RAP Sheet

ISIS and the Lonely Young American

posted on June 29, 2015

In The New York Times, Rukmini Callimachi profiles “Alex,” a 23-year-old woman in Washington State, and reports on her encounter with the recruiting efforts of the Islamic State. Callimachi writes, “The terrorist group itself maintains a 24-hour online operation, and its effectiveness is vastly extended by larger rings of sympathetic volunteers and fans who pass on its messages and viewpoint, reeling in potential recruits, analysts say.” Alex’s hours online “offered a rare window into the intense effort to indoctrinate a young American woman, increasing her sense of isolation from her family and community.”

Read at The New York Times

Obama’s Grace

posted on June 29, 2015

At The Atlantic, James Fallows writes on President Obama’s eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and the fallen parishioners of Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, calling the speech Obama’s “most successful performance as an orator.” Fallows analyzes stylistic elements and themes of the speech, exploring their significance for the pursuit of racial justice. He writes, “President Obama spoke for about 40 minutes, touching on the personal, political, and religious, and melding sermon with eulogy and, movingly, song. The theme of the speech was grace, but the president also talked about racism, poverty, gun control, the legacies of black American churches, and Confederate iconography.”

Read at The Atlantic

“They’re Trying to Be King of the Mormons”

posted on June 29, 2015

In POLITICO Magazine, Matt Canham and Thomas Burr report on the alleged rivalry between the Romney family and the Huntsman family, caused by the political feuding between former friends Jon Huntsman Jr. and Mitt Romney. “In the run up to 2008, Jon Huntsman Jr. wanted to be a player in national politics, and Mitt Romney all but patted him on the head and urged him to sit on the bench,” Canham and Burr write. This led to a falling out “made even more stunning when considering the long ties between the families.”

Read at POLITICO Magazine

With Same-Sex Decision, Evangelical Churches Address New Reality

posted on June 29, 2015

In The New York Times, Michael Paulson writes that, with public opinion firmly in favor of same-sex marriage, many evangelical Protestants are reevaluating their churches’ attitudes towards homosexuality. “Evangelicals are coming to the realization that they hold a minority view in the culture, and that on this issue, they have lost the home-field advantage,” Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, said. Nevertheless, Paulson notes that the “result has been an obvious change in tone and emphasis – but not teaching or policy – at many churches.”

Read at The New York Times

After Obergefell: A First Things Symposium

posted on June 29, 2015

On Saturday, the journal First Things asked a selection of contributors to discuss ways to respond to the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. “Because the Court has inappropriately redefined marriage everywhere, there is urgent need for policy to ensure that the government never penalizes anyone for standing up for marriage,” Ryan T. Anderson of The Heritage Foundation writes. We must “work to protect the freedom of speech, association, and religion of those who continue to abide by the truth of marriage as union of man and woman.”

Read at First Things

Supreme Court Rules Gay Couples Nationwide Have a Right to Marry

posted on June 26, 2015

The Washington Post‘s Robert Barnes reports, “The Supreme Court on Friday delivered a historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5 to 4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.”

Read at The Washington Post

The Life and Death of Steven Sotloff

posted on June 26, 2015

Tablet‘s Jonathan Zalman has written a two-part account of the life, capture, and murder of journalist and ISIS hostage Steven Sotloff. Barak Barfi, a longtime friend who reported with Sotloff, tells Zalman about Sotloff’s faith: “Steve wasn’t willing to give up his faith for worldly pleasures to improve his horrible lot. He had a deep belief in his people and his faith and he would’ve never have given that up. Sometimes we have to conceal our faith to avoid persecution but it doesn’t mean that we’re not proud of it. All those prisoners knew he was Jewish.”

Read at Tablet

Who Lost Iraq?

posted on June 25, 2015

POLITICO Magazine gathered a dozen experts to try to answer the question: Who lost Iraq? The magazine’s senior foreign affairs correspondent, Michael Crowley, moderated the conversation, which included “veterans of both administrations from the State Department, White House, Pentagon and the CIA.” Kimberly Kagan, president of the Institute for the Study of War, said, “The White House adopted a strategy of partnership with countries in the Middle East that was not genuine partnership … partnership without American leadership has led to this competition between the Saudis and the Iranians, between the Turks and the Egyptians, and, rather than actually empowering regional leaders to take action consistent with the interests of the United States, has actually accelerated the regional conflict in the Middle East.”


Read at POLITICO Magazine

States of the Union

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


A Cornhusker Prays with FCA.

By Paul Putz

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