RAP Sheet

Religion & Politics Named an Official Webby Nominee

posted on April 22, 2014

On April 8, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences announced that Religion & Politics had been named a nominee for the 18th Annual Webby Awards in the Religion & Spirituality category. As a nominee, our work has been selected as one of the five best in the world in its category, and is competing for two of the Internet industry’s coveted awards: the Webby Award and the Webby People’s Voice Award. We’re honored to be nominated alongside an amazing group of websites, including Social Science Research Council’s Reverberations, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, On Being, and Religion Dispatches. 

Vote for R&P in the People’s Voice Award here between now and April 24: http://pv.webbyawards.com/2014/web/general-website/religion-spirituality  

Read at The 18th Annual Webby Awards

What We Left Behind

posted on April 22, 2014

At the New Yorker, Dexter Filkins analyzes what the United States is leaving in Iraq: an authoritarian leader, weakened infrastructure, and growing sectarian strife. “The capture of Iraqi territory by Islamic extremists, barely two years since the last American soldiers left, prompted an extraordinary wave of soul-searching in Iraq and the United States, which lost more than thirteen hundred men and women in Anbar Province,” writes Filkins. “When the last American soldiers left Iraq, at the end of 2011, the bloody civil war between the country’s Sunni and Shiite sects had been stifled but not resolved. Now the sectarian violence had returned, with terrifying intensity.”

Read at The New Yorker

Syria’s Assad Pays Visit to Recaptured Christian Town on Easter

posted on April 21, 2014

Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos of The Los Angeles Times report, “President Bashar Assad made a symbolic Easter visit Sunday to the heavily damaged town of Maaloula, a Christian landmark enclave recaptured from Islamist rebels last week by government forces.” Opponents called the Syrian president’s visit an insincere attempt to portray himself as a defender of minorities as he prepares for the upcoming elections.  “No one, no matter the extent of their terrorism, is able to erase our human and cultural history,” Assad said. “Maaloula will remain steadfast.”

Read at The Los Angeles Times

Two Ministers Forge Friendship Across a Church Divide

posted on April 21, 2014

At The New York Times, Michael Paulson profiles the relationship of two ministers across the Episcopalian divide. Rev. Tory Baucum, a conservative who split from the American Episcopal Church, drove 100 miles south to introduce himself to the Rev. Shannon Johnston, leader of the most populous Episcopal diocese in the United States, and a supporter of same-sex marriage. They have fostered a relationship that is beginning to reduce tensions among Episcopalians and has reaped benefits for both of their congregations. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “The close friendship he has forged with Bishop Shannon Johnston, despite their immensely different views, sets a pattern of reconciliation based on integrity and transparency.”

Read at The New York Times

Obama Family Celebrates Easter Sunday 2014 at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church

posted on April 21, 2014

The Huffington Post reports that President Obama and his family celebrated Easter at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church led by the Rev. Derrick Harkins. In an account released by the White House, Alexis Simendinger wrote, “The president listened attentively from his seat, with his chin propped on his left hand at times, and his fingers entwined together as the sermon shifted toward a rousing finale. He joined in applause at the end.”

Read at The Huffington Post

The Pope in the Attic: Benedict in the Time of Francis

posted on April 18, 2014

In the May issue of The Atlantic, Paul Elie writes a portrait of Benedict, who in retirement lives in close proximity to Pope Francis. “And so it has come to pass that, in his 88th year, he is living at the Mater Ecclesiae, served by four consecrated laywomen and his priest-secretary, with a piano and a passel of books to keep him occupied,” Elie writes. “Here he watches the Argentine, prays for him, and keeps silence—a hard discipline for a man who spent his public life defining the nature of God and man, truth and falsehood.”

Read at The Atlantic

Gov. Bobby Jindal to Keynote Liberty University’s Commencement Ceremony

posted on April 18, 2014

Sarah Pulliam Bailey of Religion News Service reports that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been selected to be the next commencement speaker for Liberty University. In a statement, Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. said, “Many believe (Jindal) could hold the highest office in the land someday. He’s a committed Christian. Mat Staver (Liberty Law School dean) said he heard him speak and he sounded like a Baptist preacher.”

Read at Religion News Service

Meet the Preacher Behind Moral Mondays

posted on April 18, 2014

At Mother Jones, Lisa Rab profiles Reverend William Barber II, the founder of the “Moral Monday” movement. What began as a modest protest against North Carolina Republicans who wanted to enact stricter election laws, block Medicaid expansion, and cut unemployment benefits has now turned into weekly demonstrations across the South. During one Moral Monday in February, Barber said, “Make no mistake—this is no mere hyperventilation or partisan pouting. This is a fight for the future and soul of our state.”

Read at Mother Jones

States of the Union

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


A Spiritual Frontier Opens for Business.

By Brook Wilensky-Lanford

More from The States of the Union Project >


A setting to debate the issues of the day.

Should we teach religion in public schools? And if so, how?

How Should We Teach the Bible in Public Schools?

By Mark A. Chancey

The Dangers of Religious Instruction in Public Schools

By Annie Laurie Gaylor

We Must Teach about Religion in High Schools

By Joseph Laycock

To Teach or Not to Teach?

By Cynthia N. Dunbar

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"Like religion, science does not exist in a vacuum and is not immune from cultural influences." http://t.co/euNYBAzLyi

14 hours ago

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