For The New York Times Magazine, Ruth Graham reports on the anti-abortion movement’s fight against medication-induced abortions. Graham writes, “The brainchild of a San Diego doctor named George Delgado, ‘reversal’ is a medical protocol that floods a woman’s body with progesterone, the so-called pregnancy hormone, within hours after she has taken mifepristone, the drug that begins a medication abortion.” Although his science is unclear, Delgado, a Catholic medical doctor who helps run an anti-abortion crisis center, has teamed up with other doctors and patients to promote the procedure.
The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports on Tuesday’s confirmation hearings for Callista Gingrich, President Trump’s selection for ambassador to the Vatican. Gingrich, the Catholic wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is unlike previous ambassadors in that she has access to the White House but is not a career politician or academic. Miguel Diaz, the ambassador to the Vatican during Obama’s first term, said, “Her challenge is going to be to bridge the clear differences between the Trump administration and Pope Francis’s vision.”
The Associated Press’s Mark Sherman reports, “The Supreme Court says the Trump administration can strictly enforce its ban on refugees, but at the same time is leaving in place a weakened travel ban that includes grandparents among relatives who can help visitors from six mostly Muslim countries get into the U.S.” On Wednesday, the court upheld a ruling by District Judge Derrick Watson, which allows grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins to help refugees gain access to the country. The Supreme Court did not rule in favor of another order by Watson, which called to accept refugees formally working with a resettlement agency in the United States.
For The Washington Post, John Fea writes about what he deems as “court evangelicals,” or Christians who seek to influence politics by supporting the president’s administration. Fea writes, “Trump has forced them to embrace a pragmatism that could damage the gospel around the world, and force many Christians to rethink their religious identities and affiliations.” Fea argues, “Trump’s presidency – with its tweets and promises of power – requires evangelical leaders to speak truth to power, not to be seduced by it.”
Mormonism’s Russia Dilemma: How to Grow a Fledgling Faith With Missionaries Who Can’t Do Missionary Workposted on July 18, 2017
The Salt Lake Tribune’s Peggy Fletcher Stack reports that Mormons have been forced to reduce missions to Russia as a result of the country’s Yarovaya Law, which bans proselytizing. Even before the law’s approval, Mormons in Russia had experienced persecution. “Missionaries routinely were hauled in for questioning by police, constantly threatened with yanking away their visas or deportation for minor offenses,” Fletcher Stack writes. To work within the law, some Mormons in Russia are adopting a “friendship-and-service” missionary model, which promotes humanitarian work and interactions with Russians in everyday life.
Religion News Service’s Lauren Markoe reports, “Vice President Mike Pence told evangelical supporters of Israel that God had a hand in creating the state of Israel and that his support for the country is rooted in his faith.” Speaking at the summit of Christians United for Israel on Monday, Pence said, “Indeed, though Israel was built by human hands it is impossible not to sense that just beneath its history lies the hand of heaven.” Christians United for Israel, led by evangelical megachurch pastor John Hagee, recognizes itself as the largest pro-Israel organization in the U.S.
The FADER’s Amos Barshad reports on a 66,000 square foot, multi-million dollar sanctuary in Saranap, California. It was built for Sufism Reoriented, a religious order largely funded by Cheesecake Factory CEO David Overton. Barshad writes that the surrounding community pushed back against the sanctuary for its massive size and contrast to the small, quaint town. Eventually approved 2012 and opened in early 2017, the sanctuary features massive white rooms, archival treasures, and marble floors.
The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer reports that sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ have built a chapel in rural Lancaster County to block the construction of a gas pipeline on their land. The Adorers have 2,000 nuns around the world whose core beliefs include environmental protection and activism. Zauzmer writes, “U.S. appeals court judges have ruled inconsistently on whether federal law protects religious groups from eminent domain in such cases.”
CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh, Salma Abdelaziz, Mark Phillips, and Mehamed Hasan report that former brides of ISIS fighters are struggling to integrate back into society after escaping their past lives. Some of the women, lured to ISIS in hopes of better lives, are now in Syrian jails. Paton Walsh, Abdelaziz, Phillips, and Hasan write, “As US coalition-backed forces tighten the noose on Raqqa, many more women who pledged allegiance to ISIS are sure to flee.”
The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports, “A group of evangelical leaders met with President Trump on Monday and laid their hands on him as he bowed in prayer while meeting in the Oval Office.” The leaders also met with a deputy director and liaison from the White House, Jennifer Korn, to discuss subjects such as the Affordable Care Act, religious freedom, and pending judicial nominees. Some members of the president’s faith advisory council from his campaign were at the meeting, including Florida pastor Paula White and South Carolina pastor Mark Burns.