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Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

Astronauts and religion

Communion on the Moon: The Religious Experience in Space.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 22, 2012 - 35 comments

"I felt like I'd been catapulted from one end of the universe to the other"

This weekend marks the time of the Hajj, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God. Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat and the ritual stoning of Shaitan to the circling of the sacred Kaaba (the shrouded cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily) and kissing the Black Stone (colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite). While the city has modernized to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich, and tent cities the size of Seattle -- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders. Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise to write a rare travelogue, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt], a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey. Browse the manual to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 4, 2011 - 31 comments

Say 'Hebbo' to Tarvuism!

Say 'Hebbo' to Tarvuism. Learn more at the Tarvupedia. It's SO easy to join!
posted by jack_mo on Oct 10, 2008 - 21 comments

Dear God. Prayers for the modern world.

Dear God is a global project for people around the world to share their innermost hopes - and fears - through prayer. Some photos NSFW.
posted by ColdChef on Apr 13, 2008 - 39 comments

Aegroto, dum anima est, spes esse dicitur

Prayer as placebo. Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found. And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested.
posted by The Jesse Helms on Mar 31, 2006 - 137 comments

People began the prayer session at 10 a.m. by chanting "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus."

People began the prayer session at 10 a.m. by chanting "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." A judge's ruling barred the Indiana House of Representatives from invoking the name of Jesus or any other specific deity in official prayers. That didn't prevent the lawmakers for holding their own prayer, nor did it keep about 30 people from gathering in the Statehouse rotunda this morning to pray. In fact, the ruling motivated them.
posted by mountainmambo on Jan 5, 2006 - 97 comments

Mixed gender prayer today, hellfire tomorrow

Amina Wadud has stirred up controversy before. But this time, some think she's gone too far when she led the (Muslim) Friday prayer at a church in NY (mosques wouldn't take them, and an art gallery backed off after a bomb threat). Traditionalists are foaming, while progressives are cheering here on.
posted by sour cream on Mar 19, 2005 - 54 comments

And I pray you can make it better down here. I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer

Pray For Reason is a call to Americans of all religions and belief systems who want to see their country's policies at home and abroad based on facts, history, and reasonable thought processes.
My favorite: Dear God (in all your forms), protect us from those humans among us who wish to direct the destiny of the world for their own gain. Bring them humility, compassion and enlightenment, and allow them to see the interconnection of all beings. (Or bring down upon them a rain of burning rocks, whichever strikes your fancy.) Amen
posted by amberglow on Jun 11, 2004 - 10 comments

Allah forgive them--they're imbeciles

Have You Prayed Today?*
Today is the National Day of Prayer in the US (I had never heard of it). Oliver North!?! is the honorary chairman this year. Here are the President's remarks today. Meanwhile, Larry Flynt is calling for a different sort of prayer today.
*Muslims and Mormons need not apply.
"We're in an election year, and we believe God cares who's in those positions of authority," said Mark Fried, spokesman for the National Day of Prayer Task Force. "But we're not endorsing a candidate, just praying that God's hand will be on the election." The private task force, which operates from the Colorado headquarters of the Christian organization Focus on the Family ....
... since the mid-1980s the ceremony has been organized by the nonprofit task force headed by two prominent evangelical women: Vonette Bright, widow of Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, and Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. She also made no apologies about the task force's exclusion of Muslims and others outside of the "Judeo-Christian tradition" from ceremonies planned by the task force on Capitol Hill and in state capitals across the country. "They are free to have their own national day of prayer if they want to," she said. "We are a Christian task force."

posted by amberglow on May 6, 2004 - 26 comments

even I hadn't heard of this before.

Online Prayer Labyrinth This is an online translation of the Cathedral Labyrinth created by London alternative worship groups Grace, LOPE, and Epicentre. It is currently touring UK Cathedrals during 2001 - 2003. Youth For Christ are running/hosting the tour. The original is described as 'an interactive installation for spiritual journeys'. It consists of a pathway mapped out on the floor for visitors to follow. During this journey participants pause and listen to a piece of music and a meditation. They also undertake some symbolic action or ritual.
posted by konolia on Feb 18, 2004 - 4 comments

The Presidential Prayer Team

Pray for Paul Wolfowitz Many across America and Americans in other countries are heeding the call to pray for our President. In a short time since the September 11 terrorist attacks, well over a million people have registered their promise to pray daily for the President. That number is increasing by tens of thousands of new team members every day. News of The Presidential Prayer Team is spreading rapidly throughout America as people march to the tempo of an almost forgotten tune, "God Bless America." The independent, nonprofit organization behind The Presidential Prayer Team, has a singular purpose: to encourage specific nationwide prayer for the President. The goal is to enlist at least 2.8 million participants, or 1% of the American population, to make this prayer commitment.
posted by Slimemonster on Aug 22, 2003 - 75 comments

Does vomiting count as fasting? Then sign me up for this one!

Fast for George W. Bush. "If you are willing to fast at least one day a month primarily for George W. Bush's holiness (and other areas, such as bipartisan work among the Democrats and Republicans, Wisdom in his work, wisdom for his cabinet, healing for our nation, etc. ... but primarily holiness) then we encourage you to sign up and join us [...] Our goal is to have 1,000 people fasting for the President each day. That will greatly encourage him and keep him accountable when the Evil One seeks to sidetrack him from his commitment to the Lord. "
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Feb 24, 2003 - 92 comments

Hail Mary, full of....

Hail Mary, full of.... um.... what was that, again? The only Pope many of us have known, John Paul II, has decided that a millenium is long enough to change a prayer. Odd that two millenia are not enough to revisit female and married priests.
posted by dwivian on Oct 14, 2002 - 39 comments

Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General Government. --Thomas Jefferson
posted by rushmc on May 2, 2002 - 25 comments

Atheists feel alienated by calls for prayer

Atheists feel alienated by calls for prayer and the media finally noticed. I've only been able to find this Associated Press lagniappe in one online newspaper. Has anyone seen it elsewhere? Perhaps the other media outlets just haven't picked it up yet. (We ARE the largest minority, you know.)
posted by UrbanFigaro on Oct 11, 2001 - 87 comments

"We

"We wish to dissent against the using of the Capitol rotunda and other governmental buildings for prayer meetings that focus on Christian or monotheistic ceremonies." Comments?
posted by semmi on Oct 4, 2001 - 31 comments

Stenberg v. Carhart

Stenberg v. Carhart Interesting points (no pun intended): "consider a law that violates the principle of separation of church and state by mandating that each public school day begin with a sectarian prayer. The primary purpose of that law would be to advance [a] religion. ...In contrast, consider a law with the proper and constitutional purpose of promoting good citizenship, for example, a law requiring students to recite the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of the public school day. Unlike the school prayer law, this law would not be invalid ... However, it would be unconstitutional ... Forcing those students to recite the pledge would violate their First Amendment rights because the right to speak includes the right not to speak."
posted by greyscale on Apr 27, 2000 - 6 comments

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