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Links on R&P from around the web

Reverend Resistance

posted on April 26, 2017

For Esquire, Tommy Tomlinson profiles the Rev. William Barber II, the leader of the progressive Christian activist group, the Repairers of the Breach. Since 2013, Barber has led rallies and peaceful protests in North Carolina known as Moral Mondays, which aim to challenge Republican leadership on issues of social justice. In a November sermon, Barber said of the Bible, “I can’t find anything in the book that says your major concern ought to be tax cuts for the wealthy and giving money to private schools and making sure people have gun rights. But I can find in Deuteronomy that you’re supposed to care for the stranger and the poor.”

Read at Esquire

Nebraska Highlights the Catholic Church’s Struggle with the Death Penalty

posted on April 26, 2017

America’s Joseph P. Hoover reports that the Catholic Church is campaigning against the death penalty in Nebraska, after its voters chose to reverse a state ban last November. Tom Venzor, director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, a political advocacy branch of the church, said, “Some folks have an unhealthy sense of retributive justice, calling for blood.” Father James Novakowski of the Holy Spirit Church in North Platte, Nebraska, has been an outspoken opponent of the death penalty: “My parishes know that my stance on pro-life is to know that God is the author of all life, from conception to natural death. And that includes not having the right to take another life.”

Read at America

Three Key Lessons from the Pope’s Surprise TED Talk

posted on April 26, 2017

CNN’s Daniel Burke reports that Pope Francis recorded a TED talk from Vatican City on Tuesday. Burke writes, “The theme of TED’s conference was ‘The Future You,’ and Francis did what he does best, delivering a plainspoken sermon on the importance of interconnection and tenderness.” Francis said, “A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you. And then there will be another ‘you,’ and another ‘you,’ and it turns into an ‘us.”’

Read at CNN

Trump Defends Birth-Control Requirement under Obamacare

posted on April 25, 2017

The Washington Post’s Paige Winfield Cunningham reports that religious groups are still fighting Obamacare’s contraception mandate, which requires employers to provide birth control to their employees. Although Trump has promised to reverse the mandate, Cunningham writes, “The Justice Department has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for an additional 60 days to negotiate with East Texas Baptist University and several other religious schools and nonprofit groups objecting to a requirement to which they are morally opposed.” She adds, “Conservatives who oppose the birth control mandate on religious liberty grounds are bewildered by the move at a Justice Department headed by former Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who is well known for his conservative views.”

Read at The Washington Post

Rod Dreher’s Monastic Vision

posted on April 25, 2017

The New Yorker’s Joshua Rothman profiles Rod Dreher, the conservative Christian blogger who wrote the recently published book, The Benedict Option. Rothman writes that Dreher, who is an Eastern Orthodox convert, believes that “Christians should consider living in tight-knit, faith-centered communities, in the manner of Modern Orthodox Jews. They should follow rules and take vows. They should admit that the culture wars had been lost—same-sex marriage was the law of the land—and focus on their own spiritual lives.”

Read at The New Yorker

Under Fire For Recent Holocaust Flubs, Trump Will Headline Days of Remembrance Ceremony

posted on April 24, 2017

The Washington Post’s Kristine Phillips and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. report that Donald Trump will deliver Tuesday’s keynote address at the Days of Remembrance ceremony, an event that remembers the Holocaust and is hosted by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. “But unlike his predecessors, Trump — as a candidate and as president — has been widely criticized by Jewish organizations for what they see as a lackluster and slow response to the recent spike in anti-Semitic incidents across the country. His young administration also has been faulted for a couple of recent flubs about the Holocaust,” Phillips and Wootson Jr. write. They add, “This means that the speech Trump will deliver during the week-long commemoration of the Holocaust could be a critical step for him to appease some of his critics.”

Read at The Washington Post

Who Does the Anne Frank Center Represent?

posted on April 24, 2017

The Atlantic‘s Emma Green reports on the roots of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, a small organization that has garnered outsized media attention in recent months with its sharp critiques of the Trump administration. “With just its famous name and a savvy social-media strategy, the Anne Frank Center has transformed into a putative authority on anti-Semitism and American politics. But it’s not at all clear the organization speaks for anybody other than its own leaders—not Holocaust scholars, Anne Frank’s family, or the Jewish community,” Green writes. “Ultimately, by politicizing Anne Frank, the group may undermine her legacy.”

Read at The Atlantic

Thousands Rally For Truth, Evidence-Based Policies at March For Science

posted on April 24, 2017

Religion News Service’s Lilly Fowler reports that thousands of people across the country participated in the March for Science on Saturday for Earth Day. Fowler writes that organizers of the march described it as a call “for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.” Fowler adds, “Although organizers described science as a nonpartisan issue — noting that one of the goals for the march was to affirm that ‘science is a democratic value’ — many that gathered for the event made clear they were no fans of the current presidential administration.”

Read at Religion News Service

2nd Doctor, Wife Arrested in Genital Mutilation Case

posted on April 24, 2017

The Detroit News’s Robert Snell reports, “Federal agents arrested a second doctor and his wife Friday in a widening conspiracy involving female genital mutilation and members of a Muslim sect.” Dr. Fakhruddin Attar is accused of allowing Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who allegedly mutilated two 7-year-old girls earlier this year, to perform genital mutilations at Attar’s medical clinic. Snell writes, “The arrests are the latest development in the nation’s first female genital mutilation case, which is providing insight into a small, insular Muslim community in Metro Detroit and an illegal procedure performed on young girls.”

Read at The Detroit News

The Supreme Court Considers Whether Churches Should Get Taxpayer Dollars

posted on April 19, 2017

The Atlantic’s Emma Green writes on the Trinity Lutheran Church case, which the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on today. At issue is whether the state of Missouri can exclude religious institutions from an otherwise secular aid program. The case occurred after a church in Columbia, Missouri, was denied a state grant to resurface its preschool’s playground. Green writes, “On its surface,Trinity Lutheran seems like it’s just about keeping kids’ knees from getting scraped. But it raises a highly contested question: What does the law say about when and how the government can fund religious institutions?”

Read at The Atlantic