RAP Sheet

How Grandson of Auschwitz Boss Is Trying to Remake Family Name

posted on January 26, 2015

In The Wall Street Journal, Naftali Bendavid and Harriet Torry profile Rainer Hoess, the grandson of Auschwitz Camp Commandant Rudolf Hoess, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp. Hoess has made a name for himself, speaking against bigotry and urging tolerance in school talks and through the groups he sponsors, but he has also been accused of using his ancestry to make money. “I know my heritage. I can’t change it,” Mr. Hoess says. “It’s more effective to use the name and show that the idea that evil is in the blood—these things the Nazis said—is wrong.”

Read at The Wall Street Journal

Bobby Jindal’s Muslim Problem

posted on January 26, 2015

In Politico Magazine, Arif Rafiq criticizes the “Muslim-baiting” of Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 presidential candidate. Jindal, who was born into a Hindu family and later converted to Christianity, has been criticizing Muslims as part of his “pitch to a demographic that he is aggressively courting: evangelical conservatives,” according to Rafiq.

Read at Politico Magazine

As Vatican Revisits Divorce, Many Catholics Long for Acceptance

posted on January 26, 2015

The New York Times’ Michael Paulson writes, “Facing millions of divorced Catholics around the world, many of whom express frustration over their status in the church, the Vatican has begun a remarkable re-examination of the church’s treatment of worshipers whose marriages have broken apart.” Annulment, the often-proposed solution for divorced Catholics, can be “intrusive, cumbersome and costly,” Paulson reports, and the difficulty of the process has prevented many from reconciling with their parishes or remarrying. The debate among bishops will take place at a synod this October, after which Pope Francis will decide whether to act on their recommendations; their decisions keenly affect American Catholics, of whom 28 percent have been divorced.

Read at The New York Times

Obama, New Saudi King to Discuss Yemen, Islamic State

posted on January 26, 2015

Reuters’ Roberta Rampton reports, “U.S. President Barack Obama and new Saudi Arabia King Salman are expected to discuss shared concerns about the turmoil in Yemen and the fight against Islamic State militants during their first formal meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday, the White House said.” Security concerns in the Arabian Peninsula make Saudi Arabia, which supports the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, as important an ally as ever—especially concerning the continued presence of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen.

Read at Reuters

House GOP Pulls Anti-Abortion Bill On Roe v. Wade Anniversary

posted on January 22, 2015

At TIME, Alex Roger reports, “The House Republican leadership reversed course on plans to vote on an anti-abortion bill deemed too restrictive by many female lawmakers in its conference.” The bill, which would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, exposed a rift within the Republican Party as many moderate members have stated that they want the party to focus on other issues. “In contrast to talking about job creation and bigger paychecks, they’re putting a bill on the floor that undermines the health of America’s women,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “It not only affects their health, it affects the personal decisions of how they spend their own money on health insurance.”

Read at TIME

Netanyahu Coming To Congress In March

posted on January 22, 2015

CNN’s Dana Bash, Deirdre Walsh, and Jim Acosta report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Congress in early March in order to discuss the threats of a ISIS and a nuclear Iran, amongst other issues. Usually invitations to foreign leaders are made with input from the president, but Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner invited Netanyahu without consulting with the White House.

Read at CNN

Marcus Borg, Leading Liberal Theologian And Historical Jesus Expert, Dies At 72

posted on January 22, 2015

David Gibson of Religion News Service reports, “Marcus J. Borg, a prominent liberal theologian and Bible scholar who for a generation helped popularize the intense debates about the historical Jesus and the veracity and meaning of the New Testament, died on Wednesday.” Borg is best known for bringing an historical perspective to the study of Jesus, and his work has had a great influence on other scholars in the field. “Spanning the study of Jesus and a wide variety of subjects, Marcus shaped the conversation about Jesus, the church, and Scripture in powerful ways over the space of four decades,” said Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr., of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Read at Religion News Service

A Split in the State of the Union

posted on January 21, 2015

At The Atlantic, Peter Beinart charts the evolution of President Obama’s State of the Union addresses from 2009 to 2015. The president’s cautious treatment of the economy turned into optimism about the course of domestic affairs, Beinart writes. “This year, however, just as Obama’s economic narrative reached its climax, his terrorism narrative quietly fell apart. As in past years, Obama boasted about having withdrawn troops from Afghanistan … But in a marked shift from previous years, he stopped claiming that all this had made America safer from terrorism. The discussion of al-Qaeda’s impending defeat ceased,” Beinart writes.

Read at The Atlantic

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