RAP Sheet

The Lessons Of Anwar al-Awlaki

posted on August 31, 2015

In The New York TimesMagazine, Scott Shane chronicles the continuing influence of former American Al Qaeda affiliate Anwar al-Awlaki years after his death in a U.S. drone strike. Awlaki’s digital imprint has remained his lasting legacy, as his videos promote radical Islam in the English language. On Awlaki’s persistent impact, former C.I.A. officer Bruce Riedel said, “We know how to make our case and sell a product and smear an enemy. With Awlaki, we could have done all of those things: We could have countered his argument, we could have smeared his reputation. Here it is more than three years after his death, and we still haven’t made the case. He still has this iconic status as a knight of Islam.”

Read at The New York Times

Urging Civility, Obama Appeals To Jews On Iran Deal

posted on August 31, 2015

Gregory Korte of USA Today reports, “President Obama called for a more civil debate over the Iran nuclear deal on Friday, telling American Jewish leaders that he shares their concerns about Iran’s threats to Israel but that ensuring a nuclear-free Iran was the most important objective.” While an international deal does not require congressional approval, Obama has sought to reassure Jewish Democrats who have expressed concerns over the negotiations. “As an African American, I understand that history teaches us that man can be very cruel to man, and you have to take threats seriously,” Obama said. “But what history also teaches us is that sometimes the best security is to enter into negotiations with your enemies.”

Read at USA Today

ISIS Damages Bel, Syria’s “Most Important Temple,” Rights Group Says

posted on August 31, 2015

At CNN, Don Melvin and Schams Elwazer report that the Temple of Bel, one of the most historically important temples in the Middle East, has sustained damage due to an explosion inside its walls. ISIS has destroyed several other ancient sites and antiquities during its violent campaign across Iraq and Syria because it considers pre-Islamic holy objects to be sacrilegious. “It seeks to destroy diversity and enforce narrow uniformity. Evidence of a tolerant, diverse past is anathema,” wrote Sturt Manning, chairman of Cornell University’s Department of Classics. “What it fears is memory and knowledge, which it cannot destroy.”

Read at CNN

Portland, Oregon, Catholic School Changes Gay Hiring Policy After Backlash

posted on August 31, 2015

Shelby Sebens of Reuters reports, “A Catholic high school in Portland, Oregon, has reversed its policy on gay employees after receiving a public backlash for refusing to hire a woman because she is a lesbian.” The school board of St. Mary’s Academy initially hired Lauren Brown as a counselor, but then rescinded their offer due to her impending same-sex marriage. After adding sexual orientation to their equal employment opportunity policy, school President Christina Friedhoff said in a statement, “”We are proud of our work preparing the next generation of women leaders for service and leadership. We are still deeply committed to our Catholic identity.”

Read at Reuters

Gary Hall, Dean of Washington National Cathedral, to Step Down

posted on August 19, 2015

In The Washington Post, Michelle Boorstein reports on the Very Rev. Gary Hall’s Tuesday announcement that he will step down from the helm of the Washington National Cathedral, which is located in D.C. and serves as the flagship of the Episcopal Church. During his three years at the cathedral, Hall’s activism sparked “debate about how political clergy should be,” especially at a church often seen as “America’s church,” Boorstein writes. She continues, “How do you stand for ‘America’s church’ when America isn’t sure what it wants in a church? How do you promote civic religion when the entire relationship between church and state is being renegotiated?”

Read at The Washington Post

Philadelphia Archdiocese Cancels LGBT Program Ahead of Pope Visit

posted on August 19, 2015

Reuters’ Laila Kearney reports that the Philadelphia Archdiocese has instructed a local parish to cancel a program for LGBT Catholics, which was scheduled to take place during Pope Francis’ U.S. tour. The pope will attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, and, while the program was not part of the World Meeting, it was designed to fill a void there. Now, organizer Francis DeBernardo says, “No speakers at the World Meeting will address the topic of gender identity, yet this is an issue that is being faced by more and more Catholic families and communities in the U.S.”

Read at Reuters

Without Romney Running, Rubio and Bush Make Early Inroads with Nevada Mormons

posted on August 19, 2015

At National Journal, Adam Wollner reports that Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are campaigning for the support of the large Mormon population in Nevada. “Todd Moody, a Las Vegas attorney who caucused for Romney and hasn’t yet settled on a 2016 candidate, said that he and many other Mormons are drawn to Rubio because of his focus on the family and conservative positions on social issues like abortion,” Wollner writes. GOP consultant Sig Rogich says LDS voters are drawn to Bush for similar reasons.

Read at National Journal

Top California Lawmakers Vow to Push Aid-in-Dying Bill

posted on August 19, 2015

Reuters’ Sharon Bernstein reports, “California lawmakers on Tuesday reintroduced a bill to legalize assisted suicide that had stalled amid opposition from the Catholic church and disability rights activists, as leaders among majority Democrats vowed to make its passage a priority.” The bill stalled in the assembly health committee in June, after resistance from Latino Democrats. However, supporters revived the measure during a “special session called over the summer to deal with healthcare issues.”

Read at Reuters

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