RAP Sheet

How Betsy DeVos Used God and Amway to Take Over Michigan Politics

posted on January 17, 2017

POLITICO Magazine‘s Zack Stanton writes on President-elect Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos. DeVos, an outspoken supporter of charter schools, belongs to a family of wealthy Christian who have emphasized charitable giving and political activism for generations. Stanton writes, “After years operating behind the scenes, Betsy DeVos is set to become the public face of education policy in America—an advocate of private Christian education helming the largest public-education agency in the country.”

Read at POLITICO Magazine

Inauguration Boycott Grows as Donald Trump Meets Martin Luther King III

posted on January 17, 2017

The Guardian’s Joanna Walters reports, “More than 30 members of Congress will boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, amid escalating outrage over alleged connections between the president-elect’s team and Russia and disparaging remarks about civil rights veteran John Lewis.” Despite the growing list of inauguration boycotters, Martin Luther King III met with Trump on Monday. Reacting to the tension between John Lewis and the president-elect, Martin Luther King III said, “Things get said on both sides in the heat of emotion. And at some point in this nation we’ve got to move forward.”

Read at The Guardian

F.B.I. Arrests Wife of Killer in Orlando Mass Shooting

posted on January 17, 2017

In The New York Times, Adam Goldman and Alan Blinder report that the F.B.I. arrested the wife of Omar Mateen, the man who was responsible for the June terrorist attack in an Orlando nightclub that killed 49. The F.B.I. charged her with obstructing an investigation and aiding and abetting by providing material support. Noor Salman says that she was unaware of her partner’s plans to carry out a mass shooting in a show of allegiance to the Islamic State.

Read at The New York Times

U.S. Abortion Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since Roe v. Wade

posted on January 17, 2017

NPR’s Sarah McCammon reports, “The abortion rate in the United States fell to its lowest level since the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion nationwide, a new report finds.” The drop in abortion rate can be at least partially attributed to drops in the rate of unintended pregnancies, low teen pregnancy rates, and new state restrictions on abortion. President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to cut funding for Planned Parenthood will likely restrict access to contraceptives for many, which some worry could trigger a rise in abortions.

Read at NPR

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Missouri Case on State Money for Religious Institutions

posted on January 17, 2017

At the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Celeste Bott reports on a U.S. Supreme Court case that could decide whether state money can be used by religious institutions. The case, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, involves a church in Columbia, Missouri, that was denied a state grant to resurface its preschool’s playground. The case could heavily influence federal and state Blaine Amendments, which block public money from going to religious institutions. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley argued, “Blaine Amendments cannot be allowed to trump the First Amendment.”

Read at St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Controversial Megachurch Pastor Eddie Long Dies at 63

posted on January 17, 2017

CNN’s John Blake and Chandrika Narayan report that Bishop Eddie Long, the controversial pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist church, died on Sunday. As the outspoken leader of the megachurch, Long was an influential figure for black Americans across the country. In the past several years, he has been plagued by controversy. Blake and Narayan write of the pastor, “He was a preacher who led an infamous march against same-sex marriage and denounced homosexuality, but he also settled a lawsuit by four young men who said he pressured them into sexual relationships.”

Read at CNN

Jennifer Pinckney Describes Moments of Terror Inside Emanuel AME Church

posted on January 5, 2017

Smith, Hawes, and Darlington write, “Pinckney’s words carried a chilling weight following a prosecutor’s revelation that Roof had penned a jailhouse manifesto six weeks after his arrest, saying he had ‘no regret’ for the killings and hadn’t shed a tear for his victims.” Roof, who is representing himself, told jurors that he had no mental health issues. “There is nothing wrong with me,” he said.

Read at The Post and Courier

How Nostalgia for White Christian America Drove So Many Americans to Vote for Trump

posted on January 5, 2017

The Washington Post‘s Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports from Mt. Airy, North Carolina, birthplace of actor Andy Griffith and his fictional town of Mayberry. She writes, “A yearning for an earlier time, especially prevalent in rural American towns and cities like Mount Airy, helped spur white evangelical Christians to vote overwhelmingly for Donald Trump.” Mt. Airy has been hit hard economically in recent years. The mayor told Pulliam Bailey that “Christianity has come under attack in America … ‘It’s subtle, not in your face, but that’s the way Satan works,’ he said.”

Read at The Washington Post

States of the Union

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

Ohio

An Atheist Finds (Some) Reasons to Believe in Her Old Church.

By Sarah Stankorb

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20/01/2017

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