RAP Sheet

Church of England Formally Approves Plans for Women Bishops

posted on November 17, 2014

For BBC News, Caroline Wyatt reports on a legislative change to the Church of England allowing women to become bishops. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “Today we can begin to embrace a new way of being the church and moving forward together. We will also continue to seek the flourishing of the church of those who disagree.” Reform, a conservative evangelical group, estimates that at least a quarter of the Church finds the decision incompatible with their beliefs.

Read at BBC News

The Outcast

posted on November 14, 2014

At The New Yorker, Rachel Aviv profiles Sam Kellner, a Hasidic Jew, who exposed a wide web of sexual child abuse in his tight-knit Brooklyn community. Kellner was ostracized from his faith after he reported the abuse of his son to the police. He faced harsh criticism from his community, which is skeptical of secular government and requires special permission to go to the polices. Since his son’s case, rabbis have become even less willing to allow victims to report abuse to the authorities. Recently, when a father whose daughter had been sexually abuse asked Kellner for advice, he responded, “If you go to the police, you’re probably going to end up with zero.”

Read at The New Yorker

What An Uncensored Letter to M.L.K. Reveals

posted on November 13, 2014

Beverly Gage of The New York Times explores the FBI’s infamous suicide letter to Martin Luther King, Jr., and what it has symbolized in the intelligence community. “Should intelligence agencies be able to sweep our email, read our texts, track our phone calls, locate us by GPS?” writes Gage. “Much of the conversation swirls around the possibility that agencies like the N.S.A. or the F.B.I. will use such information not to serve national security but to carry out personal and political vendettas. King’s experience reminds us that these are far from idle fears, conjured in the fevered minds of civil libertarians. They are based in the hard facts of history.”

Read at The New York Times

Catholic Bishops Back Obama Acting Alone On Immigration

posted on November 13, 2014

David Gibson of Religion News Service reports, “The nation’s Catholic bishops are jumping into the increasingly contentious battle over immigration reform by backing President Obama’s pledge to act on his own.” In an unscheduled address, Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chairman of the migration committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that given the escalating migration crises, the USCCB would support the President’s effort at unilateral reform while still working toward bipartisan consensus. “We are not guided by the latest headlines,” Elizondo said, “but by the human tragedies that we see every day in our parishes and programs, where families are torn apart by enforcement actions.”

Read at Religion News Service

Russia Gets Religion

posted on November 12, 2014

Slate‘s Joshua Keating reports on the state of the Orthodox Church in Vladmir Putin’s Russia. Despite rising number of Orthodox Christians and Putin’s commitment to the faith, “The blurring of the line between church and state in Russia, what critics call an attempt to turn religion into a branch of the government, has alienated many former believers.” Alexey Malashenko, chairman of the Religion, Society, and Security Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said, “Now, I feel like if I enter a church I’m becoming a member of Yedinaya Rossiya [the ruling United Russia party].”

Read at Slate

Archbishop Kurtz Lays Out Vision for USCCB Presidency, Synod Preparation

posted on November 11, 2014

Michael O’Loughlin reports for Crux, “In his first address to the full slate of American bishops as president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville praised Pope Francis’ tone and style, but avoided specific mention of the hot-button cultural issues that roiled the Synod of Bishops meeting at the Vatican last month.” Kurtz defended Pope Francis’ emphasis on mercy over judgement and embracing those not living within the Church’s teachings. The Church “must especially seek out those who suffer under the weight of the difficulties faced by families today, remembering to see the person first, walking with them, and pointing the way toward God,” Kurtz said.

Read at Crux

Welcome to Assadville, USA

posted on November 11, 2014

For The Daily Beast, Christopher Moraff reports on support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from the Syrian Americans of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Many of the city’s nearly 15,000 Syrian-American residents are Orthodox Christian, and for them, Assad’s army stands “as the only buffer between their ancient culture and its annihilation by ISIS.”

Read at The Daily Beast

The Parable of Mike McCurry

posted on November 11, 2014

In The National Journal, Andrea Drusch profiles Mike McCurry, President Clinton’s former press secretary, consultant for Public Strategies Washington, and professor of public theology at Wesley Theological Seminary. According to Drusch, McCurry “has become a sort of shepherd to peers interested in making the transition from state to church.” McCurry believes the state of national politics may be responsible for politicians seeking careers in religion: “They didn’t come here to just get in angry political fights every day. They want to do something positive, and they’re looking for avenues to make that happen.”

Read at The National Journal

States of the Union

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

Illinois

An Autoworker Reconciles God and Mammon

By Christopher D. Cantwell

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