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The Other “Values Voters” in Alabama

posted on December 13, 2017

CNN’s Dan Burke writes, “Going into the Senate race in Alabama, much of the attention was focused on Republican Roy Moore’s conservative Christian base.” They did, with exit polls showing 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Moore. “But Moore lost in large part because another group of ‘values voters’ — African-American women — voted overwhelmingly for his opponent, Doug Jones. A whopping 98% of black women voters cast their ballots for Jones, giving the Democrat a huge boost, exit polls show,” Burke writes. “Black women, and men for that matter, aren’t usually categorized as ‘values voters’ in the media, which usually reserve that term for conservative white Christians. But perhaps it’s well past time for that to change.”

Read at CNN

A State in Bondage to its Past Confronts a Difficult Choice for Senate

posted on December 12, 2017

Yahoo News‘ Jon Ward reports from Alabama as voters go to the polls in the special election between Roy Moore and Doug Jones. He talks to a variety of voters, from a white evangelical pastor to an establishment Republican activist to a black Baptist minister. The Rev. Oscar Montgomery, pastor of Union Hill Primitive Baptist Church in Huntsville, told Ward: “There are some who refuse to believe that our vote can make a difference. There’s this prevailing belief among many that the majority are totally spiritually and morally bankrupt. Those whites, if they had an ounce of morality, would be forced to vote for Jones.”

Read at Yahoo News

How Politics Might Sour the #MeToo Movement

posted on December 11, 2017

For POLITICO, the John C. Danforth Center’s own R. Marie Griffith writes about the historic impact of politics on debates about religion, sexual assault, and power. Griffith recounts that the 1990s experienced an outpouring of sexual assault scandals, similar to what we see today. She explains, “In navigating the sexual harassment debate, conservative Christians both appropriated and distanced themselves from contemporary feminist commitments and ideas.” This selective concern, Griffith suggests, continues today: “We’ll all have to acknowledge that we are primed to believe the accounts of those with whom we share affinities and to disbelieve those with whom we don’t.”

Read at POLITICO Magazine

A Mind-Bending Translation of the New Testament

posted on December 11, 2017

The Atlantic’s James Parker writes about David Bentley Hart’s provocative translation of the New Testament, which was published in October. Hart explains, “I have elected to produce an almost pitilessly literal translation; many of my departures from received practices are simply my efforts to make the original text as visible as possible through the palimpsest of its translation.” Parker adds of the text, “Oddness, in fact, might be the signature – the breakthrough, even – of Hart’s translation. No committee prose here, no compromises or waterings-down: This is one man in grim submission to the kinks and quirks of the New Testament’s authors.”

Read at The Atlantic

A Buddhist Teacher on What the Living Can Learn from the Dying

posted on December 11, 2017

Vox’s Sean Illing interviews Frank Ostaseski, an expert on end-of-life care who uses Buddhism to inform his work. Ostaseski explains, “Facing death is considered fundamental in the Buddhist tradition. Death is seen as a final stage of growth. Our daily practices of mindfulness and compassion cultivate the wholesome mental, emotional, and physical qualities that prepare us to meet the inevitable.” He adds, “People often discover at the time of their death that they’re much more than the small, separate self they’ve taken themselves to be.”

Read at Vox

3 Hurt When Bomb Strapped to Man Explodes in NY Subway

posted on December 11, 2017

The Associated Press’s Colleen Long reports, “A man inspired by the Islamic State group set off a crude pipe bomb strapped to his body Monday in a crowded subway corridor near Times Square, injuring the man, slightly wounding three others and sending New York commuters fleeing in terror through the smoky passageway.” The suspect, 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, was reportedly inspired by the Islamic State terrorist group but had no direct contact with it. In a news conference following the attack Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “Let’s go back to work. We’re not going to allow them to disrupt us.”

Read at The Associated Press

How Does it Feel to Be a Doug Jones Supporter in Alabama?

posted on December 7, 2017

The New Yorker’s Alexis Okeowo writes about the rise of Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate in Alabama’s upcoming U.S. Senate race. Jones, a lawyer and progressive civil-rights advocate from Birmingham, is running against Republican Senator Roy Moore, a Christian evangelical ally who is facing several accusations of sexual assault. Okeowo notes, “The election could hinge on the conservative ideals that Moore still claims to represent, including in the matter of abortion.”

Read at The New Yorker

Religious Leaders Divided Over Trump’s Jerusalem Decision

posted on December 7, 2017

NPR’s Tom Gjelten reports, “President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and his order to move the U.S. Embassy brought quick and sharply differing reactions from Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders.” Wednesday’s decision was especially embraced by evangelical Christians, according to Gjelten. He writes, “Evangelicals feel a special kinship with Jerusalem as the city where they believe Jesus Christ was crucified and rose again. Some sects even take an eschatological view, arguing that Jesus will return to Earth in Jerusalem, once all Jews are reunited there.”

Read at NPR

State Department Warns of Violence Ahead of Trump Jerusalem Decision

posted on December 1, 2017

POLITICO’s Nahal Toosi reports, “The State Department has warned American embassies worldwide to heighten security ahead of a possible announcement Wednesday by President Donald Trump that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Toosi writes, “Some Arab leaders have implored Trump not to change longstanding American policy on Jerusalem, saying it could make any peace agreement impossible and that it would spark mass protests and even terrorism.” The warning comes as Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, works to facilitate peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Read at POLITICO

This Supreme Court Case is About Cake. But it Could Change LGBT Rights

posted on December 1, 2017

TIME’s Elizabeth Dias reports that the Supreme Court will hear a case on Tuesday concerning whether or not businesses can reject customers on religious grounds. Five years ago, Jack Phillps refused to bake a cake for a gay couple, and he was sued for discrimination. Dias writes, “Phillips argues his case is not about gay marriage, but about freedom of expression, as he refuses to create cakes for all things he morally opposes, including Halloween, anti-America events and bachelor parties.”

Read at TIME