RAP Sheet

Federal Authorities to Seek Death Penalty Against Dylann Roof

posted on May 25, 2016

The Post and Courier‘s  Andrew Knapp and Jennifer Berry Hawes report, “Nearly a year after gunfire interrupted a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church, federal prosecutors said Tuesday that they will seek the death penalty against Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old suspect in a racially motivated attack that killed nine black worshippers.” The substantial planning and expression of racial attitudes contributed to the federal government’s decision to seek capital punishment. “The government is taking a stand, saying this kind of crime won’t be tolerated in the United States of America, and when you do commit a crime, you’ve got to take responsibility for your actions,” said Kevin Singleton, son of one of the victims. “It’s a great message being sent by the government that this won’t be tolerated.”

Read at The Post and Courier

Hollywood Reworks Muslim Stereotypes

posted on May 25, 2016

At Religion News Service, Julie Poucher Harbin reports that Hollywood directors are increasingly turning to cultural advisors in order to portray Muslims in a more realistic manner. “Television and films have been our way of coming to terms with new groups and understanding them for decades; from the African-American community beginning in the 1970s, to women in the workplaces in the ’80s and ’90s, to the LGBT community beginning in the ’90s,” said Michael Wolfe co-director of the Muslims on Screen and Television project. “Muslims, in that regard, are the news kids on the block. They are small in number, but they represent a huge population globally.”

Read at Religion News Service

Republican Jewish Coalition Condemns Anti-Semitism Toward Journalists

posted on May 25, 2016

The New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman reports, “The Republican Jewish Coalition, a group heavily financed by the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, on Tuesday condemned what it called a rising tide of anti-Semitic invective against journalists covering the presidential race.” Jewish writers have have been the subject of abuse on social media, particularly those critical of Donald Trump. “We abhor any abuse of journalists, commentators and writers whether it be from Sanders, Clinton or Trump supporters,” the statement read. “There is no room for any of this in any campaign. Journalists, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity should be free to do their jobs without suffering abuses, anti-Semitic or otherwise.”

Read at The New York Times

Jimmy Carter, Seeing Resurgence of Racism, Plans Baptist Conference for Unity

posted on May 24, 2016

The New York Times‘ Laurie Goodstein reports that former President Jimmy Carter is using his Baptist faith to address racial issues within churches and between congregations. Carter expressed his frustration at the use of racial language toward current President Barack Obama and concern about the ability of Donald Trump to tap into racist sentiments during the Republican primaries. “I don’t feel good, except for one thing: I think the country has been reawakened the last two or three years to the fact that we haven’t resolved the race issue adequately,” Carter said.

Read at The New York Times

Muslim Lawmakers Fear Trump, What He’s Tapping Into

posted on May 24, 2016

At The Hill, Julian Hattem reports that Muslim congressmen are speaking out against the extreme attitudes fostered by Donald Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail. Representatives Keith Ellison and André Carson, the only two Muslims in Congress, stated that while they fear the anger stirred by Trump, they are hoping it will push more Muslims to become involved in American politics. “The people who promoted this kind of hateful behavior are going to wish they had never done it, because they’re awakening a group of loyal, dedicated Americans who love their country and appreciate the democracy that we have and are going to rededicate themselves to it,” Ellison said.

Read at The Hill

Donald Trump Moves To Win Over Wavering Evangelical Christians

posted on May 24, 2016

At Religion News Service, David Gibson reports, “Donald Trump is moving quickly to rally the evangelical base of the Republican Party as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee pivots toward a general election contest where the conservative Christian vote will be crucial to his chances for winning the White House.” Although many evangelicals harbor doubts over Trump’s commitment to their causes, they are unwilling to back a Democratic candidate. “We are looking for a way forward,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “The main thing here is this is to have a conversation.”

Read at Religion News Service

How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground for ISIS

posted on May 23, 2016

The New York Times‘ Carlotta Gall reports on the transformation of Kosovo from a tolerant Muslim society into a hotbed of extremism. “All around Kosovo, families are grappling with the aftermath of years of proselytizing by Saudi-trained preachers. Some daughters refuse to shake hands with or talk to male relatives. Some sons have gone off to jihad. Religious vigilantes have threatened — or committed — violence against academics, journalists and politicians,” Gall writes. “The Balkans, Europe’s historical fault line, have yet to heal from the ethnic wars of the 1990s. But they are now infected with a new intolerance, moderate imams and officials in the region warn.”

Read at The New York Times

Afghan Taliban Meet on Succession as Obama Confirms Leader’s Death

posted on May 23, 2016

At Reuters, James Mackenzie and Matt Spetalnick report, “Senior Afghan Taliban figures were meeting on Monday to agree on a successor to Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the leader of the militant movement who U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed had been killed in an American air strike.” While the Taliban have yet to comment on the death of Mansour, senior officials confirmed that they are meeting in order to prevent the terrorist group from fragmenting. “The Taliban should seize the opportunity to pursue the only real path for ending this long conflict – joining the Afghan government in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability,” Obama said.

Read at Reuters

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.


At BYU, a New Confrontation in the Campus Sexual Assault Debates https://t.co/i5g87h72Rr


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