RAP Sheet

Pope Wraps up Africa Visit with Warning about Religious Conflicts

posted on November 30, 2015

Tonny Onyulo of USA Today reports, “Pope Francis wrapped up his six-day trip to Africa in the war-torn Central Africa Republic on Monday by warning that religious conflicts are spawning civil war, terrorism and suffering throughout the continent.” On his final day, Francis visited a mosque in Koudoukou where he called for an end to the violence between Muslims and Christians. Francis said, “Together we must say no to hatred, to revenge and to violence, especially violence perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself.”

Read at USA Today

The Refugee Dilemma

posted on November 30, 2015

At The New Yorker, Rachel Aviv writes about the plight of refugees in the United States, and the fear they face of being forced to return to the conflict from which they fled. Aviv reports on Nelson Kargbo, a refugee from Sierra Leone and former child soldier who fought deportation and endured a long stay in prison in order to remain in the United States. “The idea that he had a ‘story’ to tell appeared to strike him as unseemly, as if the details could reactivate the past—an attitude that hurt him during his legal proceedings,” Aviv writes. “He answered the judges’ questions with as few words as possible, the register of his voice barely changing. The numbness with which he described traumatic experiences made him appear as if he were bored by the memories.”

Read at The New Yorker

Carson Names an Evangelical Millennial as Faith Adviser — The Third GOP Candidate To Do So

posted on November 30, 2015

Michelle Boorstein of The Washington Post reports that as competition for the evangelical vote increases in the Republican primaries, Ben Carson has named a special faith adviser—Johnnie Moore, who is a former employee of Liberty University. Boorstein writes, “At Liberty, Moore ran massive weekly convocations where notables — including Carson in 2012 — came to speak.” Carson follows fellow presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio who have also created posts to do faith outreach to conservative Christians, with Bush tapping Jordan Sekulow and Rubio hiring Eric Teetsel.


Read at The Washington Post

Donald Trump Claims He Thought Meeting with African-American Pastors Was an Endorsement

posted on November 30, 2015

Alana Abramson of ABC News reports, “GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who is slated to meet with a group of African-American pastors today at the Trump Tower in New York City, said he was told the meeting was an endorsement, and believes the pastors received backlash from people opposed to the meeting.” Trump, who also stood by his earlier negative remarks about Muslims, said it would be to misleading to label the meeting an endorsement because not all the clergy agreed with him. “I was told it was an endorsement,” Trump said, “I have fantastic relationships with the people, but I think pressure was put on them when they heard there was a meeting by people who disagree.”

Read at ABC News

Shooting at Planned Parenthood Adds to Challenges for Congress

posted on November 30, 2015

The New York Times‘ Jackie Calmes reports that in the aftermath of the Planned Parenthood shooting, new questions about the federal funding of the organization are being asked. Although Democrats have tried to protect Planned Parenthood as an important health care provider to the poor, the Republicans’ rhetoric surrounding the debate has grown increasingly hostile. “It is time to stop the demonizing and witch hunts against Planned Parenthood, its staff and patients, and the lifesaving health care it provides to millions every day,” said Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.

Read at The New York Times

GOP’s Anti-Muslim Sentiment is a Long Way from the Tone Of George W. Bush in 2001

posted on November 24, 2015

International Business Times‘ Ismat Sarah Mangla writes on the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric within the GOP—a marked shift from the tone of President George W. Bush in the wake of 9/11. She writes that “Bush would repeatedly distinguish the war on terror from a war on all Muslims … and that Muslim Americans were loyal citizens who contributed to society, including by serving in the U.S. armed forces.” By contrast, she notes, “Leading candidates Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz have been fanning the flames of anti-Muslim sentiment throughout the primary season.” For the article, Mangla also interviews Marie Griffith, editor of Religion & Politics and director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

Read at International Business Times

The Opportunist

posted on November 23, 2015

In The New Yorker, Evan Osnos writes on Marco Rubio’s political flexibility as he pursues the Republican presidential nomination. In the primaries, Rubio has taken positions to satisfy conservative evangelicals who comprise the majority of the Republican base, but he also wants to appeal to a larger bloc of voters as the national race approaches. “Rubio’s inclusiveness can invite caricature,” Osnos writes. “He considers himself a Catholic, but he attends two churches—an evangelical Protestant service on Saturdays and a Roman Catholic Mass on Sundays.”

Read at The New Yorker

Donald Trump Calls for Surveillance of “Certain Mosques” and a Syrian Refugee Database

posted on November 23, 2015

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reports that Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump has called for surveillance of certain mosques and the creation of a registry of Syrians in the United States. At a rally at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Alabama, Trump accused Muslims of celebrating the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 while claiming that all Syrian refugees must return to the Middle East. Trump said, “I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering. So something’s going on. We’ve got to find out what it is.”

Read at The New York Times

States of the Union

Writers tell us stories about where they discovered religion and politics in their states.


A French Teacher Lives Among the Cajuns.

By Max Perry Mueller

More from The States of the Union Project >


A setting to debate the issues of the day.


The plight of France's Muslim community https://t.co/NaR5iedEAI


More Tweets >

R&P Newsletter