RAP Sheet

Kentucky Clerk Denies Gay Couples Marriage Licenses, Defying Court

posted on September 2, 2015

Alan Blinder and Richard Pérez-Peña of The New York Times report, “Defying the Supreme Court and saying she was acting ‘under God’s authority,’ a county clerk in Kentucky denied marriage licenses to gay couples on Tuesday.” On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected County Clerk Kim Davis’ claim that, on religious grounds, she should not have to comply with the recent court decision establishing a national right to same-sex marriage.

Read at The New York Times

Pope Makes It Easier to Be Forgiven for Abortion in “Year of Mercy”

posted on September 2, 2015

Francis X. Rocca reports for The Wall Street Journal that Pope Francis is allowing women who have had abortions to be forgiven by the Catholic Church during a “year of mercy” beginning this December. Traditionally, church law excommunicates “anyone who willingly participates in an abortion.” The pope explains his decision is part of a greater mission of mercy and compassion: “I am well aware of the pressure the pressure that has led them to this decision. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision.”

Read at The Wall Street Journal

Judge Sides with Anti-Abortion Group in Birth Control Case

posted on September 2, 2015

The Associated Press’s Eric Tucker reports that federal Judge Richard Leon ruled this week that employers can be exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s birth control requirement for ethical reasons, not just religious ones. The anti-abortion group March for Life sued the Obama administration for allowing a religious exemption, but not the same right to groups with purely ethical objections. Tucker writes, “Alliance Defending Freedom, whose lawyers represented March for Life, said Leon’s decision was the first to side with an organization that opposed the contraceptive mandate on moral rather than religious grounds.”

Read at Associated Press

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

States of the Union

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


A French Teacher Lives Among the Cajuns.

By Max Perry Mueller

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.@maxperrymueller on Louisiana, Katrina, and teaching French in Cajun country https://t.co/SU9WgmpyZv

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