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HuffPost Religion Round-Up: July 24-31

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It has been a busy week on HuffPost Religion. Starting with the ongoing debt ceiling "crisis" - that is only a crisis because some people find it moral that the richest Americans don't pay their share of taxes and instead idolize their ideology. Thankfully, there are still religious leaders testifying - this time by going to jail. Remember, God is watching. It is not often that I wish for a vengeful God, but sometimes...

As we pray with our sisters and brothers in Norway for understanding and healing, the question of the terrorist's identity came in focus this week. To the apparent shock of many - he is not Muslim. But does that mean that he is Christian?, European?, or most identifiably - a man.

Buddhism has a new rising star and while he looks like he would knock you out, the Karmapa is more likely to talk to you about the Dharma of planting a tree, living up to his 'title' as the 'Green Buddha.' Unfortunately he didn't make it on our list of the top 12 Buddhists to follow on Twitter - maybe next year. And what is Buddhism in the US without the Jews, or the JewBus? Well, our very own Josh Fleet writes about the growing movement of Jews who find they can meditate without the Bu - begging the question: Is the Jew Still In the Lotus? Interesting side piece by super Rabbi David Wolpe that defended animal sacrifice, because it made us more aware of animals. Now who is caring about all sentient beings?

The 'piece of the week' award goes to the moving post Was the World Powerless To Stop Amy Winehouse by Rabbi Shais Taub. Rabbi Taub writes about Judaism and addiction and his piece requires all of us to reflect upon our own responsibility to our neighbors who are hurting themselves or others.

While this next piece gets no special award, we cannot omit the viral video of the Best NASCAR prayer EVER. And just when you thought the prayer was great enough - then it got set to music. More noble minds than mine reflected on the significance of that prayer and what it says about public prayer in America; as well as what the prayer indicates about Evangelicals and masculinity. At least someone is taking the high road.

Hinduism hit the big time this week with a conference at the White House on civic engagement and seva - or service. It got me wondering how Hindu lobbying groups will affect the country in the future. We also had a great visit with Radhanath Swami this week at The Huffington Post offices to tape a Two Minutes of Wisdom video which will hopefully run next week. Meanwhile we loved learning about being a Hindu Monk in New York City, although I personally may not be up for the challenge - ah well, we all have our gifts.

A big Ramadan Kareem to our Muslim sisters and brothers who are about to begin celebrating this Holy Month. HuffPost Religion reporter/super-star Jaweed Kaleem wrote a wonderful piece about how young adult Muslims in New York were preparing for the fast - hint, it's about more than not eating. If you are looking for inspiration, Akbar Ahmed shared beautiful poetry with us from his new collection titled "Suspended Somewhere Between", and a couple of young Muslims prepared for their Ramadan by recalling last year's great American Ramadan road trip of 30 Mosques in 30 Days. They will be reporting back to HuffPost Religion over the coming month and we wish them safe travels and blessed adventures. Ramadan Mubarak to all.

We pray that help will come to all those who are affected by the devastating drought in Africa, as reported by World Vision president Richard Stearns. Ruth Messinger reminded me of this quote from Rabbi Heschel - "In a free society, some our guilty, but all are responsible." Let's care for and respect one another this week all across the world.

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