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Links on R&P from around the web

Is North Carolina the Future of American Politics?

posted on June 20, 2017

For The New York Times Magazine, Jason Zengerle reports on the struggles of North Carolina’s deeply divided government, which has a Democratic governor and Republican General Assembly. Zengerle writes, “With Democrats until recently effectively excluded from official power, the business of pushing back against the conservative revolution has mostly fallen to outside activists – none more so than the Rev. William J. Barber II.” Barber’s Moral Monday movement has worked to push progressive policies. “Barber and his movement changed the political norms in North Carolina, to the point that business leaders started to feel sheepish about their rumspringa of deregulation and tax cuts and began distancing themselves from G.O.P. policies,” Zengerle writes.

Read at The New York Times Magazine

Slow Burn

posted on June 20, 2017

Buzzfeed’s Hannah Allam reports on the aftermath of a mosque’s destruction in Victoria, Texas. It burned down hours after President Trump signed a travel ban targeting Muslim countries in January. Although a suspect was identified in March, the arson horrified the town’s Muslim community. She writes, “Many of the 40 or so families who regularly attend the Islamic Center installed home security systems.” Allam adds, “Over Memorial Day weekend, which coincided with the beginning of Ramadan, mosque leaders held a symbolic groundbreaking where they displayed a rendering of the new mosque.”

Read at BuzzFeed

Russia: US Planes Over Western Syria Now “Air Targets”

posted on June 20, 2017

CNN’s Pamela Boykoff reports, “A day after a US Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane, Russia warned that aircraft operating where the shootdown occurred would be considered ‘air targets’ for its forces in Syria.” Boykoff writes, “While both the US and Russia say their forces are in Syria to fight ISIS infiltration there, Russia has allied itself with the regime of Syrian President Bahsar al-Assad while the US-led coalition has aligned with groups that oppose both the Assad regime and ISIS.” Russia also announced that it will stop using a “de-confliction” communication channel, which works to prevent conflict between American and Russian forces in Syria.

Read at CNN

Religious and Indigenous Leaders Seek to Save Rainforests

posted on June 20, 2017

Religion News Service’s Josephine McKenna reports, “Religious and indigenous leaders from 21 countries gathered in Norway on Monday to launch a new initiative aimed at saving the world’s tropical rainforests from the impact of deforestation and climate change.” McKenna writes that the conference was inspired by Pope Francis’s condemnation of global warming and overdevelopment. Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, said, “Tropical rainforests occupy a sacred place in many faiths, religions and spiritual traditions.”

Read at Religion News Service

U.K. Police Investigating Van Attack in London as Terrorism

posted on June 19, 2017

The New York Times’s Dan Bilefsky reports that a terrorist attack in London left one person dead and at least 10 wounded, after a van struck a group of pedestrians near a mosque on Monday. It was unclear if the death was a direct result of the attack. The driver of the van, a 48-year-old white man, was arrested after bystanders prevented him from escaping. Bilefsky writes, “Residents of London, a multicultural city with a large Muslim population and a Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, have predominantly responded with equanimity, solidarity and tolerance toward Muslims after recent attacks perpetrated by extremists.”

Read at The New York Times

Jay Sekulow, Trump’s Unlikely Lawyer

posted on June 19, 2017

The Washington Post’s Derek Hawkins profiles Jay Sekulow, a new member of President Donald Trump’s legal team. Hawkins writes of Sekulow, who is Jewish, “Over three decades, he built a legal and media empire by representing religious groups, antiabortion advocates and other conservative organizations in high-profile court battles.” Hawkins adds, “He has virtually no experience in law enforcement investigations or white-collar matters, unlike his main counterparts on the legal team representing Trump in the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and, now, possible obstruction of justice by the president.”

Read at The Washington Post

Officials: 17-year-old Muslim Girl Assaulted and Killed After Leaving Virginia Mosque

posted on June 19, 2017

The Washington Post’s Faiz Siddiqui, Julie Zauzmer, and Sarah Pulliam Bailey report that police found the remains of a Muslim teenager on Sunday, after she was assaulted and killed leaving a Virginia mosque. Authorities have charged a 22-year-old man with the murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen, but the case is not being investigated as a hate crime. Siddiqui, Zauzmer, and Pulliam Bailey write, “The killing rattled a Muslim community in the midst of celebrating Ramadan, a month of religious observance in which adherents fast from dawn to sunset for about a month.”

Read at The Washington Post

Lawmakers, Religious Leaders Pray for Victims of Congressional Baseball Shooting

posted on June 15, 2017

Religion News Service’s Madeleine Buckley reports that political and religious leaders alike are praying for Rep. Steve Scalise and four others, who were injured in yesterday’s shooting at a GOP congressional baseball practice. James T. Hodgkinson fired more than 50 shots at the practice before he was fatally wounded by Capitol Hill police. Buckley adds, “The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which started its spring general meeting on Wednesday, began with a prayer for the victims of the baseball shooting, as well as the recent violence in London.”

Read at Religion News Service

Bishops Renew Pledge to Fight Trump-Backed Immigration Proposals

posted on June 15, 2017

America’s Michael J. O’Loughlin reports that Catholic bishops announced that they would be more proactive in creating a vision for immigration reform, after Tuesday’s meeting in Indianapolis. O’Loughlin writes, “Following Mr. Trump’s surprise victory in November, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops convened a special working group to coordinate the church’s response to immigration proposals from the new administration.” Some Christian groups have declared themselves sanctuaries for undocumented individuals, but O’Loughlin notes that “Catholic leaders have largely shied away from such declarations, insisting that they have no legal basis for such moves and that doing so could ultimately offer false hope to undocumented immigrants.”

Read at America

Southern Baptists Voted Overwhelmingly to Condemn “Alt-Right White Supremacy”

posted on June 15, 2017

The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports, “Members of the Southern Baptist Convention voted Wednesday to condemn a white nationalist movement, but only after fierce backlash following their decision a day earlier not to move forward with a similar resolution.” The final version of the resolution reads that Southern Baptists “decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Pulliam Bailey writes, “The debate over the resolution highlights the divisions within the denomination.”

Read at The Washington Post