RAP Sheet

Oklahoma Top Court Reaffirms Ten Commandments Stone at Capitol Must Go

posted on July 28, 2015

For Reuters, Heide Brandes reports that Oklahoma’s Supreme Court reaffirmed Monday that the state must remove a stone Ten Commandments monument from the Capitol, as its “placement violates the state constitution’s ban on the use of state property for the benefit of religion.” Alex Weintz, a spokesman for Governor Mary Fallin, says that the state is awaiting a final order to remove the monument. “In the meantime, the state is reviewing what legal options are available for preserving the monument,” Weintz says.

Read at Reuters

Boy Scouts of America End Total Ban on Gay Adults

posted on July 28, 2015

The Associated Press’s David Crary reports that the Boy Scouts of America voted on Monday to end its blanket ban on gay adult leaders, while permitting church-sponsored Scout units to continue the exclusions for religious reasons. However, the exemption “has not satisfied some conservative church leaders,” Crary writes. Notably, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting “conveyed a reluctance to accept participation by anyone who engaged in sexual conduct outside of a heterosexual marriage.”

Read at The Associated Press

Republicans Alter Script on Abortion, Seeking to Shift Debate

posted on July 27, 2015

In The New York Times, Jeremy W. Peters reports that Republican politicians are attempting to put abortion rigths supporters on the defensive, after Planned Parenthood’s practice of donating fetal tissue to research came under scrutiny. Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, has advised conservatives “to describe their recollections of seeing ultrasound images for the first time because it can be disarming,” Peters writes. At National Right to Life Committee gathering this month, many GOP presidential candidates used this tactic, which Conway calls a “shock the conscience, warm the heart” approach.

Read at The New York Times

Southern Baptist Leader Russell Moore to Interview Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio at Evangelical Rally

posted on July 23, 2015

Religion News Service’s David Gibson reports that Russell Moore, who leads the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, will interview Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio at an evangelical rally in August. The event is being seen as a way for evangelicals to “reassert their political influence during a time of landmark social change.” They “want to know which candidates offer a clear, coherent vision of religious liberty and have a plan to defend it when the very idea is contested in American politics,” Moore said in a statement.

Read at Religion News Service

Planned Parenthood Does Damage Control as GOP Demands Answers

posted on July 23, 2015

POLITICO’s Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan report that, while House Republicans attempt to secure an interview with Dr. Deborah Nucatola about allegedly selling fetal tissue from abortions, Planned Parenthood is working to protect abortion rights. “The organization is reaching out to numerous lawmakers in the House and Senate, aggressively working its grassroots network and trying to rally political support,” Palmer and Bresnahan write. “The group has been assisted by a range of progressive organizations that see the scandal as a proxy fight over abortion.”


Jason Rezaian’s Year of Imprisonment in Iran

posted on July 23, 2015

In The Atlantic, Adam Chandler writes on Jason Rezaian’s incarceration in Iran’s Evin prison, where he has been held since last July. “There was hope that the negotiations over a nuclear agreement with Iran that culminated with the signing of a deal in Vienna last week might yield progress for Rezaian and other Americans still locked up in the Islamic Republic,” Chandler writes. Instead, “Iran held the third closed-door court session of Rezaian’s trial, which is being presided over by a judge on a European Union blacklist for human-rights abuses.”

Read at The Atlantic

Dylann Roof, Accused Charleston Church Gunman, Indicted on Federal Hate Crime Charges

posted on July 23, 2015

In The Washington Post, Mark Berman reports that Dylann Roof, who allegedly shot and killed nine people last month inside a historic African American church in Charleston, S.C., has been indicted on federal hate crime charges. The indictment claims that Roof’s was a premeditated attack against black people, and that Roof chose Emanuel AME church because of its significance to the black community. “In addition to killing people due to their race, the indictment also states that he attacked people who were exercising their religious beliefs,” Berman writes.

Read at The Washington Post

Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?

posted on July 23, 2015

In The New York Times Magazine, Eliza Griswold writes on the precarious situation of Middle Eastern religious minorities, particularly Christians, as ISIS and other extremists seek to eradicate them. “According to a Pew study, more Christians are now faced with religious persecution than at any time since their early history,” Griswold writes. Yet it has been nearly impossible for the U.S., and other Western nations, to offer direct aid “for fear of appearing to play into the crusader and ‘clash of civilizations’ narratives the West is accused of embracing.”

Read at The New York Times

States of the Union

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


A Cornhusker Prays with FCA.

By Paul Putz

More from The States of the Union Project >


A setting to debate the issues of the day.


For All the Sinners and Saints: An Interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber https://t.co/1ODmUomTrD


More Tweets >

R&P Newsletter