Megan Sweas

Writer, Editor, Student of Life



Los Angeles parishioners view documents’ release, Mahony suspension with anger, sadness

Published by National Catholic Reporter, February 4, 2012

Donald Kohles
Donald Kohles stood in protest outside the Los Angeles Cathedral Sunday. He said his nephew committed suicide after being abused by a priest in the 1980s.

LOS ANGELES — In parishes across the Los Angeles archdiocese Sunday, priests read a letter from Archbishop Jose Gomez about the court-ordered release of documents from clergy sex abuse cases and the relieving of his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, of public duties in the archdiocese for his role.

“Reading these files, reflecting on the wounds that were caused, has been the saddest experience I’ve had since becoming your archbishop in 2011,” Gomez said in the letter, made public last week.

Many Mass-goers declined to talk about the scandal, but their stoicism belied a mix of emotions among Los Angeles Catholics — anger, sadness, relief and vindication. …


National Catholic Reporter Endorses Women’s Ordination

Published by Religion Dispatches, December 6, 2012

With controversial issues, Catholic journalists must walk a fine line between not contradicting Church doctrine and raising issues that real people struggle with. But there is one issue that we cannot touch: women’s ordination. Continue reading “National Catholic Reporter Endorses Women’s Ordination”

Episcopalians under fire for hosting Muslim convention

Published by The Washington Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Christian Century, Religion News Service, December 6, 2012

Salam Al-Marayati, president of MPAC, addresses the negative response to his organization's convention.
Salam Al-Marayati, president of MPAC, talks to the press about the negative response to his organization’s convention.

PASADENA, Calif. (RNS) Leaders of a flagship progressive Episcopal church are defending themselves against charges of sympathy for terrorists in their decision to host the annual Muslim Public Affairs Council convention.

All Saints Church has received dozens of emails accusing it of condoning terrorism for hosting MPAC’s 12th annual convention on Dec. 15, the first held in a Christian church. …


Sultans of Satire aims to bridge gaps with Muslims, Arabs through comedy

Published by The Washington Post, The Christian Century, Sojourners, Huffington Post Religion, Religion News Service, October 31, 2012; The Houston Chronicle, November 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES — Unshaven and wearing a black hoodie and cap, Omar Elba looked out from the lectern, surrounded by a gold cross and organ pipes. “Moses, you are my nizzle fo’ shizzle,” said the Egyptian-born Muslim comedian, doing his best to channel Snoop Dogg.

It’s a joke he’s done before, but never in a church.

Continue reading “Sultans of Satire aims to bridge gaps with Muslims, Arabs through comedy”

Have you visited your local mosque lately?

Published by Huffington Post Religion, October 8, 2012

With the Southern California sun shining off its white marble walls and tall blue minaret, King Fahad Mosque in Culver City is hard to miss. But I almost did miss it.

As I turned my car around, I thought about how easy it would be to keep going straight instead of going to the mosque.

Continue reading “Have you visited your local mosque lately?”

UC-Irvine’s Muslim Student Union Battles Injustice

Published by Aslan Media, Inc. in three parts from September 21 to October 2, 2012

Aminah Galal counted 100 audience members at the presentation on Shariah law. It was a good turnout, and most, she noted, weren’t members of University of California – Irvine’s Muslim Student Union (MSU), which hosted the event.

But as Galal, vice president of the MSU, finished counting, the Q&A turned confrontational. Five of the six who asked questions were from a Christian ministry called Truth Defenders, and to them, true Muslims wouldn’t accept the speaker’s flexible interpretation of Shariah. Continue reading “UC-Irvine’s Muslim Student Union Battles Injustice”

Muslims respond to Islamophobia

After listening to a speaker defend Shariah, or Islamic law, as just and merciful last spring, a young Muslim found himself walking out of the auditorium with a member of a Christian group called Truth Defenders.

“Why do you follow the Prophet? He was a womanizer, terrorist,” the man said to Mohannad Abu Alrub, a member of the Muslim Student Union at University of California – Irvine. “That didn’t fly with me,” Alrub told me later. Continue reading “Muslims respond to Islamophobia”

Caste First, Christ Second, for Some Indian Christians

Published by Religion Dispatches, July 9, 2012

John Yesunatha Das describes himself as buffalo color. His dark skin makes him recognizable as a Dalit, or untouchable, in India, and it’s caused the Pentecostal pastor trouble over the years.

His seminary, for instance, didn’t consider him for positions upon graduation, even though, as he says, “I was one of the brilliant students” and would be in leadership right now if it weren’t for his caste. Continue reading “Caste First, Christ Second, for Some Indian Christians”

Cuba’s gay rights revolution

Published by GlobalPost, June 29, 2012

HAVANA, Cuba — Niurka says she is “halfway out of the closet” as a lesbian in Cuban society. She doesn’t talk about her sexuality in public, and she’s thankful nobody asks at work. But with her curly cropped hair and more masculine dress — most notably gym shoes on an island where most women prefer sandals — she says she can’t conceal it. Continue reading “Cuba’s gay rights revolution”

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