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Religious Leaders Divided Over Trump’s Jerusalem Decision

posted on December 7, 2017

NPR’s Tom Gjelten reports, “President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and his order to move the U.S. Embassy brought quick and sharply differing reactions from Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders.” Wednesday’s decision was especially embraced by evangelical Christians, according to Gjelten. He writes, “Evangelicals feel a special kinship with Jerusalem as the city where they believe Jesus Christ was crucified and rose again. Some sects even take an eschatological view, arguing that Jesus will return to Earth in Jerusalem, once all Jews are reunited there.”

Read at NPR

State Department Warns of Violence Ahead of Trump Jerusalem Decision

posted on December 1, 2017

POLITICO’s Nahal Toosi reports, “The State Department has warned American embassies worldwide to heighten security ahead of a possible announcement Wednesday by President Donald Trump that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Toosi writes, “Some Arab leaders have implored Trump not to change longstanding American policy on Jerusalem, saying it could make any peace agreement impossible and that it would spark mass protests and even terrorism.” The warning comes as Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, works to facilitate peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Read at POLITICO

This Supreme Court Case is About Cake. But it Could Change LGBT Rights

posted on December 1, 2017

TIME’s Elizabeth Dias reports that the Supreme Court will hear a case on Tuesday concerning whether or not businesses can reject customers on religious grounds. Five years ago, Jack Phillps refused to bake a cake for a gay couple, and he was sued for discrimination. Dias writes, “Phillips argues his case is not about gay marriage, but about freedom of expression, as he refuses to create cakes for all things he morally opposes, including Halloween, anti-America events and bachelor parties.”

Read at TIME

God’s Plan for Mike Pence

posted on December 1, 2017

The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins writes about Vice President Mike Pence and his ostensibly boundless loyalty to President Trump. A former senior advisor said of Pence, “He was this mild-mannered, uber-Christian guy with a Midwestern accent telling voters, ‘Trump is a good man; I know what’s in his heart.’ It was very convincing – you wanted to trust him.” Coppins points out that Pence’s loyalty has paid off; the religious right has enjoyed a largely evangelical cabinet, a conservative Supreme Court justice, and restrictions on abortion. Coppins adds, “Some prominent evangelicals have gone even further to describe Pence’s role – reverently invoking biblical heroes who aligned themselves with flawed worldly leaders to do God’s will.”

Read at The Atlantic

Supreme Court Allows Trump Travel Ban to Take Effect

posted on December 1, 2017

The New York Times’s Adam Liptak reports, “The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the third version of the Trump administration’s travel ban to go into effect while legal challenges against it continue.” The ban blocks travel from eight countries, six of which are largely Muslim: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. Liptak adds, “The restrictions vary in their details, but in most cases, citizens of the countries will be unable to emigrate to the United States permanently and many will be barred from working, studying or vacationing here.”

Read at The New York Times

Trump Drastically Cuts National Monument Sacred to Native Americans

posted on December 1, 2017

Religion News Service’s Emily McFarlan Miller reports, “President Trump has signed presidential proclamations to shrink two Utah national monuments in a move that Native American tribal leaders, clergy, environmentalists and other opponents have described as the largest elimination of protective status for land in American history.” Monday’s proclamation aims to reduce the sacred 1.5-million acre Bears Ears National Monument in Utah by 85 percent. Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez responded, “We are resilient and refuse to allow President Trump’s unlawful decision to discourage us. We will continue to fight in honor of our ancestral warriors who fought for our way of life, for our culture and for our land too.”

Read at Religion News Service

Trump Offers Full Support for Embattled Republican Roy Moore

posted on December 1, 2017

The Associated Press’s Nancy Benac reports, “President Donald Trump formally endorsed embattled Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race on Monday, looking past sexual misconduct allegations against the GOP candidate to argue that Moore’s vote is needed in Congress.” Trump tweeted Monday morning, “Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama.” Benac writes, “It was Trump’s strongest show of support for Moore since allegations surfaced that the candidate had sexually assaulted teenage girls decades ago, including one who said he molested her when she was 14 and he was in his 30s.”

Trump Retweets Inflammatory and Unverified Anti-Muslim Videos

posted on November 29, 2017

The Washington Post‘s Ashley Parker and John Wagner report, “President Trump on  Wednesday shared three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos on Twitter posted by a far-right British activist.” The source of the tweets, Jayda Fransen, is the deputy leader of Britain First, an anti-Muslim extremist group. Fransen was convicted of harassment last year for abusing a woman wearing a hijab. Parker and Wagner write, “Following Trump’s retweets, Fransen took to Twitter to tout the U.S. president’s promotion of her videos.”

Read at The Washington Post

Sister Antona Ebo’s Lifelong Struggle Against White Supremacy, Inside and Outside the Catholic Church

posted on November 28, 2017

For America, Shannen Dee Williams writes about the life of Mary Antona Ebo, a Catholic civil rights leader who died on November 11. Williams writes, “Sister Ebo, during her 93 years, broke a host of seemingly insurmountable racial barriers within the church.” While participating in the historic 1965 march to Selma, Ebo said, “I am here because I am a Negro, a nun, a Catholic, and because I want to bear witness … I’m here today because yesterday [in Saint Louis] I voted.” Williams adds, “In her later years, Ebo, a cancer survivor and recipient of six honorary doctorates, remained a staunch advocate of racial justice and inclusion.”

Read at America

The Uncounted

posted on November 20, 2017

For The New York Times Magazine, Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal report on the multitude of uncounted civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria, the result of poorly planned airstrikes by the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in both countries. After visiting the sites of nearly 150 airstrikes, Khan and Gopal explain, “We found that one in five of the coalition strikes we identified resulted in civilian death, a rate more than 31 times that acknowledged by the coalition. It is at such a distance from official claims that, in terms of civilian deaths, this may be the least transparent war in recent American history.” They add, “Intelligence failures suggest that not all civilian casualties are unavoidable tragedies; some deaths could be prevented if the coalition recognizes its past failures and changes its operating assumptions accordingly. But in the course of our investigation, we found that it seldom did either.”

Read at The New York Times Magazine