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The building code commissioner for Springfield, Mass., has sent a warning letter to a church that plans to become a sanctuary for immigrants facing deportation.

Iraq's military said ISIS destroyed the 12th century al-Nuri mosque in Mosul's Old City, where ISIS fighters remain, on Wednesday.

The Great Mosque of al-Nuri, a medieval mosque with the tall, leaning al-Hadba minaret, was the site where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made a rare public appearance and, in July 2014, declared the group's "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria.

Everfalling / flickr

All cults are not created equal. From the wide array of beliefs they teach, to the variety of people who are involved, cults are as different from each other as are officially recognized religions.

Lukascb / Creative Commons

A key group organized in response to clergy sex abuse in the Diocese of Bridgeport has disbanded.

Gabriel Kronisch / Creative Commons

My dream donut is smothered in vanilla frosting, rolled in toasted coconut and filled with lemon cream...mmm donuts.  

Donuts have been part of peoples lives for more than a thousand years -  in ceremony, in houses of worship, even police precincts.  Donuts mean different things to different people but bring different people together as one. Some credit donuts for helping American troops win WWI. We'll tell you that story. But first, tell us yours. 

By heading straight to the homelands of Islam, Judaism and Christianity on his first presidential trip, Donald Trump took a major risk. The possibility of offending his hosts somewhere along the way with an ill-considered tweet or offhand remark loomed large. Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican are places where appearances matter and words must be chosen carefully.

NASA

Over the weekend, President Trump spoke to leaders from Muslim countries in Riyadh. Today and tomorrow, he visits Israel and the West Bank. And Wednesday, it's on to Rome and The Vatican. The Scramble looks at the religious side of Trump's first presidential trip abroad.

The fight against terrorism is a "battle between good and evil," not a fight between "different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations," President Trump said Sunday in a widely-anticipated speech in Saudi Arabia.

This is Trump's first foreign trip as president, and he delivered the address to leaders of dozens of Arab and Muslim-majority nations. The Saudis said at least 37 leaders are present, NPR's Jane Arraf reported from Riyadh.

Joanne C Sullivan/flickr creative commons

At the end of June, 26 Catholic churches in the state are set to close. Some will be sold, while others could be converted to youth centers, homeless shelters, or other types of facilities. In addition, 59 churches will merge with others as part of a restructuring plan recently announced by the Hartford Archdiocese.

Tony Webster / Creative Commons

In the last 50 years, Sunday mass attendance in the Archdiocese of Hartford has declined 70 percent, and the number of active priests is down 65 percent. So it’s not a surprise that the Archdiocese is closing down and merging churches across the state -- from 212 to 127. This hour, we talk about the local mergers with priests and parishioners. 

Jonathan Lewis / Creative Commons

The Hartford Archdiocese has announced big changes for its churches. 

President Trump is set to sign an executive order on Thursday that aims to relax restrictions on political activity by religious groups without threatening their tax-exempt status.

Jonathan Grado / flickr

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.

Vector Portal / Creative Commons

Al Capone told everyone who asked him what he did for a living that he was a "property owner and taxpayer in Chicago." He was really a powerful multimillionaire in 1920s Chicago who made money from the illegal sale of alcohol during Prohibition and the vices that usually accompanied it: gambling and prostitution.

Lori Mack/WNPR

Representatives from religious, cultural, and civil rights organizations met with law enforcement in New Haven on Monday to discuss hate crimes. Members of 17 organizations participated in a training session where they viewed a film on what to do in the case of an active shooter scenario and how to respond to bomb threats.

A church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, that civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois attended as a young man may have a new lease on life. 

The Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church is on the National Register of Historic Places, but has been closed for a few years and has fallen into disrepair. Now community members are buying the 130-year-old structure, with hopes of renovating it.

Documentary About LGBTQ Clergy Comes To Yale

Apr 3, 2017
Brian Talbot / Flickr

A new documentary is being screened at Yale Divinity School. "Out of Order" follows five LGBTQ people who face challenges in the Presbyterian ordination process.

S-Town Podcast/Serial Podcast/This American Life

S-Town is the new, wimpily titled, seven-hour, non-fiction, southern gothic novel of a podcast that the folks behind Serial and This American Life released all at once this Tuesday, and The Nose has listened to the whole thing.

Some of us even listened to it all at once this Tuesday.

Shirley Buxton / Flickr

Tensions in America run deep. They exist between the right and the left, between the religious and the secular, and between the rich and the poor. And in recent years, tensions between the citizens at large and their elected officials -- which seem less responsive to the will of the people -- gave rise to a wave of populism like we've rarely seen before.

Connecticut Democrats Propose Hate Crime Legislation

Mar 16, 2017
TiAnna Taylor / WNPR

After recent high-profile incidents in Connecticut, Democratic lawmakers and local advocates hope to strengthen Connecticut’s hate crime laws. 

Controversial feminist activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali gave a lecture that drew about 500 people to Fairfield University on International Women’s Day this week.

TiAnna Taylor / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has reiterated his opposition to the Trump administration’s reissued travel ban, which ends refugee resettlement and travel from six majority Muslim countries. 

City Year / Creative Commons

A high-profile former skinhead will be speaking in Connecticut Wednesday. His talk follows several incidents of phoned-in bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers in Connecticut and across the country. The event is hosted by the Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut, and focuses on the story of how a white supremacist went from extremist to activist. 

Twitter

President Trump's revised executive order makes several changes to the earlier version that was rejected by the courts. It takes Iraq off the list, but some Muslims in Connecticut said it has the same underlying theme.

wackystuff / flickr creative commons

The Faust myth comes from a German folktale that's centuries old. But does a day of your life go by where you don't hear someone invoking the "I'd sell my soul for x" cliche?

Just look at coffee Twitter every morning.

Centralpark.com

Sam Waterston says he's been been lucky to have good fortune in his career and personal life. He's been nominated multiple times for Emmy, Academy, and Tony Awards and he won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards for performances playing men whose moral compass points north.  

Lori Mack/WNPR

Jewish community centers in Connecticut and across the country have been the target of phoned-in bomb threats. In response, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro met with members of the Jewish community in Woodbridge, where they’ve received two threats -- the most recent about two weeks ago. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said state businesses and institutions are being harmed by the Trump administration’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. 

C-SPAN

President Donald Trump's first National Prayer Breakfast was notable -- not only for his criticism of "The Apprentice" host, actor Arnold Scwarzenegger -- but for his promise to "destroy" the Johnson Amendment.

Canadian authorities say a 27-year-old man was solely responsible for the armed attack on a Quebec City mosque on Sunday.

The man, who has been identified as Alexandre Bissonnette, faces 11 charges: six counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder. In a brief appearance in court he did not enter a plea.

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