Spiritually Speaking - Crescenta Valley Weekly

QUESTION: Our son’s wife, I’ll call her Joan, just had a third miscarriage and has been told by her obstetrician that another pregnancy will seriously affect her health. Although our son Tom is sad, Joan is inconsolable. We don’t know what to say or if there is anything we can do. We all attend church regularly. We’ve often heard the saying, “What would Jesus do?”

We welcome any advice.

~ Caring In-laws

Dear Caring In-laws,

How fortunate Joan is to have such loving in-laws. Half of the ba

Spiritually Speaking - Crescenta Valley Weekly

QUESTION: How does one deal with the suicide of a friend? I’ve known this guy since we met in the ninth grade. We played sports together, and even took vacations with each other’s families. We couldn’t have been closer had we been brothers. We stayed in touch and I was best man at his wedding and he was best man at mine.

Fifteen years ago, my friend went overseas to work with his company, and we still stayed in communication. He did tell me his marriage was falling apart and his wife wanted to

Spiritually Speaking - Crescenta Valley Weekly

QUESTION: I overheard a conversation in a restroom at work that I wish I hadn’t heard. The individuals talking thought they were alone and I was in a back stall. They were discussing one of our bosses who they don’t like and were considering writing a negative letter about him to the corporate office. I know the boss they were talking about and know him to be honest, hard working and productive. I also know he doesn’t allow any shenanigans and these two (women) spend more time in conversation, c

In Theory: Is a National Day of Reason reasonable?

The American Humanist Assn., an advocacy group of nonbelievers and other secularists, is calling on Congress to recognize a National Day of Reason.

By design, the group wants the day to fall on the first Thursday in May, so it would accompany the 65-year-old National Day of Prayer.

“This is government recognition of prayer and that is wrong, no matter how you look at it,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Assn. “Having a National Day of Reason on the same day say

In Theory: How should our next president address extremism?

According to a recent Pew Research study, Americans are sharply divided, especially on party lines, as to how the next president of the United States should address Islamic extremism.

The poll found that 50% of Americans surveyed think our next leader should be careful to not criticize Islam as a whole when speaking out against extremism, while 40% want their president to speak bluntly, even if statements come off as critical of all Muslims.

When looking through the scope of party affiliation,

In Theory: A Russian court seems to equate prayer with money

A Russian regional court has ruled that an Orthodox Church diocese can repay part of its outstanding debt in prayers, the Associated Press reports.

The Nizhegorodsky Regional Court ruled earlier this month that the local Russian Orthodox Church can repay the 258,000 rubles ($3,244) it owes — along with 65,000 rubles ($817) in fines and legal fees — by praying for the health of the company that installed its boiler system.

Q. What do you think of the Russian court’s ruling?

What a strange stor

In Theory: Should religion hold sway over medical treatments?

A San Francisco judge’s recent ruling has led to new discussions about religion’s place in medical treatment.

Earlier this month Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith said Mercy Medical Center — a Catholic hospital in Redding — was not sexually discriminating against Rebecca Chamorro, who had requested a tubal ligation procedure. The judge said Chamorro could get the procedure at another hospital and that Mercy Medical Center’s policy against sterilization also applies to men.


In Theory: How faith factors into end-of-life services

More people are foregoing traditional burials in favor of cremation, and a major factor behind this trend is decreased religiosity, the Religion News Service’s Simon Davis reports.

This year, cremation is on track to surpass traditional burials for the first time, according to the funeral industry’s main trade group, the National Funeral Directors Assn.

The association, as well as other trade groups, partly attribute this trend to the rise of the so-called “religious nones,” as well as other p

In Theory: Recent study questions religion's role in altruism

Children raised in nonreligious households are more generous than those from religious families, according to a study published this month in the journal Current Biology.

In a test involving 1,170 children from various religious backgrounds and from seven cities around the world, nonreligious children were found to be more willing to share stickers with their peers and less likely to endorse harsh punishments for people who bumped into or pushed others.

“The researchers also found that the mor

In Theory: Is there a divide between religion and science?

The majority of Americans see science and religion in conflict, according to a Pew Research Center report. But as it turns out, when people are asked about their specific beliefs, they’re less likely to see conflict.

Nearly 60% of the 2,002 adults surveyed found conflict in 20 issues of science and religion, the Religion News Service reports. However, when pressed about their personal beliefs, only about 30% reported any conflict.

