RAP Sheet

Methodists Postpone Debate of Gay Issues that Could Split Denomination

posted on May 19, 2016

Religion News Service‘s Emily McFarlan Miller reports, “Amid protest, song and fears of a denominational breakup, United Methodists at their quadrennial General Conference decided yet again not to decide anything regarding LGBT rights. But in a groundbreaking move, the delegates from the U.S. and abroad voted 428 to 405 on Wednesday (May 18) to allow the church’s Council of Bishops to appoint a commission to discuss whether to accept same-sex marriage or ordain LGBT clergy.”

Read at Religion News Service

Dying GOP Senator Apologizes to Muslims for Donald Trump

posted on May 19, 2016

The Daily Beast‘s Tim Mak reports that as former GOP Senator Bob Bennet was dying, he wanted to apologize to Muslims on behalf of his party. “’I’d love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologize to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump,’ Bennett told his wife and son, both of whom relayed this story to The Daily Beast.” Mak writes, “The Tea Party wave that ousted Bennett from the Senate in 2010 was one of the first signs of popular discontent that has arguably led to the tsunami of support for Donald Trump. As that initial wave receded, it swept away many of the values that Bennett cherished: bipartisanship and concern for vulnerable refugees among them.”

Read at The Daily Beast

Chibok Girls: “First Kidnapped Girl Found” in Nigeria

posted on May 18, 2016

BBC reports, “One of the missing Chibok girls has been found in Nigeria, activists say, the first to be rescued since their capture two years ago.” More than 200 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, the Islamist group that has terrorized the country through child kidnapping and violent attacks since 2009. The girl was found by a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force, a vigilante group created to help fight Boko Haram.

Read at BBC

Shearith Israel Loses Bid for Control of Touro Synagogue

posted on May 18, 2016

The New York Times‘ Richard Pérez-Peña reports, “A federal judge on Monday awarded control of the nation’s oldest synagogue, in Newport, R.I., to the congregation housed there, ruling against a New York congregation that had claimed ownership in a four-year legal fight between two of the oldest examples of America’s religious pluralism.” The ruling allows Jeshuat Israel to sell several valuables in order to fund the synagogue against the wishes of Shearith Israel, the congregation that had claimed ownership. “The central issue here is the legacy of some of the earliest Jewish settlers in North America, who desired to make Newport a permanent haven for public Jewish worship,” wrote Judge John J. McConnell Jr. in a 106-page decision.

Read at The New York Times

Senate Confirms Eric Fanning, First Openly Gay Leader of Military Service

posted on May 18, 2016

At NPR, Laura Wagner reports, “The Senate confirmed the nomination of Eric Fanning to the position of Army secretary, making him the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service.” Fanning, who came out in 1993, will become the highest-ranking, openly gay member of the Department of Defense. “Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role,” President Obama said in a statement. “I am grateful for his commitment to our men and women in uniform, and I am confident he will help lead America’s Soldiers with distinction.”

Read at NPR

Can the Christian Left Be a Real Political Force?

posted on May 17, 2016

At Slate, Ruth Graham reports on how the Democratic Party could court religious voters after Donald Trump’s rise to prominence in the GOP. “The cracking apart of evangelicalism’s influence is more than the end of an era. It’s an opportunity—for Democrats picturing a broad victory in November, yes, and for Republicans who think their party needs reinvention,” Graham writes. “But it’s also an opening for another ‘silent majority’ within American society: liberal Christians, a term that for a generation has been relegated to an oxymoron.”

Read at Slate

In Their 80s and 90s, Three Jewish Women Finally Become Bat Mitzvahs

posted on May 17, 2016

At The Washington Post, Julie Zauzmer reports on three women, in their 80s and 90s, who celebrated their bat mitzvahs. The women “came of age before Jews extended the tradition of a Torah service to mark the beginning of religious adulthood to girls as well as boys.” Zauzmer writes that on Saturday in Chevy Chase, Maryland, their families gathered to watch them read the Torah. “It means an unfolding of something I’ve wanted to do all my life,” said Charlotte Markowitz, one of the women.

Read at The Washington Post

Supreme Court Sends Obamacare Contraception Case Back to Lower Courts

posted on May 16, 2016

The Washington Post‘s Robert Barnes reports, “A shorthanded Supreme Court declined Monday to decide challenges to an Affordable Care Act requirement about providing contraceptive coverage, saying that there was a possibility of compromise between religious objectors and the government.” He writes, “The court punted the issue back to lower courts, and said its unanimous ruling “expresses no view on the merits of the cases.”

Read at The Washington Post

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