RAP Sheet

Beyonce, Chance the Rapper, A Tribe Called Quest Bring Religion to Grammys

posted on February 13, 2017

Religion News Service’s Emily McFarlan Miller reports, “From the depiction of the divine mother in Beyonce’s imagery to Busta Rhymes’s jab at President Trump’s ‘Muslim ban,’ religion took center stage at the 2017 Grammy Awards.” When Chance the Rapper won the award for best new artist during Sunday’s broadcast, he said, “Glory be to God. I claim this victory in the name of the Lord.” McFarlan Miller writes, “Later, he exuberantly performed his songs ‘How Great’ — featuring the chorus of Christian artist Chris Tomlin’s ‘How Great Is Our God’ — and ‘All We Got’ with Kirk Franklin, Tamela Mann and a white-robed gospel choir.” Beyonce’s performance featured similar religious themes, including references to the Virgin Mary and Kali, a Hindu goddess.

Read at Religion News Service

The Looming Conflict between Trump’s Immigration Sweeps and Religious Freedom

posted on February 13, 2017

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump reports that in the wake of President Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, churches face tough decisions when they act as places of refuge for the vulnerable. Typically ICE agents have not raided places of worship or other sensitive locations, and Bump notes that churches have historically acted as sanctuaries as illustrated in the Bible. But, he writes, “Since sanctuary isn’t a legal doctrine, those who offer it to immigrants in the country illegally are putting themselves at risk under statutes outlawing the harboring of undocumented immigrants.”

Read at The Washington Post

Trump’s Vow to “Destroy” Johnson Amendment Could Wreak Havoc on Charitable World

posted on February 13, 2017

For The Conversation, Philip Hackney and Brian Mittendorf write that if President Trump acts on his vow to remove the Johnson Amendment, charities could see a significant decline in contributions. They write, “Many fear that blurring the lines between goals intended to serve the general public and those aimed at special interests would undermine public trust in charities and ultimately even put the charitable deduction at risk.” They point out that Congress seems reluctant to remove the entirety of the amendment.


Read at The Conversation

How Russia Became the Leader of the Global Christian Right

posted on February 13, 2017

For POLITICO Magazine, Casey Michel reports on Russia’s growing Christian extremism. Michel writes, “Not only have Russian banks funded groups like France’s National Front, but Moscow has hosted international conferences on everything from neo-Nazi networking to domestic secessionists attempting to rupture the U.S.” He further notes that the World Congress of Families, a socially conservative American organization with strong ties to Russia, has been a source of inspiration for far-right Russian lawmakers.

Read at POLITICO Magazine

For Trump’s Travel Ban, a Lengthy Battle Looms Large

posted on February 6, 2017

The Washington Post’s Matt Zapotosky, Robert Barnes, and Brian Murphy report, “Fresh challenges to President Trump’s court-frozen immigration order took shape Monday with two former secretaries of state claiming the White House was undermining national security and nearly 100 Silicon Valley tech companies arguing it will keep the best minds from coming to America.” A Court of Appeals halted President Trump’s executive order on immigration. Zapotosky, Barnes, and Murphy write, “The Trump administration has been steadfast in its support of the executive order, which it says is necessary for national security, and the president himself tweeted repeatedly his disdain for the judge in Washington state who put a stop to it.”

Read at The Washington Post

Founder of Clergy Abuse Group Quits in Second Major Loss Following Lawsuit

posted on February 6, 2017

Religion News Service’s David Gibson reports, “The founder of a prominent advocacy group for children sexually abused by Catholic priests has resigned, the second major departure in the wake of a lawsuit filed last month by a former employee alleging that the organization colluded with lawyers to refer clients and profit from settlements.” Barbara Blaine, the founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), claimed her resignation was unrelated to the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges, “In exchange for the kickbacks, SNAP refers survivors as potential clients to attorneys, who then file lawsuits on behalf of the survivors against the Catholic Church. These cases often settle, to the financial benefit of the attorneys and, at times, to the financial benefit of SNAP, which has received direct payments from survivors’ settlements.”

Read at Religion News Service

The Evangelical Response to Trump

posted on February 6, 2017

NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro interviews Christian radio-host Julie Roys about evangelicals’ response to President Donald Trump. Roys points out that, although evangelical opinion is mixed in regards to Trump’s refugee ban, most are happy with the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch. Garcia-Navarro asks Roys about Trump’s call to dismantle the Johnson Amendment, a law that prevents churches from becoming involved in political campaigns; Roys says, “I don’t think a lot of churches, for example, or a lot of congregations are interested in their pastors telling them who to vote for or who not to vote for. But I think there’s just this sense that the government doesn’t have any right to tell religious groups what to say, and that’s how this Johnson Amendment may be used.”

Read at NPR

A Resettlement Mission Upended by the Sweep of a President’s Pen

posted on February 6, 2017

The New York Times’ Dan Barry reports on the work of Church World Service, a nonprofit that uses government funding to resettle refugees in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Although a federal court stalled President Trump’s recent immigration this weekend, Church World Service employees worry that the president’s anti-immigration stance will slash their budget and the number of refugees they can assist. Barry writes that, according Sheila Mastropietro, the director of Church World Service, “Some programs would continue for now — employment, citizenship, counseling — but she could maintain only a skeletal staff for the program around which all others revolved: resettlement.”

Read at The New York Times

States of the Union

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


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

By Sarah Stankorb

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An Orthodox rabbi's outreach to American evangelicals https://t.co/Btr2GV7fgz

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