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Illustration by Chion Wolf, candy corn photo by Skeeze on Pixabay

This hour, visit a West Hartford history professor’s eye-opening Halloween display about Black Lives Matter and Covid-19, and hear what passersby think of it.

Erich Ferdinand / Creative Commons

Religious scholar Elaine Pagels trusted the Gospel of Thomas to get her through the almost unbearably painful years after the death of her six-year-old son -- born with a congenital heart defect -- followed one year later by the unexpected death of her husband. 

Walking with Dante

Jul 12, 2020
FreeParking / Creative Commons

"Dante's Inferno" is the most famous section of Dante Aligheri's 14,000 line epic poem, The Divine Comedy. But it's only the first part of Dante's long pilgrimage through the afterlife. He first enters the circles of hell, filled with beasts and sinners doomed to the Inferno for crimes like gluttony, lust, and treason. 

self-isolation connecticut
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

COVID-19 has brought death much closer to everyday life for many in Connecticut and around the world. But it’s also had a big impact on how we memorialize and mourn the dead.

Gilad Raphaelli / Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we’re starting at the end: Death.

Knowledge of our mortality affects almost everything about us. And lately, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, death is on our phones, in the headlines, and in the air.

This is the ninth and final episode of US in the Time of Coronavirus.

We’ve surpassed 100,000 deaths in our country, and more than 3,826 deaths here in Connecticut as of Friday, May 20th. These numbers aren’t just numbers. They’re mothers, daughters, sisters, fathers, brothers and sons; Grandmas and grandpas, and best friends.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Shortly after the pandemic shifted our weekday work scenario from one of shared space and bursts of spontaneous conversation, to one hour-long weekly Zoom meeting, Colin shared his urge to sit down with a few old friends to talk about life in the shadow of a pandemic. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Who would have guessed a face mask would become the latest cultural symbol of our identity, one more way to express our politics, our sense of style, and our deepest beliefs in what it means to be American.

Berlin Mosque
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Praying together in a mosque could put Muslims at risk of catching COVID-19, so mosques are closed to the public.

That makes for a very different celebration of the holy month of Ramadan in 2020. It means that special evening prayers must be done at home.

Wikimedia Commons

In March, President Trump blamed our global pandemic on China. When that didn't work, he blamed the World Health Organization (WHO) for not responding quickly enough to the virus. When that didn't work, he blamed governors for not getting their own supplies. Now, he says immigrants will take away American jobs.

The Bible defines a scapegoat as one of two kid goats. One goat was sacrificed and the living “scapegoat” was supposed to absorb the sins of the community and carry them into the wilderness. Is that what's happening here? Are the president's scapegoats supposed to carry away the sins of Mr. Trump?

CEA

Before the pandemic, most of us craved of a little solitude away from the hustle of life. Now, we've been  been thrust into a form of solitude far from the idleness of the lazy summer afternoon we imagined. Our minds are restless with uncertainty and fear and without the usual distractions we turn toward when being alone with ourselves becomes too painful to confront. 

Church
Jim McIntosh / Creative Commons

For Catholics marking Holy Week – the final days of lent leading up to the Easter celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ – worship is much different than last year.

Joey Zanotti / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s Holy Week for many Americans, a heightened time of prayer and meditation and looking inward. But it doesn’t matter what your religion is, or if you don’t feel compelled to engage with religion at all. It seems like every one of us has been looking inward in the past month or so.

This hour, Rev. Dr. Shelley Best on how she, as a faith leader, is making sense of all this. What does this pain and death mean - if anything at all? How is she reconnecting with her communities, and how is she finding comfort for herself?

Urban Hope Refuge Church
Tyler Russell/Connecticut Public

For Christians around the world in self-isolation, the celebration of Easter will be a stark reminder of the impact coronavirus has on their lives.

