RAP Sheet

California Governor Signs Strict Law Requiring Vaccinations for Most Kids

posted on July 1, 2015

USA Today’s Liz Szabo reports that California Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation preventing California children who are unvaccinated due to religious or personal beliefs from attending school. Parents may still opt not to vaccinate their children, but only for medical reasons. “As the largest state in the country, we are sending a strong signal to the rest of the country that this can be done, that science and facts will prevail to make sound laws,” Sen. Richard Pan said.

Read at USA Today

Same-Sex Marriage Fight Now Goes Local

posted on July 1, 2015

The Associated Press’s Claire Galofaro and Adam Beam report that some judges are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the Supreme Court legalization of same-sex marriage. Instead, they are choosing “in the name of religious liberty and free speech to issue no marriage licenses at all,” risking both criminal charges and removal from office. “If it means that you simply cannot fulfill your duties because of your religious beliefs, what is required of you is that you can no longer hold that office,” Sam Marcosson, a professor at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, said.

Read at The Associated Press

New Hawaii Law Legalizes Traditional “Clean Burial” Practice

posted on July 1, 2015

At Reuters, Suzanne Roig reports that Hawaii Governor David Ige on Tuesday legalized an ancient Hawaiian practice called “clean burial.” The state previously considered the burial custom, which involves “allowing family members to handle bones of deceased loved ones after their flesh is removed in a partial cremation,” a health risk and a violation of Hawaii’s penal code. “This measure makes it very clear that the most sacred traditions are allowed to be exercised by our Native Hawaiian community,” Governor Ige said.

Read at Reuters

South Carolina Church Fire: Mt. Zion AME Burns in Greeleyville

posted on July 1, 2015

CNN’s Ben Brumfield, Sam Stringer, and Ashley Fantz report, “With grief and shock from the racist killings in a Charleston church still fresh, a predominantly black house of worship in another South Carolina town burned down late Tuesday.” The FBI and the ATF are jointly investigating the fire, whose cause is still unknown. Since the murders at Charleston’s Emmanuel AME church on June 17, “at least six black churches have burned in the southeastern United States,” Brumfield, Stringer, and Fantz write.

Read at CNN

ISIS and the Lonely Young American

posted on June 29, 2015

In The New York Times, Rukmini Callimachi profiles “Alex,” a 23-year-old woman in Washington State, and reports on her encounter with the recruiting efforts of the Islamic State. Callimachi writes, “The terrorist group itself maintains a 24-hour online operation, and its effectiveness is vastly extended by larger rings of sympathetic volunteers and fans who pass on its messages and viewpoint, reeling in potential recruits, analysts say.” Alex’s hours online “offered a rare window into the intense effort to indoctrinate a young American woman, increasing her sense of isolation from her family and community.”

Read at The New York Times

Obama’s Grace

posted on June 29, 2015

At The Atlantic, James Fallows writes on President Obama’s eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and the fallen parishioners of Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, calling the speech Obama’s “most successful performance as an orator.” Fallows analyzes stylistic elements and themes of the speech, exploring their significance for the pursuit of racial justice. He writes, “President Obama spoke for about 40 minutes, touching on the personal, political, and religious, and melding sermon with eulogy and, movingly, song. The theme of the speech was grace, but the president also talked about racism, poverty, gun control, the legacies of black American churches, and Confederate iconography.”

Read at The Atlantic

“They’re Trying to Be King of the Mormons”

posted on June 29, 2015

In POLITICO Magazine, Matt Canham and Thomas Burr report on the alleged rivalry between the Romney family and the Huntsman family, caused by the political feuding between former friends Jon Huntsman Jr. and Mitt Romney. “In the run up to 2008, Jon Huntsman Jr. wanted to be a player in national politics, and Mitt Romney all but patted him on the head and urged him to sit on the bench,” Canham and Burr write. This led to a falling out “made even more stunning when considering the long ties between the families.”

Read at POLITICO Magazine

With Same-Sex Decision, Evangelical Churches Address New Reality

posted on June 29, 2015

In The New York Times, Michael Paulson writes that, with public opinion firmly in favor of same-sex marriage, many evangelical Protestants are reevaluating their churches’ attitudes towards homosexuality. “Evangelicals are coming to the realization that they hold a minority view in the culture, and that on this issue, they have lost the home-field advantage,” Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, said. Nevertheless, Paulson notes that the “result has been an obvious change in tone and emphasis – but not teaching or policy – at many churches.”

Read at The New York Times

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