RAP Sheet

The Divided Soul of the Democratic Party

posted on July 28, 2016

Religion News Service’s David Gibson reports on this year’s Democratic National Convention, which is challenging stereotypes about the Democratic Party being “the default home of secularists and atheists, with practicing believers shunted to a side room only to be trotted out when a political event needs a gloss of godliness.” Instead, Gibson writes that “talking to delegates and activists reveals a much different picture, with people of faith — almost every faith — eager to testify to their beliefs and how they in fact bolster their political choice for a party some view as inimical to religion.” From Tim Kaine speaking about his Catholicism and Jesuit education to the Mothers of the Movement invoking God, “God-talk” and believers were evident at this year’s convention.

Read at Religion News Service

“Black Lives Matter!” Chants Erupt as Mothers of the Movement Take the Stage at the DNC

posted on July 27, 2016

The Los Angeles Times’ Jaweed Kaleem writes, “As the ‘Mothers of the Movement’ came on stage to talk about the deaths of their children and endorse Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, chants emerged from the crowd: ‘Black lives matter!’” Although Black Lives Matter has not endorsed a candidate, the Mothers of the Movement are among its best-known activists. “Give me two moments to tell you how good God is. Give me a moment to say thank you,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland.

Read at Los Angeles Times

A Mormon Tycoon Wants to Build Joseph Smith’s Mega-Utopia in Vermont

posted on July 27, 2016

In Bloomberg Businessweek, Caroline Winter writes that David Hall, a wealthy Mormon engineer, is developing a 20,000-person community in Vermont based on Joseph Smith’s Plat of the City of Zion. Hall plans to expand beyond Vermont and hopes his developments will eventually house 20 million people at 1,000 sites across the globe. Winter writes, “The overarching mission is to achieve ‘global environmental balance by building a network of environmentally and socially sustainable villages, communities, and megalopolises.’”

Read at Bloomberg Buisnessweek

Engineering an Enhanced Human? The More Religious You Are, the Less Likely You’ll Want To.

posted on July 27, 2016

At The Washington Post, Mary Hui writes that religiosity inversely correlates with a desire to bioengineer humans, according to a recent Pew Research Center study. The survey asked people to determine their level of interest in performing gene editing on both themselves and their newborn children. Hui writes, “White evangelical Protestants were the least likely to want any of the three enhancement technologies, while across the board, atheists and agnostics were the most ready to embrace the technologies.”

Read at The Washington Post

Notorious Boston Mobster-Turned-Pastor Has Clues about Gardner Heist

posted on July 27, 2016

In The Boston Globe, Stephen Kurkjian and Shelley Murphy write, “A notorious Boston mobster who disappeared into the federal witness protection program has resurfaced in Tennessee with a new identity, a new life, and a tantalizing clue involving the world’s largest art heist.” The mobster, formerly known as Robert Luisi, Jr., now goes by Alonso Esposito and is the pastor at a nondenominational church in Mississippi, Tennessee.

Read at The Boston Globe

What DNC Wikileaks Email on Sanders’ Religion Reminds Us About Atheists in America

posted on July 27, 2016

At Religion News Service, Tobin Grant writes that the Democratic National Committee’s musings on whether to question Bernie Sanders’s belief in God are a reminder of the unfortunately strong anti-atheist sentiments in America. A 2012 American National Election Study found that the public feels more negatively towards atheists than illegal immigrants, Congress, and any major religious group. Grant writes, “To put it bluntly: feelings toward atheists are the new low in public approval.” He notes, though, “Raising a candidate’s religion or questioning his or her faith is beyond the pale.”

Read at Religion News Service

A Q&A With the D.C. Pastor Who is in Charge of the Democratic Convention

posted on July 26, 2016

The Washington Post’s Hamil R. Harris interviews the Rev. Leah Daughtry, the Democratic National Convention’s CEO and pastor of the House of the Lord Church in Washington, D.C. This year marks Daughtry’s second time in charge of the convention and her second time organizing the D.N.C.’s interfaith gathering, which occurred Sunday. Daughtry says, “We started having interfaith gatherings in 2008, and it is really an acknowledgement of the role that people of faith play in the Democratic Party.”

Read at The Washington Post

Attack on Church in France Kills Priest, and ISIS Is Blamed

posted on July 26, 2016

At The New York Times, Adam Nossiter, Benoît Morenne, and Hannah Olivennes write that ISIS has claimed responsibility for an attack on a French church Tuesday morning. Two men stabbed an 85-year-old priest to death, critically wounded another person, and took several churchgoers hostage before being shot and killed by the police. “We must realize that the terrorists will not give up until we stop them,” French President François Hollande said.

Read at The New York Times

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