Friday's News & Ideas

  • U.S. help Yazidi in Iraq
  • Less-educated losing religion
  • Ebola backlash
  • WWBJD?
  • No more prayer discounts at diner
  • Syrian chants preserved before war

U.S. air strikes to help Iraq’s Yazidis have come at the 11th hourThe Guardian: They practice maybe the oldest religion in the world. And now, after at least 6,000 years, they are in danger of being exterminated. Five days after jihadist forces triggered mass emigration in northern Iraq, the west is acting to avert the Yazidis' extinction -- let’s hope it is not too late.The Telegraph: Death of a religion: Isis and the YazidiThe Guardian: Iraq's largest Christian town abandoned as Isis advance continues

Losing religion at college? New study flips the common wisdomReligion News Service: A new study shows that it’s the least-educated members of Generation X -- people born roughly between 1965 and 1980 -- who are “most likely to leave religion.”Ebola comments prompt Christian backlash against Coulter, Trump and CarsonReligion News Service: Prominent conservative voices are criticizing the decision to bring two medical missionaries who contracted Ebola back to the United States for treatment. But they are facing a backlash from the mainstream Christian establishment, especially evangelicals, for whom overseas missionary work is an article of faith.

'Boondocks' creator asks, 'What would black Jesus do?'NPR: "Black Jesus," a new show premiering Thursday on Adult Swim, is about, well, a black Jesus. Set in contemporary south Los Angeles, it presents a Jesus roaming around a neighborhood filled with liquor stores, mini-marts and people praying for help.

Winston-Salem's Mary’s Gourmet Diner drops prayer discountNews & Record: Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, N.C., has announced it will no longer offer occasional discounts to people who pray before eating, citing the threat of legal action.

The Spark

Before war, a punk drummer preserved Syrian chantsThe music would be haunting under any circumstances. But the story behind these recordings of ancient sacred music makes it heartbreaking. Before the civil war in Syria destroyed ancient religious sites — and scattered some of the oldest Christian communities in the world -- Jason Hamacher made several trips there, taking photos and recording ancient Sufi and Christian chants. Hamacher, who is a drummer in punk bands in Washington, D.C.,  ended up staying as a guest of the archbishop, who has since been kidnapped by rebels.

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