Toggle Menu

Rap Sheet

Links on R&P from around the web

Republicans to the Court: Strike Down the Travel Ban

posted on April 24, 2018

In an opinion piece for The New York Times, Thomas H. Kean, Carter Phillips, and John Danforth write that the Trump administration’s travel ban threatens the Constitution and the separation of powers. Danforth is a former senator and the namesake of the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, which publishes this journal; he is also a member of the center’s National Advisory Board. Together with Kean and Phillips, he writes, “All presidents push the limits of the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. President Trump’s travel ban tears the fabric.”

Read at The New York Times

In Travel Ban Case, Supreme Court Considers “The President” vs. “This President”

posted on April 23, 2018

The Washington Post’s Robert Barnes reports that on Wednesday the Supreme Court will consider the Trump administration’s travel ban that bars entry for nationals from a group of majority-Muslim countries. Barnes writes, “The first version of the ban was issued just a week after Trump took office, and lower courts have found that it and each reformulated version since exceeded the authority granted by Congress and was motivated by Trump’s prejudice — animus, as courts like to say — toward Muslims.” He adds, “But, similar to a debate that has consumed Washington for the past 15 months, a major issue for the court is separating ‘the president’ from ‘this president.’”

Read at The Washington Post

Church of the Donald

posted on April 23, 2018

For POLITICO Magazine, Ruth Graham reports, “As Christian networks have become more comfortable with politics, the Trump administration has turned them into a new pipeline for its message.” In 2017, Trump gave more interviews to the Christian Broadcasting Network than CNN, ABC, or CBS. CBN offers Trump a friendly platform that is unlikely to challenge him. Graham writes, “His hair-sprayed reality-TV persona—to say nothing of the bluster and the heroic monologues—aren’t that far from the preaching style that has prospered on cable evangelism.”

Read at POLITICO Magazine

Is Trump “Morally Unfit” to Be President? Not if Americans Can’t Agree on What’s Good and Bad.

posted on April 23, 2018

For The Washington Post, R. Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, writes that Americans wildly diverge in what they consider to be moral behavior. Determining President Trump’s “moral fitness”, in turn, is limited by the absence of a consensus of what is right or wrong. “Studying these battles together shows that Americans have a core disagreement about women’s equality with men, and the significance of sexual behavior, that has deepened over the past century,” Griffith writes. “There is an overarching divide between opposing views about the very meaning of morality.”

Read at The Washington Post

Black Network’s Farm-To-Church Movement Brings Fresh Food to Baltimore

posted on April 23, 2018

Religion News Service’s Adelle M. Banks reports that some Baltimore black churches are growing their food or networking with black farmers for produce, in order to bring fresh and healthy produce to urban black neighborhoods. “The goal is to provide alternatives to the less nutritious and more expensive foods often sold at convenience stores in neighborhoods that don’t have groceries nearby,” Banks writes. The Black Church Food Security Network informally began as a stopgap response to store closures after the 2015 Freddie Grey riots, and now counts 10 black churches among its ranks, a number which will likely grow as more churches build their own gardens.

Read at Religion News Service

A Cassandra Cry Against Pope Francis

posted on April 23, 2018

The Atlantic’s Emma Green reviews Ross Douthat’s latest book, To Change the Church. Douthat, a New York Times columnist, has been a vocal critic of Pope Francis and what he sees as the pontiff’s liberal bent when it comes to doctrine. Green writes, “His focus is almost always on one topic: the pope’s efforts to address issues related to family.” Green continues, “While most Catholics might not disagree with Douthat’s claims about doctrine outright, some—including the pope—would likely foreground their description differently. Catholicism, like any religion, is indeed a set of principles and writings and teachings, but it is also the lived experience of the body of believers—the church, little c. Lived religion is inevitably messier than doctrine.”

Read at The Atlantic

“I Have No Fear of Death”: Barbara Bush on Faith and Finality

posted on April 18, 2018

The Washington Post’s Cleve R. Wootson Jr. reports that former First Lady Barbara Bush died on Tuesday at the age of 92. Wootson describes Bush’s beliefs on death and God, based on an interview she gave in 2013. “I’m a huge believer in a loving God,” Bush said. “And I have no fear of death, which is a huge comfort because we’re getting darned close.”

Read at The Washington Post

How Liberty University Built a Billion-Dollar Empire Online

posted on April 18, 2018

For The New York Times Magazine, Alec MacGillis reports that in 2016 Liberty University, a non-profit evangelical college, netted nearly $1 billion in total revenue, much of it from federal tax dollars. Liberty’s astounding growth can be attributed to its lucrative online courses, which offer dubious educational value. Liberty has also encountered controversy due to the close relationship between Jerry Falwell Jr., its president, and President Trump. MacGillis writes, “One of the top orders of business for Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has been to roll back Obama-era regulations on online-degree providers.”

Read at The New York Times Magazine

How Muslims, Often Misunderstood, Are Thriving in America

posted on April 17, 2018

For National Geographic, Leila Fadel writes that more 100 mosques in the United States were targeted last year with threats, vandalism, or arson. “And yet, Muslim communities in America are thriving,” she writes. “I visited Muslims, in the South, West, Northeast, and Midwest. What I found was a variety of race, practice, class, culture, and language that I’d seen just once before—in Mecca, during the hajj, the pilgrimage that the roughly 1.8 billion Muslims around the world are obligated to make once in their lifetime.”

Read at National Geographic

What Happens When a Church Dedicated to Fighting White Supremacy Is Accused of It

posted on April 17, 2018

The Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein reports that Washington’s All Souls Unitarian Church, which has billed itself as a bastion of progressivism, stands accused of racism. The Rev. Susan Newman Moore, who was the only African American on the church’s full-time staff before resigning last summer, alleges that she was underpaid, the target of racially motivated slights, and ultimately forced out by church leadership. “After nearly 200 years on the social justice forefront leading on everything from fighting slavery and segregation to legalizing same-gender marriage, All Souls’ attendance surged after the election of President Trump,” Boorstein writes. “Now some congregants say they feel the conflict over Moore has revealed their church home as just another example of the racism they have been fighting.”

Read at The Washington Post