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Religious Outreach to Veterans – Amid accusations of bureaucratic mismanagement, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ new acting secretary, Sloan Gibson, has pledged to move all veterans off waiting lists and into medical care as quickly as possible.  He said the VA will work with public and private organizations to get vets the services they need. Last year, the VA launched a new initiative to partner with faith-based groups to reach out to vets.   Kim Lawton reports that more and more religious congregations are providing veterans with practical help, and also with emotional help to address what many call the “moral injuries” sustained during war.

Dhammakaya TempleLucky Severson reports that the enormous and controversial Dhammakaya Temple in Thailand  is part of a growing Buddhist movement that teaches spiritual power in mass meditation and worldly success through donations to the movement.  Critics label it an un-Buddhist “prosperity gospel,” but the Dhammakaya  movement has centers now in 30 countries.

Belief and Practice, Upanayanam – A look at the traditional Upanayanam “coming of age” ceremony where Hindu boys between the ages of 8 and 16 receive a sacred thread which symbolizes the start of their formal spiritual education.  Dr. Siva Subramanian, founder of the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in suburban Washington D.C., describes the elaborate rituals and chants in the two-day ceremony.


Lindsey Bernstein


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