Religion

Amy Laura Hall has organized the Labor Sabbath movement in North Carolina.
hearldsun.org

Some North Carolinians cringe at the phrase ‘labor union.’ 

In the right to work state, some opponents say unions cause harm to private businesses and do not benefit workers. This weekend in churches, synagogues and other holy places some clergy will talk about unions as part of a Labor Sabbath movement.  

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET.

When Jordan Smith got her tab after breakfast at Mary's Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, N.C., she was pleasantly surprised to find a 15 percent discount — for "praying in public."

Raleigh Catholic Diocese
The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh

Catholic parishioners in the Raleigh Diocese can expect the ground to be turned on their new cathedral by the end of the year.

Plans have been underway for years to raise $41 million to build a “mother church” for the people of the Raleigh Diocese.

Bishop Michael Burbidge heads the Raleigh Diocese.

“We will build what the people of God let us build, so this was a good faith campaign," said Burbidge.

Bishop Gene Robinson says he and his husband, Mark Andrew, are getting a divorce. The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, Robinson retired last year, a decade after his election alienated many conservative Anglicans.

The pair had been together for 25 years. Robinson disclosed the divorce this weekend, in an email to the Diocese of New Hampshire and in a column for The Daily Beast in which he wrote:

Krista Bremer and her book, My Accidental Jihad
the author

My Accidental Jihad is a book Krista Bremer never imagined that she'd write. Krista is a surfer, she'd  grown up in a secular middle-class California family, dreaming of "a comfortable American life of adventure, romance, and opportunity."

Then she met Ismail. When Krista discovered she was pregnant, the two joined their lives. Ismail seemed to come from another world. He'd been raised in a fishing village in Libya, one of eight children. His parents are illiterate. His family was raised Muslim.

Duke Chapel
Skip Bradley / Flickr/Creative Commons

Duke Chapel is closing to the public May 11, 2015 for a year-long restoration project. The ceiling will be worked on and the original chapel roof will be replaced. Crews will also work to restore the stained-glass windows and woodwork.

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban's Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn't.

Nate Phelps, son of Westboro Barptist Church founder Fred Phelps
Nate Phelps

The pastor of the much-reviled Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, has died at age 84. Phelps' message became synonymous with hatred. The pastor and his family made it a point to carry signs at funerals saying, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” They showed up to events with signs that read, “God Hates Fags.”

Nate Phelps is the sixth of Fred’s 13 children. He describes his father as verbally and physically abusive. When he was 18, Nate ran away from home and from religion.

In recent years Nate found himself publicly squaring off with his father and siblings to reverse their legacy of intolerance. He lives in Calgary, Canada, where he has become a public speaker who champions LGBT rights and raises awareness about the connection between extreme religion and child abuse. He is currently writing a book about his life and is the subject of an upcoming documentary. He spoke with Dick Gordon in 2012. The story, "Son of a Bigot," was featured on Salon.com.

Listen to Nate Phelps' conversation with Dick Gordon from 2012:

Here are some highlights of the conversation:

What was your childhood like?

Kristin Bedford

Photographer Kristin Bedford spent five weeks living with the followers of Father Divine and learning about their religion. She photographed their lives. Her exhibit, The Presence of Father Divine, has been postponed.

Apostles of Reason by Molly Worthen
http://global.oup.com/ / Oxford University Press

    

Evangelical Christians are a diverse group with similar questions but vastly different answers. 

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