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Links on R&P from around the web

Under Fire For Recent Holocaust Flubs, Trump Will Headline Days of Remembrance Ceremony

posted on April 24, 2017

The Washington Post’s Kristine Phillips and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. report that Donald Trump will deliver Tuesday’s keynote address at the Days of Remembrance ceremony, an event that remembers the Holocaust and is hosted by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. “But unlike his predecessors, Trump — as a candidate and as president — has been widely criticized by Jewish organizations for what they see as a lackluster and slow response to the recent spike in anti-Semitic incidents across the country. His young administration also has been faulted for a couple of recent flubs about the Holocaust,” Phillips and Wootson Jr. write. They add, “This means that the speech Trump will deliver during the week-long commemoration of the Holocaust could be a critical step for him to appease some of his critics.”

Read at The Washington Post

Who Does the Anne Frank Center Represent?

posted on April 24, 2017

The Atlantic‘s Emma Green reports on the roots of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, a small organization that has garnered outsized media attention in recent months with its sharp critiques of the Trump administration. “With just its famous name and a savvy social-media strategy, the Anne Frank Center has transformed into a putative authority on anti-Semitism and American politics. But it’s not at all clear the organization speaks for anybody other than its own leaders—not Holocaust scholars, Anne Frank’s family, or the Jewish community,” Green writes. “Ultimately, by politicizing Anne Frank, the group may undermine her legacy.”

Read at The Atlantic

Thousands Rally For Truth, Evidence-Based Policies at March For Science

posted on April 24, 2017

Religion News Service’s Lilly Fowler reports that thousands of people across the country participated in the March for Science on Saturday for Earth Day. Fowler writes that organizers of the march described it as a call “for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.” Fowler adds, “Although organizers described science as a nonpartisan issue — noting that one of the goals for the march was to affirm that ‘science is a democratic value’ — many that gathered for the event made clear they were no fans of the current presidential administration.”

Read at Religion News Service

2nd Doctor, Wife Arrested in Genital Mutilation Case

posted on April 24, 2017

The Detroit News’s Robert Snell reports, “Federal agents arrested a second doctor and his wife Friday in a widening conspiracy involving female genital mutilation and members of a Muslim sect.” Dr. Fakhruddin Attar is accused of allowing Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who allegedly mutilated two 7-year-old girls earlier this year, to perform genital mutilations at Attar’s medical clinic. Snell writes, “The arrests are the latest development in the nation’s first female genital mutilation case, which is providing insight into a small, insular Muslim community in Metro Detroit and an illegal procedure performed on young girls.”

Read at The Detroit News

The Supreme Court Considers Whether Churches Should Get Taxpayer Dollars

posted on April 19, 2017

The Atlantic’s Emma Green writes on the Trinity Lutheran Church case, which the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on today. At issue is whether the state of Missouri can exclude religious institutions from an otherwise secular aid program. The case occurred after a church in Columbia, Missouri, was denied a state grant to resurface its preschool’s playground. Green writes, “On its surface,Trinity Lutheran seems like it’s just about keeping kids’ knees from getting scraped. But it raises a highly contested question: What does the law say about when and how the government can fund religious institutions?”

Read at The Atlantic

To These Pastors, Saving the Colorado River Is a Divine Command

posted on April 18, 2017

The New York Times’s Fernanda Santos reports that Hispanic evangelical pastors are preaching a gospel of salvation and conservation to try and protect the Colorado River in Arizona, which is being threatened by drought, overuse, and a warming climate. Santos writes, “The pastors, who connected through word of mouth and informal networks organized around a shared Christian belief in being stewards of the earth, are packing their sermons with conservation tips: Take quick showers, use carwashes that recycle their water, and if you visit the river, do not leave any trash behind.” The Rev. Helia Martinez of Templo Cristiano Vino Nuevo in San Luis, Arizona, said, “If there is no river, there is no water. If there is no water, there is no farming, no food, no work. There is no future.”

Read at The New York Times

Grappling with its History of Slavery, Georgetown Gathers Descendants For a Day of Repentance

posted on April 18, 2017

The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer reports, “About 100 men and women whose ancestors were once sold as slaves to fund the nascent Georgetown University gathered at that university Tuesday for an emotional worship service of remembrance and repentance.” Last year, genealogists uncovered that Jesuit priests sold 272 slaves to fund Georgetown in 1838. Zauzmer writes, “The Scripture passages chosen for the service included Isaiah 58, which calls ‘to loose the chains of injustice … to set the oppressed free and break every yoke.”’

Read at The Washington Post

New Study Shows Number of American Atheists Underreported

posted on April 18, 2017

Religion News Service’s Kimberly Winston reports on a study that suggests as high as 26 percent of Americans might be atheists, compared to previously reported poll numbers of between 3 and 10 percent. Winston writes, “The report by two University of Kentucky scholars suggests that because people may be embarrassed to admit they don’t believe in God, the number of Americans who say they are non-believers may be artificially low.” Will Gervais, one of the study’s authors, told Vox in an interview, “There’s a lot of atheists in the closet, and … if they knew there are lots of people just like them out there, that could potentially promote more tolerance.”

Read at Religion News Service

Alabama Governor Resigns, Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanors

posted on April 11, 2017

The Associated Press‘s Kim Chandler and Anthony Izaguirre report, “Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley resigned Monday rather than face impeachment and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor campaign violations that arose during an investigation of his alleged affair with a top aide. In a remarkable fall, the mild-mannered 74-year-old Republican and one-time Baptist deacon stepped down as the sex-tinged scandal gathered force over the past few days.”

Read at Associated Press

How Pope Francis Is Leading the Catholic Church Against Anti-Migrant Populism

posted on April 11, 2017

The Washington Post’s Anthony Faiola and Sarah Pulliam Bailey report, “As politicians around the world including President Trump take an increasingly hard line on immigration, a powerful force is rallying to the side of migrants: the Roman Catholic Church led by Pope Francis.” Pope Francis has declared that anyone who wants to build walls “is not Christian.” The Rev. Michael Czerny, the undersecretary of the Vatican’s Section for Refugees and Migrants, which opened in January, said, “I don’t think the pope is challenging [the politicians]. I think he is challenging their supporters, both those who actively support them and those who passively allow their policies to happen.”

Read at The Washington Post