RAP Sheet

Vatican Ends Controversial Investigation of US Nuns With Olive Branch

posted on April 16, 2015

David Gibson of Religion News Service reports, “The Vatican on Thursday (April 16) officially ended a controversial seven-year investigation of American nuns with a face-saving compromise that allows Pope Francis to close the book on one of the more troubled episodes that he inherited from his predecessor, Benedict XVI.” The conflict initially began when the nuns, who were seen as too liberal, were accused of promoting radical feminist ideology. However, after meetings with Pope Francis, the investigation was dropped. Sister Sharon Holland, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said, “We learned that what we hold in common is much greater than any of our differences.”

Read at Religion News Service

The Right Finds a Fresh Voice on Same-Sex Marriage

posted on April 16, 2015

In The Washington Post, Robert Barnes profiles Ryan T. Anderson, a rising conservative star and voice supporting traditional marriage. The Princeton-educated scholar at the Heritage Foundation has emerged as a prominent voice against same-sex marriage, touring the nation and sparring with some of the strongest minds on the topic. “Gays and lesbians undoubtedly have been discriminated against,” Anderson says. “But marriage is not part of that discrimination.”

Read at The Washington Post

Ted Cruz Woos Orthodox Jews

posted on April 16, 2015

At POLITICO, Katie Glueck reports that Ted Cruz has struck a profitable relationship with Orthodox Jews, who support his position on many political issues, including his vigorous opposition to negotiations with Iran. Cruz’s strong support for Israel and his conservative social policies make him the ideal candidate for Orthodox voters. “I share a great many values with the Jewish community and the Orthodox community,” Cruz said in an interview. “Chief among them is a passionate dedication to strengthening our friendship and alliance with the nation of Israel.”

Read at POLITICO

Pope Francis Throws the Weight of His Office Behind Tackling Climate Change

posted on April 16, 2015

David Gibson of Religion News Service reports, “The Vatican is set to host a major conference on climate change this month that will feature leading researchers on global warming.” The conference, which is part of Pope Francis’ “green agenda,” will discuss the moral implications of environmental degradation and humans’ responsibilities. “[I]t is man who has slapped nature in the face,” Francis told reporters earlier this year. “[A] Christian who does not protect creation … is a Christian who does not care about the work of God.”

Read at Religion News Service

Tennessee House Approves Bill to Make Bible Official State Book

posted on April 16, 2015

Tim Ghianni of Reuters reports, “Tennessee state legislators on Wednesday advanced a bill to make the Bible the official state book, a measure the state attorney general said would be unconstitutional and Republican Governor Bill Haslam has called disrespectful.” The House passed the measure in a 55-38 vote, where it now heads to the Republican dominated state Senate. “The controversy will not end in this chamber,” Representative Martin Daniel said. “If we pass this, we’re going to be ridiculed.”

Read at Reuters

The Insane Story of the Guy Who Killed the Guy Who Killed Lincoln

posted on April 16, 2015

At Washingtonian, Bill Jensen recounts the life of Boston Corbett, the born-again Christian and Civil War veteran who shot and killed John Wilkes Booth. Rash and alienating, sure of being stalked by Southern sympathizers and assassins, Corbett quickly lost his initial folk hero status, Jensen writes. “In Greece and Rome, even in England and France, the avengers of their sovereign’s death were loaded with gifts and public honors,” wrote Corbett’s friend Private Dalzell. “Not so Corbett. He is reviled as a lunatic and laughed at as a rash religious fool.”

Read at Washingtonian

A Fragile Man, Political Whispers and a Pair of Suicides in Missouri

posted on April 15, 2015

In The Washington Post, Thomas Lake reports on the suicides of Missouri Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Schweich and his spokesman, Spence Jackson, amid whispers of anti-Semitism within the GOP. “Schweich’s friends insist that the whispered bigotry was real and that it devastated the emotionally fragile Schweich — who, the report said, had threatened suicide in the past,” Lake writes. “As the governor’s race continues without him, his death has sparked a debate in Missouri over the ugliness and innuendo that pervade modern politics.”

Read at The Washington Post

Marathon’s Cheer, Burdened by Victims’ Memory

posted on April 15, 2015

In The New York Times, Katharine Q. Seelye writes that the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings has fueled regional debate about the fate of Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who was convicted last week of his involvement. Though Tsarnaev is eligible for the death penalty, notable religious figures, including Pope Francis and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, have publicly called for mercy, Seelye notes. “Most people seem to want the option that would hurt Mr. Tsarnaev the most, but they cannot decide if that would be prison for life, or death.”

Read at The New York Times

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