This story is part of the special Harvest Public Media series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

As Highway 30 enters Denison, Iowa, a city of 8,000, the national fast food chains stand next to Mexican groceries and restaurants. In this small city near the Nebraska border, waves of immigrants have been arriving since at least the 1980s.

A growing number of health care providers are recognizing the importance of incorporating spiritual care in medicine.

As The Huffington Post reports, health care professionals are often trained to disregard spirituality and religion when dealing with patients.

Dr. Christina Puchalski is one of a growing number of medical providers bucking that trend.


The most recent examples of hate crimes in Colorado, Colorado Public Radio reports, included carvings of swastikas on playground equipment in Longmont, which was preceded by two other reports of hate imagery in that area over the summer.

An apparent rise nationwide in these types of crimes is prompting advocacy groups across the country to push for better tracking of hate crimes.

Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post

In the United States, churches and religious organizations are supposed to be above politics. In fact, churches can risk losing their tax-exempt status if they promote individual political candidates.

The Denver Post has published an in-depth examination of how Colorado houses of worship are handling the challenge in this, the most contentious presidential race in decades.

An Amarillo author has written two books aimed at introducing nationwide audiences to the world’s religions, using everyday language. Jason Boyett’s latest book, on the 12 major religions of the world, becomes available today.

Boyett grew up Southern Baptist, but in school he became fascinated with religions different from his own. He says his main goal with the new book was to be fair, and he sees the work as an effort to explain rather than convince. “Every religion has something from which we could learn,” Boyett added.

Atheists in rural Colorado are pushing back against Christians, who recently made Bibles available for free to local middle and high school students by leaving them on tables designated for pamphlet and book giveaways. In response, the atheists left Satanic activity books on the tables. They also left pamphlets discussing topics like sex in the Bible and problems with the Ten Commandments, according to The Rural Blog.

Folks in Groom, Texas, may have a spiritual bone to pick with the Texans down on the coast. For over 20 years, Groom has been home to the largest freestanding cross in North America. But if all goes to plan, one day Corpus Christi will be home to the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere, reports The Houston Chronicle.

OK Capitol Removes Ten Commandments Monument

Oct 20, 2015
Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Late last Monday night, workers came to the Oklahoma Capitol Grounds and quietly removed a massive stone monument depicting the Ten Commandments, reports The New York Times. The move came at the 11th hour; the state was facing a court-ordered deadline of Monday to remove the monument.

Documentary Examines Religion and Governance in Texas

Oct 16, 2015

The Texas Tribune has produced a  documentary on the role of faith in the Texas legislature. While 23 percent of Texans to don profess to be Christians, in recent years mentions of the Christian God on the floor of the Texas Legislature have increased. The film investigates the causes--and effects--of increasing faith-based lawmaking.

The Satanic Temple

The Satanic Temple started a campaign in December to place a monument of their own next to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol according to The Economist.

The years have not been easy for Polk Street United Methodist Church, but facing challenges within the church and in Amarillo has become the legacy of Amarillo’s oldest church according to a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.  

Vox Veniae, a church in East Austin, Texas, has discovered a unique path to blending people of different colors and cultures, as well as reflecting the place they live. The key? Being a good neighbor who engages and participates in the world. A great lesson no matter where you live on the high plains. Don't miss the video- Rev. Gideon Tsang shares insightful perspective.