RAP Sheet

The Road from Selma Was Paved with the Blood of Four Unsung Martyrs

posted on March 6, 2015

Religion News Service’s Adelle M. Banks recounts the stories of four religious activists who died in the lead-up and aftermath of the march from Selma, which marks its 50th anniversary this week. “The four marytrs — a Baptist deacon, a minister, a Unitarian laywoman and an Episcopal seminarian — are largely unknown, but they’re being remembered for sacrificing their lives for the rights of others,” Banks writes. “The names of all four are etched in the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala., along with 36 others — starting with Mississippi minister George Lee, who died in 1955, and ending with King, who was assassinated in 1968.”

Read at Religion News Service

In Chapel Hill, Suspect’s Rage Went Beyond a Parking Dispute

posted on March 6, 2015

In The New York Times, Jonathan M. Katz retraces the final hours of three murdered Muslim young adults in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the months leading up to their final confrontation with their neighbor Craig Stephen Hicks, who shot them on February 10. Katz writes, “A motive for the shooting may never be known. But interviews with more than a dozen of the victims’ friends and family members, lawyers, police officers and others make two central points: Before the shootings, the students took concerted steps to appease a menacing neighbor, and none were parked that day in a way that would have set off an incident involving their cars.” He continues, “If those accounts do not prove what kind of malice was in Mr. Hicks’s heart, the details that emerge indicate that whatever happened almost certainly was not a simple dispute over parking.”

Read at The New York Times

New York City Adds 2 Muslim Holy Days to Public School Calendar

posted on March 5, 2015

The New York Times’ Michael M. Grynbaum and Sharon Otterman report that New York City will become the nation’s first major city to recognize Islam’s two most sacred days on public school calendars. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, “When these holidays are recognized, it’s a sign that Muslims have a role in the political and social fabric of America.”

Read at The New York Times

The Breakup

posted on March 4, 2015

At Foreign Affairs, John B. Judis explores the history of U.S. attitudes toward Israel, arguing that levels of bipartisan support have in fact been declining for years. American support for Israel was largely bipartisan until the early 1980s to the early 2000s, Judis explains; it frayed as Israeli and American politics both turned more conservative and the Israel lobby in the U.S. gained power. Today, Israel and the U.S. still have a largely supportive relationship, Judis writes. “But with the fracas over Netanyahu’s visit, and the continuing battle over the Iran negotiations, the era of automatic bipartisan support for Israel’s government is drawing to a close, and with it, perhaps, the special relationship between the United States and Israel.”

Read at Foreign Affairs

Alabama Court Orders a Halt to Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

posted on March 4, 2015

In The New York Times, Campbell Robertson writes, “The Alabama Supreme Court on Tuesday night ordered probate judges around the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, ruling in direct opposition to a federal judge that the state’s ban on same sex marriage did not violate the United States Constitution.” The edict to stop distributing licenses for same-sex marriages has thrown couples and county-level judges into confusion, Robertson reports, as competing orders in favor of and against Alabama’s marriage ban have created patchwork opportunities for gay couples seeking licenses since the fight over the ban began in January. The case is likely to end in the Supreme Court later this year.

Read at The New York Times

Christian, or Feminist?

posted on March 4, 2015

At The Atlantic, Emma Green reviews Dianna E. Anderson’s book Damaged Goods, in which Anderson describes her seemingly paradoxical relationship with feminism and evangelicalism and attempts to reconcile the two. The dissociation in values between feminist and evangelical culture makes Anderson’s book inherently political in the era of the culture wars, Green argues, and yet neither feminism nor evangelicalism is a solely political affiliation. “In their own ways, both are orientations toward the world that provide people with guidance on how to be human, and how to treat other humans,” Green writes.

Read at The Atlantic

Afghan Policewomen Struggle Against Culture

posted on March 4, 2015

In The New York Times, Alissa J. Rubin describes the inequality, oppression, and stigma experienced by policewomen in Afghanistan. Often sexually harassed and coerced by colleagues and supervisors, Afghan policewomen are also threatened with violence and shame for violating community standards of morality by working. “The plight of women under the Taliban captured the Western imagination, and their liberation became a rallying cry,” Rubin writes, continuing: “Now, as Western troops and money flow out of Afghanistan, the question is just how much the encounter with the West and its values has really changed the country, and whether any of the foreign ideas about the status of women took hold.”

Read at The New York Times

Break-in at Y-12

posted on March 4, 2015

In The New Yorker, Eric Schlosser explores the history of the Catholic Plowshares operations against nuclear facilities, focusing on the recent break-in of three activists—including an 82-year-old nun—to the Y-12 National Security Complex known as the Fort Knox of Uranium. Plowshares operations were inspired by Dorothy Day, a socialist activist turned Catholic pacifist, and led by brothers and Catholic priests Philip and Daniel Berrigan, all of whom condemned the use and development of nuclear weapons. “Plowshares actions have not only revealed serious vulnerabilities in the security of America’s nuclear enterprise; they’ve also shed light on the inherent risks faced by every nation that possesses weapons of mass destruction,” Schlosser writes.

Read at The New Yorker

States of the Union

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


An Autoworker Reconciles God and Mammon

By Christopher D. Cantwell

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