RAP Sheet

Report: Religious Freedom Deteriorating Around the World

posted on May 3, 2016

Aysha Khan of Religion News Service reports that religious freedom has decreased worldwide, according to a recent report. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued an annual report detailing religious and human rights abuses, focusing on deteriorating conditions in the Middle East and Africa. “At best, in most of the countries we cover, religious freedom conditions have failed to improve,” said Robert P. George, commission chairman. “At worst, they have spiraled further downward.”

Read at Religion News Service

US Navy SEAL Killed in Combat by ISIS Forces in Northern Iraq

posted on May 3, 2016

At ABC News, Luis Martinez and Brian McBride report, “A U.S. serviceman was killed in Northern Iraq Tuesday by direct fire from ISIS forces that penetrated several miles across Kurdish lines.” The casualty is the third American death in Iraq since troops officially withdrew in June of 2014. “This morning a U.S. servicemember advising and assisting Peshmerga forces was killed by enemy fire north of Mosul,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement. “The casualty occurred during an ISIL attack on a Peshmerga position approximately three to five kilometers behind the forward line of troops.”

Read at ABC News

Poet and Prophet: The Peacemaking Legacy of Daniel Berrigan, S.J.

posted on May 2, 2016

The Rev. Luke Hansen of America magazine reports, “Daniel Berrigan, the Jesuit priest and acclaimed poet who for decades famously challenged U.S. Catholics to reject war and nuclear weapons, died on April 30 at the Murray-Weigel Jesuit Community in the Bronx, New York. He was 94.” Hansen cites a quote about Berrigan from the writer Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote, “For me, Father Daniel Berrigan is Jesus as a poet. If this be heresy, make the most of it.”

Read at America

Joe Biden Speaks About Faith and Curing Cancer at the Vatican

posted on May 2, 2016

The New York Times‘ Gardiner Harris reports that Vice President Joe Biden discussed his faith and the role the Catholic Church can play in curing cancer at the Third International Regenerative Medicine Conference at the Vatican on Friday. Both Biden and Pope Francis called for participants to seek cures that might not be profitable in order to help as many people as possible. “This is why the globalization of indifference must be countered by the globalization of empathy,” Francis said.

Read at The New York Times

Clinton v. Trump Shrinks the God Gap

posted on May 2, 2016

At Religion News Service, Mark Silk writes that heading into the general election, it appears that gender will matter more than religiosity in determining voting patterns for the first time. “Since the God gap became salient in the 1990s, it’s always exceeded the gender gap,” Silk writes. “Not, evidently, this year. Between women’s support for one of their own and the misogyny of the other candidate, gender identity is trumping religion.”

Read at Religion News Service

Kerry Explains Why Religion Is Relevant to U.S. Foreign Policy

posted on May 2, 2016

Carol Morello of The Washington Post reports, “Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Tuesday that religious communities can play a role in achieving foreign policy goals around the world.” Speaking to students at Rice University, Kerry emphasized the role religious leaders play when working to solve difficult problems in foreign countries. The more we understand religion and the better able we are as a result to engage religious actors, the more effective our diplomacy will be in advancing the interests and values of our people,” Kerry said.

Read at The Washington Post

Religious Leaders Object to Religious Objections Law

posted on April 27, 2016

Nassim Benchaabane of the Associated Press reports, “Dozens of Methodist leaders are objecting to Mississippi’s new religious objections law, saying it violates their religious principles.” Clergy voicing their opposition said they were inspired by the 28 Methodist ministers in the 1960s who spoke out against segregation. “LGBT people have always been a part of the church,” said Pastor Bruce Case of Madison, Mississippi. “They’re our friends and fellow churchgoers. This law is unnecessary and just feels mean-spirited to me.”

Read at Associated Press

When Religion and the LGBT Collegiate Athlete Collide

posted on April 27, 2016

Erik Brady and Scott Gleeson of USA Today report on the tension between LBGT student-athletes, religious universities, and the NCAA. While the Department of Education states that Title IX extends protection to gay and transgender students, several religious schools are seeking an exemption to this policy. “The NCAA wouldn’t tolerate a no-blacks, racist policy,” says Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports.com, “but it has no problem tolerating a homophobic policy.”

Read at USA Today

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