RAP Sheet

Trump, Meeting With Netanyahu, Backs Away From Palestinian State

posted on February 15, 2017

The New York Times’ Peter Baker and Mark Landler report, “President Trump said on Wednesday that the United States would no longer insist on a Palestinian state as part of a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians, backing away from a policy that has underpinned America’s role in Middle East peacemaking since the Clinton administration.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who visited the White House on Wednesday, indicated that he was pleased with Trump’s statement. Baker and Landler write, “The Palestinians are highly unlikely to accept anything short of a sovereign state, and a single Israeli state encompassing the Palestinians would either become undemocratic or no longer Jewish, given the faster growth rate of the Arab population.”

Read at The New York Times

Trump Retains LGBT State Department Official, Frustrating Christian Conservatives

posted on February 15, 2017

Religion News Service’s Lauren Markoe and David Gibson report, “The State Department announced Monday (Feb. 13) that it would retain Randy Berry, the special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons.” The announcement angered many religious conservatives who believed Trump would reinstate traditional family values to the government. Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council and an outspoken Trump supporter, said, “Keeping Berry only signals to the world that the extreme agenda of the Obama years is still deeply entrenched in the State Department.”

Read at Religion News Service

This Undocumented Immigrant Just Announced that She Is Seeking Sanctuary at a Church. Now She Waits.

posted on February 15, 2017

The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey profiles Jeanette Vizguerra, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who is seeking sanctuary in the First Unitarian Society of Denver. Bailey writes, “Propelled by President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric during the campaign and the election in November, the number of churches and other houses of worship that have declared themselves sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants like Vizguerra has doubled to an estimated 800 over the past year, according to leaders of the loosely-knit movement.” 

Read at The Washington Post

Neo-Nazis Came for this Small Town. Can You Keep Them from Coming for Yours?

posted on February 15, 2017

Buzzfeed’s Anne Helen Petersen travels to Whitefish, Montana, the home town of alt-right figurehead Richard Spencer. In December, Whitefish gained national attention when Andrew Anglin, the editor of white nationalist site Daily Stormer, called for the targeting of Jews in the town after Spencer’s mother had an altercation with a real-estate agent. Some residents of Whitefish have resisted the town’s white supremacist movement. As Petersen writes, “Businesses posted ‘Love Lives Here’ stickers in their windows and images of menorahs, printed by the local newspaper in homage to the nationally publicized fight against anti-Semitism in Billings, Montana, during the ’90s.”

Read at BuzzFeed

Anti-Extremists: We Don’t Want Trump’s Cash

posted on February 14, 2017

The Daily Beast’s Katie Zavadski reports, “Four community organizations have declined $2 million in funding over concerns that a ‘countering violent extremism,’ or CVE, program under Trump would unfairly put Muslim communities under surveillance.” The Department of Homeland Security has spent a decade building trust in communities in order to have them engage in the program. “Three weeks into the Trump administration, some worry it was all a waste,” Zavadski writes. Under Trump, the program is expected to focus solely on Islamic extremism, rather than also combat extremism like white nationalism. 


Read at The Daily Beast

CIA Memo: Designating Muslim Brotherhood Could “Fuel Extremism”

posted on February 14, 2017

POLITICO Magazine’s Blake Hounshell and Nahal Toosi report that a CIA memo warns the Trump administration that designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization “may fuel extremism” and damage diplomacy in the Middle East. The document reads that “a US designation would probably weaken MB leaders’ arguments against violence and provide ISIS and al-Qa’ida additional grist for propaganda to win followers and support, particularly for attacks against US interests.” President Trump and his chief strategist Steve Bannon, have signaled that the Brotherhood is a terrorist organization and should be treated as such by the U.S. government.

Read at POLITICO Magazine

These Conservative Christians Are Opposed to Trump—and Suffering the Consequences

posted on February 14, 2017

The Atlantic’s Emma Green reports some Christians are being pushed out of their faith-based organizations for speaking out against Donald Trump. Green writes, “America’s divided political environment has made many religious organizations sensitive about what their employees say and do.” Catholic musician Audrey Assad, the daughter of a Syrian refugee, said she has gotten pushback from Christian leaders for opposing Trump’s stances on refugees. “A lot of Christians who are in public positions are afraid, even if they oppose things like the Trump administration or things that it’s doing right now,” she said. “They’re afraid to alienate their base.”

Read at The Atlantic

For Religious Conservatives, Success and Access at the Trump White House

posted on February 13, 2017

The New York Times’ Jeremy W. Peters reports how the Religious Right has found favor in President Trump’s White House. The new administration has made moves to limit federal funding for abortion and allow persecuted Christians to enter the country. Peters writes, “Mr. Trump has given many conservative Christian leaders his personal cellphone number. He has solicited their advice for filling key positions. He has invited them to the White House. And he has staffed his cabinet with many people of deep Christian faith, like Ben Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist, and Betsy DeVos, who was raised in the Calvinist tradition.”

Read at The New York Times

States of the Union

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


An Atheist Finds (Some) Reasons to Believe in Her Old Church.

By Sarah Stankorb

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