Kevin Steinberg, USN/Public Domain

For a country that's supposed to have separation of church and state, they sure get up in each other's business.

And that's not the only issue with religion in America.  Even different sects that pray to the same god can get into turf battles. 

Kenneth Woodward watched a lot of this happen in nearly 40 years as religion editor at Newsweek magazine.  He gives us an overview of the intermixture of religion, politics, and culture in that time and beyond, in his book Getting Religion.


  Claire Hoffman had "made it" in life, doing work she liked, living with family in Los Angeles. 

But something felt empty about it all, and she realized she missed her unusual upbringing in the Midwest. 

She grew up in a meditation community where she learned spiritual practices and beliefs that stick with her to the present day.  It was also a community that grew more insular over time. 

Claire Hoffman tells the full story in her book Greetings From Utopia Park

"Reverend Billy" in some people's minds should be followed by "Graham." 

But that's not the Reverend Billy we plan to talk to.  THIS Reverend Billy is known to public radio audiences for his appearances on West Coast Live and other shows. 

He is the leader of the Church of Stop Shopping, a collection of singers and performers who oppose consumerism, militarism, and other isms. 

S. Pakhrin/Wikimedia

When atheists gather, is it considered a congregation?

We'll find out by June, when atheists plan to gather by the thousands at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington for Reason Rally 2016

You hear plenty in the news about people who think religion should be okay in the "public square;" Reason Rally takes the opposite view. 


Ever notice that when the world shifted from polytheism to monotheism, the "mono" became male?  When there's one god, God tends to be a guy. 

Karen Garst certainly noticed, but as an Atheist, she stands a little further back from the proceedings.  As a feminist, she's right there. 

Garst writes about the expunging of the feminine from the divine in her book From God To Goddess, and spoke at Southern Oregon University. 

Harvard University Press

When you speak frequently about the coming end of the world, are you changing the world in the process? 

Washington State University professor Matthew Avery Sutton says yes, in his book American Apocalypse

Sutton cites the work of Billy Graham and fellow Christian pastors, making sense of nuclear weapons and communism by casting them as signs of the End Times. 

Drukpa Mila Center

Karma Namgyel Rinpoche practices a version of Tibetan Buddhism he learned in his native country, Bhutan. 

But he moves around between bases of operations of the Drukpa Mila Center in Oregon, and Colorado, as well as Bhutan. 

Here's our chance to learn about the Drukpa Kagyu branch of his faith, and some of its main tenets. 

Social Psychology Network

How many times have you listened to someone make a case for their beliefs, only to wonder "what are they THINKING?" 

Carol Tavris puts a lot of work into answering that question.   She is a psychologist who studies the way people develop and hold onto beliefs. 

The title of her Ashland lecture (May 5th) should give you a clue to her focus: "Self-Justifying Delusions." 

Tavris comes to Ashland as part of Southern Oregon University's theme for the year, "Revolution." 

Helping Non-Muslims Understand Muhammad

Jan 22, 2015
White Cloud Press

Scholar Steven Scholl has co-written a book that appears at first glance like one of those pocket guides to a tourist destination. 

It IS a pocket guide, but to one of the key figures in history. 

Scholl studies and writes about Islam and comparative religions, and his slender book is Muhammad: The Prophet of Islam

The book features words and pictures about the founder of Islam and the places connected to his life. 

The Angel Effect

Feb 3, 2014
Harper Collins

Not every debate falls neatly within science or religion. 

Take angels as an example.  Even people well-versed in science claim to have felt a presence or even seen a figure guiding them to safety amid calamity. 

Jesus, A Rabbi For The First Century

Dec 6, 2013
Paraclete Press

Christians claim Jesus as their savior, but it's helpful to remember that Jesus was himself a Jew. 

Ashland rabbi David Zaslow provides a reminder in  his book  Jesus: First-Century Rabbi.

Zaslow says his book is meant to help both Christians and Jews gain greater understanding of the origins of their respective faiths.

Living In The Shadow Of The Cross

Nov 18, 2013
New Society Publishers

Pope Francis is making headlines with his efforts to get the Catholic church focused on the needs of the poor and downtrodden.

These are the same needs activist Paul Kivel has attempted to address in his own work. 

Turning Against The Christian Right

Oct 17, 2013

Frank Schaeffer is the black sheep of his family. 

His mother is the evangelical writer Edith Schaeffer, and his family had a profound impact on Christianity and politics in America.