Religion at the airport

If a Catholic should pull out rosary beads on an airplane, or a nun or a monk went through airport security in a religious habit, it would probably not raise suspicions. Many, if not most, security agents are familiar with these symbols.

But what about a Sikh turban or ceremonial dagger? Or a Muslim head scarf? Or what about the Jewish teenager who boarded a plane at La Guardia airport in January 2010 and began to pray by taking out his Teffilin, a set of small prayer boxes that are wrapped around the arm and head. To the flight attendant, it looked suspicious, like he was strapping himself in cables or wires. The pilots decided to land the plane…..and the 17 year old became known in the media as the “Teffilin Terrorist.”

This week, on the public radio program I host, "Interfaith Voices," we ask: should the TSA be doing more religious sensitivity training? Or is this the new reality of flying-while-religious?

We also hear about the wonderfully diverse ministry of an airport chaplain at Dulles International Airport, and we continue “World Religions 101” with an introduction to Confucianism, an emerging religious influence in the new China.

This week, we celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of our podcast, NCR in Conversation. Catch the latest episode here.

Here’s the link if you want to listen:

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