lukas udstuen

Lukas Udstuen / KBIA/Project 573

One in five Americans now report having no religious affiliation. This number is increasing rapidly. And church attendance in America and Europe is increasing.

But our communities are filled with instances of people finding meaning outside of religion. The Boone County Veterans of Foreign Wars post, for example, offers veterans a place to unite around their experiences of serving in war. While people find meaning in all sorts of places, the VFW in many ways resembles a church.

Lukas Udstuen / KBIA

More than 100 people crowded into Columbia's Rock Bridge Christian Church last night to celebrate and say goodbye to Columbia businessman Shakir Hamoodi. Next week, Hamoodi is expected to begin a three year federal prison sentence. He earlier pled guilty to sending about $200,000 to family, friends and charities in his native Iraq from 1991 to 2003. Many of the speakers at the event echoed a similar theme: A conflict between what is legal and what is just. Investigators found no evidence that Hamoodi was aiding the Iraqi government through the financial contributions.