“The perception gap highlighted by the Pew analysis can be addr

In Theory: How important were the words of the pope?

During his trip to the United States, Pope Francis delivered a historic speech to Congress, urging politicians to come together to pursue “the common good.”

But as Francis became more specific in his concerns, “the pattern of applause in the House chamber made clear that papal calls to abolish the death penalty, welcome immigrants, combat climate change and work against income inequality were more welcome on the Democratic side than among Republicans,” according to the Los Angeles Times.


In Theory: Do Ashley Madison hackers have the moral high ground?

Computer hackers calling themselves the Impact Team made news in recent weeks after hacking into the affair-enabling website AshleyMadison.com and threatening to release the information of millions of users if the site’s parent company didn’t cease operations.

This week, the group appears to have made good on that threat, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Under the headline “Time’s Up!” the group released a data trove that has been analyzed by two information security firms and deemed legitimate

In Theory: Does #AllLivesMatter diminish the message of #BlackLivesMatter

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Race relations and police officers’ actions have been one of the major focal points in the media from that point, and still continue to be today, with the recent deaths of Sandra Bland and Sam DuBose sparking further calls for action.

The social-media rally #BlackLivesMatter has garnered much attention this past year as a state

In Theory: Should humanism be labeled a religion?

The Federal Bureau of Prisons will recognize humanism as a religion, after reaching a settlement in a lawsuit filed by an inmate.

Last year, the American Humanist Assn. sued the prison on behalf of a federal inmate in Oregon who wanted to form a humanist study group.

The settlement comes a year after the U.S. Army also announced it would do the same and may be a sign of a “broader government willingness to recognize humanism, a system of beliefs that recognizes no deity and emphasizes rational

In Theory: Is a city responsible for the homeless?

In a July 15 Q&A article with Patt Morrison for the Los Angeles Times, Alice Callaghan, a longtime advocate for the homeless, was critical of the city of Los Angeles’ policies and efforts to address homelessness on Skid Row.

When asked about the council’s ordinance limiting the time the homeless had to remove their possessions or risk getting them seized, Callaghan said, “The city’s overriding concern is not solving the homeless problem but the visibility of homeless.”

Callaghan said the reaso

In Theory: Was shooting also an attack on religion?

In a column published online by the Religion News Service, Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin addressed the murder of nine people on June 17, 2015 at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, S.C.

Salkin considers two narratives that have been discussed in the wake of the attack: that this was an act of terrorism, rooted in racism, by a white man, Dylann Roof, against black people, and that it was an attack on religion itself.

“Many on the right believe that Christians are now an aggri

In Theory: The Pentagon takes an inclusive stance

Protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation will now be part of the Defense Department’s equal-opportunity policy, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced Tuesday, June 9.

The Pentagon updated the department’s military equal-opportunity policy “to include sexual orientation, ensuring that the department, like the rest of the federal government, treats sexual-orientation-based discrimination the same way it treats discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, age and natio

In Theory: Is spirituality 'worse' than religious?

Speaking at the Skeptics Society Conference at Caltech late last month, author and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins addressed the recent Pew study, which showed that the number of people who identified with no particular faith had grown 22.8% between 2007 and 2014.

Although Dawkins said the rise of “nones” is “very good news,” he noted that many people are also describing themselves as spiritual but not religious. He expressed concern that those people may simply be exchanging their religion f

In Theory: Is the Boy Scouts of America's religious freedom being threatened?

Robert Gates, national president of the Boy Scouts of America, said last month he believes the organization’s ban on participation by openly gay adults “cannot be sustained” and called for a change to the policy.

In an op-ed published by the Deseret News, Drew Clark suggests that a successful lawsuit challenging the policy is a threat to religious freedom, especially if organizations founded on religious principles cannot set and exercise their membership policies as a result.

Clark writes tha

In Theory: What do you think of National Children's Day?

John Ross of Batavia, Ill. has spearheaded a movement to proclaim the second Sunday in June as National Children’s Day.

Thus far, Illinois has done so since 2007, as well as Aurora, Ill.; Batavia, Ill; Fort Collins, Colo.; and Vancouver, Wash., according to the organization’s website.

However, a recent effort calling on President Obama to officially proclaim National Children’s Day failed to gather enough signatures at WhiteHouse.gov — only 74 of the 100,000 signatures for the administration t