RAP Sheet

Missile Attack Kills 2 Israeli Soldiers Near Lebanon, and Hezbollah Claims Responsibility

posted on January 28, 2015

The New York Times’ Isabel Kershner and Anne Barnard report, “Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven wounded in a missile attack Wednesday on a military convoy in a disputed area along the Lebanese border, Israel said, in the most serious flare-up in the area in years.” The attack is the latest in a series of escalating tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, who claimed responsibility for the missile. Neither side wants war, the authors report. “Yet both sides feel pressure to respond, and what one party considers proportional may be seen by the other as a brazen provocation, creating the risk of inadvertent escalation.”

Read at The New York Times

Boston Bombing Jury Excludes Some Catholics

posted on January 28, 2015

For USA Today, G. Jeffrey MacDonald reports, “As the quest for a jury in the Boston Marathon bombing trial approaches its fourth week, some of the area’s 2 million Roman Catholics are growing frustrated with criteria that effectively disqualify followers of church teachings.” Potential jurors must be able to impose the death penalty or a life sentence, MacDonald reports, putting them at odds with Catholic catechism forbidding execution when other means exist to protect the public. This obstacle compounds the difficulty of selecting a jury in Boston, where 46 percent of the city is Catholic and 69 percent of potential jurors have already admitted having connections to the case.

Read at USA Today

Pope Francis Turning Into a Headache for Catholic Presidential Hopefuls

posted on January 28, 2015

At Bloomberg Politics, David Knowles reports that the progressive Pope Francis presents problems for conservative U.S. Catholics Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Jeb Bush, all likely candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. While the probable contenders have begun talking seriously about income inequality, famously condemned in Francis’ 2013 critique of free-market capitalism, they have shown less accord with his statements on family planning, Cuban relations, and especially climate change.

Read at Bloomberg Politics

An Arrest in Lebanon Lifts the Veil on the Life of Islamic State Leader’s Ex-Wife

posted on January 28, 2015

For The Washington Post, Hugh Naylor and Suzan Haidamous report on the investigation by Lebanese authorities of Saja al-Dulaimi, ex-wife of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Dualimi’s life story shines light onto both the culture of radicalism in Iraq and Syria and the roles of women in militant Islam, the authors report. “Organizations like the Islamic State are known for portraying women in traditional roles—like cooking and cleaning for men. But the allegations against Dulaimi reflect how some women have assumed more dangerous jobs in militant Islamist groups,” including transferring funds, collecting intelligence, and carrying out suicide operations.

Read at The Washington Post

In Major Move, Mormon Apostles Call For Statewide LGBT Protections

posted on January 27, 2015

Peggy Fletcher Stack of The Salt Lake Tribune reports, “Top leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Tuesday for passage of laws granting statewide protections against housing and employment discrimination for gay and lesbian Utahns — as long as those measures safeguard religious freedom.” The move came as a great surprise to many as the LDS Church has vocally opposed same-sex marriage in recent years. “We call on local, state and the federal government,” Oaks said in a press release, “to serve all of their people by passing legislation that protects vital religious freedoms for individuals, families, churches and other faith groups while also protecting the rights of our LGBT citizens.”

Read at The Salt Lake Tribune

Most Americans Are Clueless About Sikhs

posted on January 26, 2015

At Religion News Service, Adelle M. Banks reports that a survey commissioned by the National Sikh Campaign reveals Americans’ significant ignorance of U.S. Sikhism. Though Sikhism is the fifth-largest religion in the U.S., the survey found that 60 percent of non-Asian-Americans had no knowledge of the religion. Many participants confused Sikhs with Muslims. “The Washington–based campaign hopes to use the survey results to aid Sikhs in dispelling misperceptions about their monotheistic faith and reducing violence against its members,” Banks writes, particularly in the wake of a Wisconsin temple shooting that killed six Sikhs in 2012.

Read at Religion News Service

Romney’s Consideration of Candidacy Is Closely Tied to His Faith, Allies Say

posted on January 26, 2015

In The New York Times, Ashley Parker and Alex Thompson write, “Three years ago, Mr. Romney’s tortured approach to his religion — a strategy of awkward reluctance and studied avoidance that all but walled off a free-flowing discussion of his biography — helped doom his campaign.” More recently, Romney’s Mormon faith has prompted consideration of another presidential run in which it might play a more distinct role. “In the Mormon faith, public service is one of the most honorable things you do,” Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz told the authors. “The idea of try and try again is something that’s ingrained in the religion.”

Read at The New York Times

Deeply Conservative Oklahoma Adjusts to Sudden Arrival of Same-Sex Marriage

posted on January 26, 2015

At The Washington Post, Monica Hesse profiles Tracy Curtis and her partner Kathryn Frazier, whose marriage followed a Supreme Court decision last October making same-sex unions legal in Oklahoma, where 62 percent of the population is said to disapprove of same-sex marriage. After quickly receiving a marriage license, Hesse writes that the couple decided to have a wedding ceremony—a choice they knew would make their quiet relationship quite public to those they invited. “But they would, they decided,” Hesse writes. “They would invite everybody to this wedding and let them decide for themselves whether to come.”

Read at The Washington Post

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