hate through violence. We stand with the people of Spain in these sad times.”

Spain is a founding member of the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID)


Ya Gotta Stand for Something

This widely published article by IRFWP director Frank Kaufmann, is presented here due to its strong core statement on interfaith.

Ya gotta stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything, the title of an Aaron Tippin song, naturally was quoted in David French‘s cool and fun piece in National Review, “Post-Christian America: Gullible, Intolerant, and Superstitious,” where he argues that the decline of religion is replaced not by reason but by superstition.
Post-Christian America: Gullible, Intolerant, and Superstitious” is the kind of piece in which beleaguered doers of good can find solace, the one’s whose basic, old time values, and humble and sacrificial ways have them reliably and constantly villified as as bigots, and the cause of problems. The piece suffers a smidge from the cheapness and easiness of “us-and-them” writing. Its DNA has a taste of “embattled.” But still it is a good and helpful piece. In fact the troops do need a little shoring up now and then, giving the salt of the earth a moment to feel proud for choosing good, honest, faithful ways of life, and for their efforts every day to translate their blessedness into lives that help others.

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Interfaith Delegation at Peace Starts With Me Rally

On Saturday, July 15, 2017, IRFWP director Frank Kaufmann, in support of rally organizers, convened an interreligious delegation to attend the public Peace Starts with Me rally, held at Madison Square Garden.

Prior to the rally, spiritual leaders met and offered commentary to press covering the event

Special thanks for great support for the delegation goes to Guru Dileepkumar Thankappan

See photos of the leaders and the rally here