Religious Studies

Pope Francis supports same-sex unions

The Catholic Church has long stated that marriage is between a man and a woman, a position Pope Francis supports. Melissa Wilde and Anthea Butler discuss the Pope’s recent support of civil unions that ensure legal rights for same-sex couples.

Kristina García

A food journey across the Middle East

During a summer internship with Professor Heather J. Sharkey, four undergrads studied oranges, olive oil, coffee, and sorghum in an effort to understand their political, nutritional, and emotional value to the region.

Michele W. Berger

Understanding death

In the latest episode of Penn Today’s “Understand This ...” podcast series, assistant professor of Religious Studies Jolyon Thomas and Director of Pastoral Services James Browning explore dialogues around death.

Brandon Baker

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In the News

The Conversation

Afghanistan’s war rug industry distorts the reality of everyday trauma

Jamal J. Elias of the School of Arts & Sciences wrote about the war rug market in Afghanistan, arguing that collectors and journalists tend to mistakenly view the weavings as reflections of the creator’s worldview. Instead, said Elias, it’s the rug brokers and dealers who determine the motifs. “Ultimately, Afghan war rugs are produced for the market,” he wrote.


The Washington Post

Gina Stewart becomes first woman elected to lead US Black Baptist organization

Anthea Butler of the School of Arts & Sciences commented on Gina Stewart’s selection as president of the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society. “I think it is significant, important, and past time for a woman to be in leadership in Black Baptist circles, missions or otherwise,” said Butler. “Women are the fundraisers and foundation of the church.”


The Washington Post

Anti-vaxxers are claiming centuries of Jewish suffering to look like martyrs

Simcha Gross of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about how clothing was used to separate religious groups in the Middle Ages. “In Islam, distinction of clothing was part of a range of regulations that differentiated between Muslims and certain kinds of non-Muslims, which have their own lengthy and complicated history,” he said.




Heather Sharkey of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about the history of interreligious contact in Iraq. “What we’ve seen in the last 20 years since 2003 has been very acute, and there were challenges that led to the slight attrition of Christians steadily over time, which reduced their numbers in the long run,” she said. “But by and large, it is a history of people getting along well and that bodes well for the future of different religious communities in Iraq.”


“All Things Considered,” National Public Radio

After Falwell’s departure, Liberty students worry about their school and their faith

Michele Margolis of the School of Arts & Sciences says that young evangelicals are more progressive than previous generations on some issues but don’t seem to be moving away from the Republican Party overall.


The Washington Post

New study in ‘Science’: Medieval Catholicism explains the differences between cultures to this day

Coren Apicella of the School of Arts and Sciences commented on a new study that found a correlation between countries with longer histories of exposure to Catholicism and lower measures of kinship intensity. “This is the only theory that I am aware of that attempts to explain broad patterns of human psychology on a global scale,” she said.