RAP Sheet

President Obama: Religious Freedom Keeps Us Strong

posted on February 8, 2016

At Religion News Service, Barack Obama writes on his visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, his first visit to a mosque as President. Obama writes, “I want every Muslim American who may be wondering where they fit in to know that you’re right where you belong — because you’re part of America, too. You are not Muslim or American. You are Muslim and American. And I want all Americans to know that across our country and around the world, Muslim communities are standing up for peace and understanding as well.”

Read at Religion News Service

The Progressive Roots of the Pro-Life Movement

posted on February 8, 2016

At The Atlantic, Emma Green writes about a new book from scholar Daniel K. Williams, which takes a new look at the pro-life movement before the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. In Defenders of the Unborn, Williams argues that although Catholics lead the charge against abortion, their arguments were often framed in liberal ideology. “The debate about abortion was a conflict over gender, even though most pro-lifers of the late 1960s and early 1970s had been slow to recognize this fact,” Williams writes in his book. “It was not a conflict of men against women, as some pro-choicers believed; instead, it was a debate between two different groups of women.”

Read at The Atlantic

Democratic Candidates Discuss the Importance of Their Faith

posted on February 8, 2016

Eugene Scott of CNN reports, “The Democratic presidential candidates discussed the role that faith plays in shaping their principles at Wednesday’s CNN Democratic Town Hall.” Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized her Methodist roots, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders explained his presidential bid in the context of his Jewish faith. “You know, everybody practices religion in a different way. To me, I would not be here tonight, I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings.”

Read at CNN

In Historic Move, Pope to Meet with Leader of Russian Orthodox Church

posted on February 8, 2016

At The New York Times, Elisabetta Povoledo and Jim Yardley report, “Pope Francis will travel to Cuba on Feb. 12 for a historic meeting with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, the first meeting between a pope and the Russian patriarch.” The meeting is the result of a concerted effort by the Church to reconcile the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches that split nearly 1,000 years ago. In a statement, the Russian Orthodox Church said, “It is necessary to put aside internal disagreements and unite efforts for saving Christianity in the regions where it is subjected to the most severe persecution.”

Read at The New York Times

Evangelical Voters Mobilize for New Hampshire Presidential Primary

posted on February 8, 2016

Jennifer Levitz and Heather Haddon report, “With the nation’s first presidential primary election less than a week away, pastors across New Hampshire are hoping to surprise the Republican establishment by turning out many thousands of religiously minded voters who have mostly ignored the political world.” State clergy are hoping for a repeat of what happened in Iowa, as Senator Ted Cruz drew out many evangelical caucus-goers to lead him to a surprise win. “I have high hopes here,” said Bryan McCormack, executive director of Cornerstone Policy Research and Action. “I’ve never seen this type of activity from the faith community regarding voting,”

Read at The Wall Street Journal

Takeaways from the Republican Debate

posted on February 8, 2016

The Los Angeles Times‘ Noah Bierman reports on the Republican Presidential debate in New Hampshire, where candidates abandoned social policy discussions in favor of talk on the economy and foreign policy. Instead of appealing to evangelical voters before the state’s primary, potential nominees focused on pandering to the Republican establishment in the least religious state in the nation. “In America, conservatism should mean not only that some rise with conservative principles, but everybody has a chance to rise regardless of who they are,” said Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Read at The Los Angeles Times

Cover Story

posted on February 5, 2016

At The New Yorker, Elif Batuman writes on her personal experiences with headscarves in modern Turkey. Although not particularly pious herself, she discovers the sense of unity with Muslim women that comes from wearing a headscarf. “I realized that no young women had met my eyes or smiled at me in Urfa till then,” Batuman writes. “As I walked on, I felt a rising sense of freedom, as if for the first time I could look wherever I wanted and not risk receiving a hostile glance. So I kept the scarf on.”

Read at The New Yorker

Obama at National Prayer Breakfast: “Faith Is the Great Cure for Fear”

posted on February 4, 2016

CNN’s Laura Koran reports, “President Barack Obama addressed the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, speaking about the need to overcome fear through faith, just one day after making a historic visit to a Baltimore mosque where he delivered a message of religious inclusivity.” Koran writes, “Obama has spoken at the National Prayer Breakfast every year since he took office in 2009.”

Read at CNN

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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A setting to debate the issues of the day.


American presidential politics are in the midst of a strikingly ecumenical, if not interfaith, moment. https://t.co/FoJJiWXfdj

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