RAP Sheet

U.N. to Question Vatican Again on Clergy Sex Abuse

posted on April 17, 2014

The Associated Press reports that a second U.N. committee will be holding a hearing in early May “to question Vatican officials on failures to stop clergy sex abuse.” This is the second time Vatican officials have been called to testify before the U.N., following a hearing in January. The article notes, “Last Friday, Pope Francis said he took personal responsibility for the ‘evil’ of clergy sex abuse, sought forgiveness from victims and said the church must be even bolder in efforts to protect children.”

Read at The Associated Press

How the President Got to “I Do” on Same-Sex Marriage

posted on April 17, 2014

Jo Becker of The New York Times writes an in-depth, investigative piece on the “evolution” of the president’s stance on same-sex marriage. Becker details the anxiety the White House felt towards the issue during election season and how Biden’s expressed support for gay marriage prompted a statement from Obama, albeit “calibrated and incremental.” To Becker, David Axelrod said, “The politics of authenticity — not just the politics, but his own sense of authenticity — required that he finally step forward. And the president understood that.”

Read at The New York Times

Obama, Evangelical Leaders Discuss Immigration Overhaul

posted on April 16, 2014

Jared A. Favole of The Wall Street Journal reports, “President Barack Obama met with evangelical leaders at the White House Tuesday to discuss overhauling the immigration system, part of an effort to keep pressure on Congress to act.” The oval office meeting included leaders from several different faiths including Russell Moore from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church and Noel Castellanos of the Christian Development Association. Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, said, “Today’s meeting that the president had with faith leaders demonstrates and reinforces the fact that there is a broad, unusually broad, coalition that supports that effort, that supports comprehensive immigration reform.”

Read at The Wall Street Journal

Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green Launches a New Project: A Public School Bible Curriculum

posted on April 16, 2014

David Van Biema of Religion News Service reports that an Oklahoma school board has agreed to beta-test the first year of the Museum of the Bible Curriculum created by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green. If successful, the four-year public school elective that teaches the Bible’s narrative, history, and impact on human society would galvanize the movement to teach religion in public schools. However, the Oklahoma ACLU said they would review the curriculum “to ensure no students … have their right of religious liberty compromised.”

Read at Religion News Service

Obama Attorneys: Cross Atop California War Veterans Memorial Is ‘Appropriate’

posted on April 16, 2014

Chelsea J. Carter of CNN reports, “The United States will defend against efforts to remove a giant cross atop a war memorial in Southern California over claims it violates the constitutional separation of church and state, according to a petition filed this week with the U.S. Supreme Court.” Since the lawsuit was originally brought forth in 1989, the city of San Diego has twice tried to sell the property as numerous groups, including the ACLU, objected to the symbol. “The United States remains fully committed to preserving the Mount Soledad cross as an appropriate memorial to our nation’s veterans,” the Justice Department petition said.

Read at CNN

New York Drops Unit That Spied on Muslims

posted on April 16, 2014

Matt Apuzzo and Joseph Goldstein of The New York Times report, “The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped.” The department’s decision signals a possible end to some of the post-9/11 intelligence-gathering practices that critics said harmed national security by sowing mistrust of law enforcement in Muslim communities. “In the future, we will gather that information, if necessary, through direct contact between the police precincts and the representatives of the communities they serve,” said Stephen Davis, chief spokesman of the department.

Read at The New York Times

Religion & Politics Named an Official Webby Nominee

posted on April 16, 2014

On April 8, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences announced that Religion & Politics had been named a nominee for the 18th Annual Webby Awards in the Religion & Spirituality category. As a nominee, our work has been selected as one of the five best in the world in its category, and is competing for two of the Internet industry’s coveted awards: the Webby Award and the Webby People’s Voice Award. We’re honored to be nominated alongside an amazing group of websites, including Social Science Research Council’s Reverberations, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, On Being, and Religion Dispatches. 

Vote for R&P in the People’s Voice Award here between now and April 24: http://pv.webbyawards.com/2014/web/general-website/religion-spirituality  

Read at The 18th Annual Webby Awards

President Obama Mourns Kansas Tragedy: ‘We’re All Children of God”

posted on April 15, 2014

Adelle M. Banks of Religion News Service reports that President Obama at his annual Easter prayer breakfast called on people of all faiths to stop religious violence after a gunman killed three people at Jewish centers in Kansas City on the eve of Passover. “We’re all children of God. We’re all made in his image, all worthy of his love and dignity,” he said. “We see what happens around the world when this kind of religious-based or -tinged violence can rear its ugly head. It’s got no place in our society.”

Read at Religion News Service

States of the Union

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


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A setting to debate the issues of the day.

Should we teach religion in public schools? And if so, how?

How Should We Teach the Bible in Public Schools?

By Mark A. Chancey

The Dangers of Religious Instruction in Public Schools

By Annie Laurie Gaylor

We Must Teach about Religion in High Schools

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To Teach or Not to Teach?

By Cynthia N. Dunbar

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