A pastor in Hartford's North End will bring his congregation together for Easter while still practicing social distancing -- it’s called an Easter drive-in service.

family zoom
Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

For many Jewish families, staying safe and staying home because of the coronavirus meant that this year's Passover dinner took place using technology.

passover dinner
Courtesy: Congregation Mishkan Israel

Sundown marks the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover, or Pesach. It’s a time when families gather for a Seder meal and the annual recounting of the Jews’ deliverance from slavery to freedom. But this year is different from all other years. Social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic means most homes will not be physically open to welcome family and friends.

Worship in the Time of Coronavirus

Apr 2, 2020
Wikipedia Commons

Churches across the states have temporarily shut down. Easter, Passover and Ramdan are all rapidly approaching and many will not be able to gather and celebrate. 

This hour, we talk to religious leaders and learn how they're navigating worship and virtual religious services.

Yujin =) / Flickr

From ancient mixtures of boiled goat fats and ashes to modern artisanal soaps with calendula and coffee grinds, humans have been inventing clever ways of cleaning themselves since the very beginning.

This quest for cleanliness has wound its way through religion, sexuality, culture, and more. It has been the source of everything from comedies to conflicts to consumer crazes. This hour we talk to experts and historians about the history of hygiene.

George W. Bush White House

The threat of COVID-19 transmission is hampering our ability to celebrate the lives of those who die as the epidemic continues.

As Coronavirus Spreads, Church Leaders Weigh The Needs Of Congregants

Mar 22, 2020
Melanie Stengel / C-HIT

As an ordained pastor, the Rev. Robyn Anderson will preach via the web Sunday, sharing a message of hope and healing with members of Blackwell AME Zion Church as her parishioners deal with the economic and personal toll brought on by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The essential duties of a hospital chaplain happen on-site where patients are treated, so it’s hard to work from home at a time when employers are encouraging social distancing to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Jonathan Grado / Flickr Creative Commons

Life after death, in one form or another,  has been examined by multiple disciplines for centuries: From theology, to physics, to philosophy, to medicine and more. But while the topic is taken seriously by some, it remains a focus of ridicule and skepticism by others.

Robert C. Demarest / Wikimedia Commons

Ram Dass' 1971 book, "Be Here Now," was the gateway drug into spirituality for a lot of young people seeking answers in the era of Vietnam.

Dass first tried being a psychology professor at Harvard, where he and colleague Timothy Leary, sought God through experiments with psychedelics. Then, he went to India and found his guru, who taught him how to feel high without the drugs. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A recent stabbing at a Hanukkah gathering in New York has local leaders in the Jewish community worrying about acts of anti-Semitism taking place in Connecticut.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Lawmakers and state leaders joined members of the Jewish community at a vigil in West Hartford Monday evening, in solidarity with the victims of a stabbing attack in New York.

Updated at 3:16 p.m. ET

Federal prosecutors in New York have filed hate crime charges against the man accused of carrying out a stabbing rampage north of New York City over the weekend that wounded five people as they celebrated Hanukkah.

There's a good chance that President Trump knows that the stain of impeachment will be part of his legacy. And as damning details about the president's behavior trickle out, we're realizing how much we still don't know. This may explain why impeachment may be more popular than we realize.

David Howard / Creative Commons

Christianity Today, an evangelical Christian publication founded by Billy Graham in 1956, published an editorial Thursday by editor-in-chief Mark Galli, calling for President Trump to be removed from office. 

Chion Wolf photo / Connecticut Public Radio

The holidays are traditionally a time of celebration and good cheer. But for many, this season of joy compounds feelings of sadness, stress, and loneliness. Many places of worship respond to those who are hurting during the holidays with what’s called a “Blue Christmas” worship service.

Crandall “CJ” Yopp

Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean is a Quinnipiac University professor and author of Identity Politics in the United States. 

Earlier this month, she sat down with us in front of a live audience to talk about the book, which paints identity politics -- a term often associated with modern-day elections -- in a new, historical light.

This hour, we listen back to our conversation, and we also hear from you. 

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