RAP Sheet

Once a Qaeda Recruiter, Now a Voice Against Jihad

posted on August 29, 2016

The New York Times‘ Rukmini Callimachi profiles Jesse Morton, a former American jihadist. “After a stint as an F.B.I. informant and his release from prison last year, Mr. Morton has been hired as a fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, where he will research the very ideology he once spread,” she writes. “Although countries like Britain have for years been putting former extremists to work in think tanks to provide authentic voices against radical ideology, Mr. Morton is the first former jihadist to step into this public a role in the United States.”

Read at The New York Times

Neighbor Churches, Split on Race Lines, Work to Heal Divide

posted on August 29, 2016

The Associated Press’ Rachel Zoll reports from Macon, Georgia, on the relationship between two neighboring churches—one black and one white. “About 170 years ago, they were one congregation, albeit a church of masters and slaves,” Zoll writes. Now, through their work with the New Baptist Covenant, the Rev. James Goolsby and the Rev. Scott Dickison are working together to forge new alliances. They “met over lunch and an idea took shape: They’d try to find a way the congregations, neighbors for so long, could become friends. They’d try to bridge the stubborn divide of race.”

Read at Associated Press

Donald Trump Has a Massive Catholic Problem

posted on August 29, 2016

The Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake writes that presidential candidate Donald Trump is losing the Catholic vote by a large margin, 55 to 32. “Yes, the man who once feuded with the pope (how soon we forget that actually happened) is cratering among Catholics,” Blake writes. Catholics make up about 25 percent of registered voters, and while their vote is not monolithic, they tend to be considered an election bellwether. In 2012, Romney only lost the Catholic vote by 2 points.

Read at The Washington Post

Spiritually Motivated: How Tim Kaine Navigates his Faith and Politics

posted on August 25, 2016

National Catholic Reporter‘s Brian Roewe interviews vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine in Kaine’s hometown of Overland Park, Kansas. Kaine told Roewe: “Neither faith nor politics would exist if humans didn’t have an instinctive belief that what is is not as good as what could be. If we didn’t perceive the gap between what is and what could be, there wouldn’t be religion and there wouldn’t be politics, either. But it’s our awareness of our own imperfections and our instinctive understanding that society can be better and I can be better. That’s why it’s the gulf between the is and the ought that is where both religion and politics come. And that is an instinctive reaction that we have, and I view that as, that is a divine question mark that’s put into every person, that from some point in early age we start to be able to perceive that what is isn’t as good as what could be, both individually and in society. And so that’s the deep connection, I think, between religion and politics done right.”

Read at National Catholic Reporter

Hello Goodbye

posted on August 23, 2016

At Slate, Ruth Graham talks to Joshua Harris, the author of the popular book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which championed Christian courtship and purity culture. The author and his book, which has sold more than a million copies since 1997, have under fire recently for sending damaging messages about sex and relationships to a generation of young Christians. “I know in many ways it’s too late for me to fix something for people who feel like they’ve been hurt by the books,” Harris told Graham. Of their conversation, she writes, “He spoke slowly and carefully, returning over and over to the theme of his own readiness to listen to his critics. It’s worth noting that Harris is media-savvy to avoid saying anything too definitively apologetic. But after making his name spouting certainties, there is a certain poignancy in his willingness to be nakedly hesitant in public.”

Read at Slate

Donald Trump Outreach Inaccurately Claimed Top Hispanic Pastor as Advisor

posted on August 23, 2016

TIME’s Elizabeth Dias reports that Dallas pastor Mark Gonzales, one of the named leaders of Donald Trump’s new Hispanic Advisory Council, has not agreed to be part of the group.The Republican National Committee corrected the error and their press release after the story came out. The advisory council is comprised “of two-dozen Hispanic business, faith, and civic leaders” and “attempts to counter Trump’s unfavorable rating among Hispanics nationwide, which hovers around 80%.” Dias writes, “Trump is expected to give an immigration policy speech on Thursday, and Gonzales is still willing to serve on the board depending on what he hears.”

Read at TIME

Victims of Rabbi Freundel, Who Videotaped Women, Ask for $100 Million in Lawsuit

posted on August 17, 2016

At The Washington Post, Julie Zauzmer reports that the women Rabbi Barry Freundel illegally filmed while preparing themselves for ritual baths are suing the rabbi and several Orthodox Jewish institutions for $100 million in damages. The suit asks for $1 million in compensation for each victim. Zauzmer writes, “Freundel pleaded guilty to taping 52 women, but prosecutors said he recorded more than 100 additional victims earlier than the three-year statute of limitations.”

Read at The Washington Post

John McLaughlin, TV Host Who Made Combat of Punditry, Dies at 89

posted on August 17, 2016

In The New York Times, Elizabeth Jensen reports that John McLaughin, a former Roman Catholic priest and host of the Sunday morning talk show, “The McLaughlin Group,” died Tuesday at age 89. McLaughlin also served as a member of Richard Nixon’s speechwriting team from 1971 until the president’s resignation in 1974. Jensen writes, “As creator, executive producer and host of ‘The McLaughlin Group,’ which began in 1982, Mr. McLaughlin helped reinvent the political talk-show format by injecting unabashed partisanship and a dash of entertainment.”

Read at The New York Times

States of the Union

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

Louisiana

A French Teacher Lives Among the Cajuns.

By Max Perry Mueller

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A setting to debate the issues of the day.

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Congressional Chaplains: Can they welcome all religions and no religion at all? https://t.co/zYILvxFrxX

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