My former Kansas City Star colleague Matt Scofield reports from Turkey that Muslims there aren't especially hopeful about the pope's upcoming visit. Should they be?
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NAMING NAMES OF RELIGIOUS OPPRESSORS
Uzbekistan says it should not be on an official U.S. list of countries that are intolerant of religious freedom. Well, maybe, but I'm thinking the U.S. is right in this case. When I was in Uzbekistan in 2002, Western diplomatic sources told me and other journalists that the country had about 6,500 people in prison primarily for being too religious -- that is, giving public expression to conservative religious (mostly Islamic) traditions. Some of those 6,500 were, of course, simply bad guys, terrorists who are part of the fanatic Islamic movement. But a Human Rights Watch worker told us that most of them are imprisoned wrongly. At the same time, however, we discovered Christian missionaries from Korea at work in Uzbekistan seeking converts.
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PAYING ATTENTION AS WINTER NEARS
The Buddhists tell us to be mindful.
We forget to look around us, forget to taste what we're eating, to notice the texture of the world around us.
We just live, just survive.
So from time to time, I like to wander around my yard and my neighborhood and simply notice things, simply practice being mindful. Every religious tradition urges adherents to pay attention to -- and care for -- the creation.
But that's not easy to do if you aren't mindful of what's in the creation.
So today, I simply give you some photos of what I was mindful of as I took a walk the other day, and I urge you to be mindful of the beauty all around you, even as we move toward a season of death, a season of slowing down and renewing ourselves for what the new year and its spring will offer to us.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.
Today''s religious holidays: Christ the King (Christian, 26th); Day of the Covenant (Baha'i, 26th)