RAP Sheet

Militant Group Says It Killed American Journalist in Syria

posted on August 20, 2014

In The New York Times, Rukmini Callmachi reports, “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria posted a video on Tuesday that it said showed the beheading of James Foley, an American journalist who was kidnapped in Syria nearly two years ago.” In the video, a masked ISIS fighter said that Foley’s execution “is in retaliation for the recent American airstrikes ordered by President Obama” against ISIS.

Read at The New York Times

Burying Your Dead Without Religion

posted on August 20, 2014

In The Atlantic, Emma Green reports on the ways that a growing number of non-religious Americans remember the dead. Green discusses a host of new rituals, from tattoos containing ashes of the dead to customized urns and caskets to bodies embalmed in familiar poses. Candi Cann, an author and professor at Baylor University, explains, “As society becomes more secular, and people are more and more turning to that ‘spiritual but not religious category,’ they’re forming their own do-it-yourself ways of remembering the dead.”

Read at The Atlantic

Holocaust Survivor Hedy Epstein, Arrested in Ferguson Protest, Says Racism Is Alive in America

posted on August 20, 2014

At Newsweek, Abigail Jones reports on the arrest of Hedy Epstein, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor and human rights activist, outside of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s office building Monday. Epstein, who was protesting Nixon’s decision to activate the National Guard in Ferguson, was arrested for “failure to disperse” after being asked to leave by police. Epstein said, “It’s a matter of racism and injustice, and it’s not only in Ferguson … Racism is alive and well in the United States.”

Read at Newsweek

Pope Backs Military Force to Protect Iraq Minorities

posted on August 20, 2014

In USA Today, Alan Gomez reports, “Pope Francis on Monday endorsed military action to stop Islamist militants from attacking religious minorities in Iraq.” In saying that “it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” the pope made “the most pronounced endorsement of the use of force of any pope … in the last 100 years,” according to James Bretzke, a priest and professor at Boston College. Francis was still nuanced in his statement: “I underscore the verb ‘stop.’ I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’ And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated.”

Read at USA Today

In One America, Guns and Diet. In the Other, Cameras and “Zoolander.”

posted on August 20, 2014

At The New York Times, David Leonhardt discusses the differences between the Google searches of rich and poor Americans. The hardest places to live in America—including large areas of Kentucky, Arkansas, Maine, New Mexico, and Oregon—correlate with Google searches on health problems, weight-loss diets, guns, video games, and the dark side of religion. “Antichrist” has the second-highest correlation with the hardest places, with searches containing “hell” and “rapture” also making the top 10.

Read at The New York Times

Some Evangelicals in Republican Party are Feeling Left Out, See No Standard-Bearer

posted on August 20, 2014

At The Washington Post, Sebastian Payne reports, “Many social conservatives say they feel politically isolated as the country seems to be hurtling to the left … They feel out of place in a GOP increasingly dominated by tea party activists and libertarians.” Payne writes that many conservative evangelicals see no clear 2016 front-runner on their side. Though there are potential candidates like Ben Carson who are popular with social conservatives, “some activists fear that evangelicals risk pouring time, money and hope into another doomed candidate.”

Read at The Washington Post

Violence Flares in Ferguson after Appeals for Harmony

posted on August 18, 2014

At The New York Times, Alan Blinder and Tanzina Vega report from Ferguson, Missouri, “Hours ahead of a second night of a mandatory curfew, the most chaotic violence in a week of unrest broke out here Sunday evening, with law enforcement officers facing off against angry protesters and responding to reports of gunfire and fire bombs.” The evening clashes marked a contrast with the mood of the day, which was filled with church meetings that joined ministers, civil rights figures, parishioners, protestors, and police.

Read at The New York Times

A Clash of Religion and Bioethics Complicates Organ Donation in Israel

posted on August 18, 2014

In The New York Times, Kevin Sack reports that Jewish beliefs regarding mortality and resurrection have cemented Israel’s status as the developed nation with the lowest rate of deceased organ donations—even as Israelis play an enormous role in the global illegal organ trade. While influential Orthodox leaders condemn organ donation, many Israelis push for altruistic living donations. Some are even considering compensation for those who donate organs—an option that tests Israel’s religious and political policies—in an effort to destroy the black market.

Read at The New York Times

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