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Trump Mourns Loss of “Beautiful Statues and Monuments” in Wake of Charlottesville Rally Over Robert E. Lee Statue

posted on August 17, 2017

The Washington Post’s David Nakamura reports, “President Trump on Thursday mourned the loss of ‘beautiful statues and monuments’ in the wake of the violent clashes in Charlottesville during a white supremacist demonstration protesting the planned removal of a statue depicting Confederate military commander Robert E. Lee.” In a series of morning tweets, President Trump doubled down on statements made earlier in the week, in which he claimed that some “Unite the Right” demonstrators had legitimate complaints. Nakamura adds, “Some white supremacist leaders, including David Duke, the former KKK grand wizard, have praised Trump for his ‘honesty’ and ‘courage.”’

Read at The Washington Post

Children of Catholic Priests Live with Secrets and Sorrow

posted on August 17, 2017

The Boston Globe’s Michael Rezendes profiles the unplanned, abandoned children of Catholic priests. He writes, “The sons and daughters of priests often grow up without the love and support of their fathers, and are often pressured or shamed into keeping the existence of the relationship a secret. They are the unfortunate victims of a church that has, for nearly 900 years, forbidden priests to marry or have sex, but has never set rules for what priests or bishops must do when a clergyman fathers a child.” Chiara Villar, who was forced to be isolated from her father, a Canadian priest, said, “I started to take the blame on myself. I started to contemplate whether I was even important enough to live. I started to cut myself because I loved this man so much.”

Read at The Boston Globe

Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds Gets a Boost for his LGBTQ Fundraising Concert from, of All Groups, the Mormon Church

posted on August 17, 2017

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Peggy Fletcher Stack reports that the Mormon Church is supporting the LoveLoud Festival, a concert that aims to benefit at-risk LGBTQ youths. In a statement posted on its newsroom website, the LDS church wrote, “We applaud the LoveLoud Festival for LGBTQ youth’s aim to bring people together to address teen safety and to express respect and love for all of God’s children.” The festival is organized by Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds, who has criticized the LDS church’s stance on gay members in the past.

Read at The Salt Lake Tribune

Transgender “Bathroom Bill” Fails Again in Texas as Special Session Ends

posted on August 17, 2017

The Washington Post’s Sandhya Somashekhar reports, “The Texas legislature abruptly ended its special session late Tuesday without passing a bill regulating the use of bathrooms by transgender people, a setback for Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who had called the 30-day session in large part to enact such a law.” Somashekhar adds, “The failure of the Texas bill was met with relief by LGBT rights activists, who pledged to continue to fight such efforts in the state and nationally.” Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a supporter of the bill, said of the people of Texas: “They don’t want their children showering together, boys and girls in the 10th grade, sharing locker rooms and restrooms.”

Read at The Washington Post

Meet the Clergy Who Stared Down White Supremacists in Charlottesville

posted on August 17, 2017

ThinkProgress’s Jack Jenkins writes about Congregate CVille, a movement formed five weeks ago that directed clergy members to counter-protest the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last weekend. The Rev. Seth Wispelwey, a United Church of Christ (UCC) minister who helped organize the resistance, said, “We invited in national faith leaders who were able to equip others on how to be disciplined and present in situations of volatility and violence and potential for harm.” Jenkins adds that as some faith leaders aided counter-protesters in need, others joined the front lines, linking arms to block white supremacists from entering Emancipation Park.

Read at ThinkProgress

Outrage, Disbelief Echo Over Latest Vandalism to New England Holocaust Memorial

posted on August 17, 2017

Boston Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo reports that Boston community leaders came together on Tuesday to denounce the vandalism of the New England Holocaust Memorial, which has been desecrated three times over the last two months. A resident of a mental health facility allegedly damaged memorial flowers on Tuesday, while a 17-year-old was charged on Monday for throwing a rock at one of the memorial’s symbolic glass panels. Szaniszlo writes, “This week’s vandalism comes weeks after a 21-year-old with a history of mental illness shattered one of the memorial’s glass panels, which are etched with numbers representing the tattoos on the arms of Jews sent to Nazi death camps.”

Read at Boston Herald

Thousands of Faith Leaders Ask Congress to Protect Johnson Amendment

posted on August 17, 2017

Religion News Service’s Adelle M. Banks reports, “More than 4,000 religious leaders have signed a letter urging Congress to maintain the Johnson Amendment, a law barring pulpit politicking that President Trump has vowed to gut.” The letter, which was sent to Congress on Wednesday, reads, “Faith leaders are called to speak truth to power, and we cannot do so if we are merely cogs in partisan political machines.” Banks adds that the message was organized by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

Read at Religion News Service

“Jews Will Not Replace Us”: Why White Supremacists Go After Jews

posted on August 15, 2017

For The Washington Post, Yair Rosenberg argues that the question of whether or not Jews are white must be set aside, since they are so often targeted by white supremacists. Rosenberg writes, “At their Friday night rally at the University of Virginia, the white nationalists brandished torches and chanted anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans.” He adds, “When white supremacists are viciously attacking Jews as nonwhite impostors, then any anti-racists worthy of the name must be there to defend them. They cannot impose their own definitions of whiteness on Jews and sidestep their plight.”

Read at The Washington Post

Hillary Clinton’s Pastor Plagiarized Portion of New Book

posted on August 15, 2017

CNN’s Daniel Burke reports, “Hillary Clinton’s longtime pastor plagiarized the writings of another minister in a new book scheduled to be released on Tuesday.” The Rev. Bill Shillady’s Strong for a Moment Like This, which is based on messages that the United Methodist minister wrote to Clinton from April 2015 through December 2016, features emails that take paragraphs from the Rev. Matthew Deuel’s blog. Deuel said, “If my blog then, in turn, inspired Rev. Shillady and it was used to encourage Hillary Clinton, then praise God for that! Could it have been done differently? Probably.”

Read at CNN

Texas Senate OKs Restricting Insurance Coverage for Abortion

posted on August 14, 2017

The Associated Press’s Will Weissert and David Crary report, “The Republican-controlled Texas Senate backed a plan Saturday night to restrict insurance coverage for abortions, over the objections of opponents who expressed concern it could force some women to make heart-wrenching choices because no exceptions will be made in cases of rape and incest.” After a final vote on Sunday, Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign the plan into law, which will require women to purchase additional abortion insurance, except in cases of medical emergency. Sen. Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat from Houston, said, “No woman plans to have an abortion and certainly no woman can plan to be raped, no woman can plan to be attacked by someone she knows in her own family.”

Read at The Associated Press