"I want to especially challenge white Christians in America to take seriously the deadly legacy of slavery in our country."
Allison Shelley / Reuters
Pope Francis' visit to Egypt April 28-29 is important, as the direction the country takes - peace or continued volatility - will greatly impact the entire region. If Egypt can become a model of stability through interfaith dialogue, reconciliation and a desire to work for the common good, it may very well be the road map to lasting peace in the Middle East.
Khlongwangchao via Getty Images
Think, "Hope." Then think, "Franklin Graham." Now put them together in a sentence that reads: "Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham." If you haven't heard, now imagine a rally supported by a broad swath of the Christian community in the greater Vancouver community.
Slaven Vlasic via Getty Images
May the source of all these mysteries guide us home.
sot via Getty Images
As I watched the saga surrounding Kim Burrell's homophobic sermon unfold over the last week, I made several attempts to speak about it and could not. Why? Because I was afraid of what might have come out of my big lesbian mouth. I was too furious to write and I wanted this piece to reflect the ideals of my rainbow family.
White Packert via Getty Images
News headlines throughout 2016 were unrelentingly mortifying, bleak and despairing. Just this week - a Russian ambassador assassinated live on camera in Turkey, shoppers run down at a Christmas market...
Paper Boat London via Getty Images
One of the most devastating arguments against the Bible was gained for me when I became a dad. All those years in church. All those theology degrees earned -- even an M.A. in Christian apologetics, an...
David McNew via Getty Images
This persecution has personally affected me and continues to cause me great pain, grief and sorrow. I'd like to fall in love with Pakistan again, but something holds me back. It seems to be fear of continuing to lose those that I love most. And so, I have to ask, O Pakistan, when will you stop?
Four years after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the emergence of BLM both as a political and social movement, the Christian church has largely failed to advocate for the lives of black people. At times silent and at others deliberately distancing itself from BLM, the church has sent a clear message: Black lives do not matter.
Paper Boat London via Getty Images
If our social media profiles can tint in support of Paris, Belgium, and Orlando, then why not change for Turkey, Bangladesh, and Iraq? Innocent lives taken in Turkey airport, and no vigils, or landmarks, but when an attack of similar degree took place in Brussels we did all of the above. I'm often asked why Muslims don't speak out enough, but perhaps this is something we all need to work on.
Jessica Kourkounis via Getty Images
Is it too much to ask in the 21st century to self-identify based on the beliefs you hold so dearly? After all, who has the right to tell me who I am and who I'm not? Apparently the Pakistani government does, who have declared the Ahmadiyya community "infidel" and non-Muslim since the infamous ruling in 1974.
Ocskaymark via Getty Images
In the wake of this tragedy in Orlando, it is important that we Christians do something to show the world that we are outraged, that we care. Because honestly? We have not done a good job of showing love to the LGBTQ2 community.
castillodominici via Getty Images
In Western culture, the dominating monotheistic religions have been a strong influence in alienating women from their own bodies by enforcing the belief that menstruating women are unclean and spiritually inferior. Judaism, Christianity and Islam view menstruation as a punishment from God.
jackof via Getty Images
People keep telling me I need to allow my kids to make their own decisions about religion. I disagree. I find that kind of equivalency to be as false as the prophets who represent the superstitions that stop people from thinking about science, or human rights, or rationalism.
Dan Kitwood via Getty Images
"Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere." These words of Martin Luther King Jr. accurately describe the world crisis we live in today. To avoid war and attacks as such, all nations must come together for the greater good and unite in their efforts to stop all forms of cruelty, persecution and injustice perpetrated in the name of religion or else wise.
FAROOQ NAEEM via Getty Images
There are times when bounced checks or the penalties for arrears exceed the cost of a payday loan. To end payday lending -- even if it is predatory -- might leave people worse off. What is needed is a better loan, and to get that, we need a better market that re-balances the interests of the lenders and the borrower.
daoleduc via Getty Images
As Toronto was getting ready in the first week of March to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Pakistan Minority Minister Shahbaz Bhatti's assassination, the Government of Pakistan hanged a man, Mumtaz Qadri, for the brutal murder of Punjab province's governor, Salman Taseer.
SIphotography via Getty Images
A list of the terms our society uses to describe payday lenders almost tells you everything you need to know. It reads a bit like a description of a B-grade horror film: predators, thieves, vampires, slave-drivers, or (my favourite) rapacious usurers. But if they're so awful, why are they everywhere? Why is it that, despite a seemingly universal hatred for them, they have popped up like mushrooms in cities across Canada?
Stefano Stefani via Getty Images
I was 14 and shocked by all the criticisms suddenly blind-siding me. They ranged from making me believe I was an (almost) slut to something as vague as, "Shake my hand and commit to 'trying harder.'" To this day I wonder how much harder I could try. I already had a 4.0 GPA.
Paper Boat Creative via Getty Images
"Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you." This verse, objectively radical given its relevance today, is particularly applicable in the context of terrorist violence, where strangers are willing to viciously stab, shoot and murder total strangers. One need only think back to the Paris attacks and ask: how can such hatred be justified?
Dave and Les Jacobs/Lloyd Dobbie via Getty Images
There is much commonality between religions in urging us to overcome our attachments to money, property and the material, to give generously of ourselves in as many ways as possible, and to realize that nothing is ours. In many ways, it's a call to overcome our selfish nature and to realize our deep interconnectedness with each other and all of creation.
There are people who are alone, cold, sad, unwell, or struggling -- and they are all around us. We can help in simple ways.
Germany is witnessing an unprecedented surge of asylum-seekers this year, with the number of migrants expected to reach 800,000 this year.
Fuse via Getty Images
Congratulations to me on having finally arrived at that wonderful place wherein it doesn't matter to me if people don't find me bright, interesting, engaging, articulate or attractive. I am finally -- at 52 -- happy with who I am. I have finally decided that I have things to say that are worth taking note of.
Joanna Sieranska via Getty Images
Think Easter started as a Christian holiday? Think again. This spring holiday began as, and still is, a very pagan one. In fact, Easter itself is named after a pagan goddess who was worshipped for centuries before Christ.
Uwe Krejci via Getty Images
When it comes to solving climate change, we have all the technological solutions we need. But as the recent climate talks in Lima reaffirmed, political solutions remain more elusive, largely because of the vastly different perspectives of developed and developing nations. As well, it seems we as individuals have a ways to go, both in thought and action.
Erik Isakson via Getty Images
Despite spending most of my life as an atheist, I have come to realize that spirituality is part of the human condition. So is the ability to think for oneself, to follow one's own moral compass and to challenge stereotypes that others have created for their own purposes. If you agree, you might have a spark of Vesta's ancient fire in you after all.
jackof via Getty Images
I think it is time to challenge the stereotypes surrounding modern paganism and its various beliefs. It has so much to offer, from its fascinating history and cultural influence to its contemporary efforts to create a better world.
Ali A. Rizvi recently wrote an open letter to "moderate Muslims." I'm not sure if Rizvi's letter was directed toward me, as I don't measure my faith in chicken wing flavours, but I'm going to respond anyway. Rizvi's good will doesn't last long as he immediately begins to lecture Muslims about our "increasingly waning credibility" in the West.
Historically, prejudice of any kind could be freely expressed with few repercussions (emotional, legal, or otherwise) so long as there was a reasonable justification. Religion has often served as the justification, and has therefore facilitated an array of prejudice, from racism to sexism to homophobia. Over time, the use of religious beliefs to justify prejudice has tended to decline, but still persists -- especially when it comes to homosexuality.
You do have the freedom to say what you want. You don't have the freedom to escape the fallout from your words. When you are a bigot -- and I use the word without malice -- you are trying to block another human being from having the same rights you have. You can feel however you want to feel. There is nothing wrong with your religious or philosophical beliefs, and in our society, you are free to practice them and believe what you wish. But freedom of speech does not carry a get-out-of-jail-free card.
According to a Facebook post of his estranged son, Nathan, Fred Phelps Sr, the founder of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, is dying. In life, Phelps evaded prison on several occasions, and in my view at least he'll also escape the punishments of the non-existent hereafter. Westboro Baptist continues to picket funerals and to applaud every American misfortune, from earthquakes to school mass shootings, as the glorious work of an angry, hateful and vindictive God. But hate in all its forms is not the work of God, but instead of small and broken people.