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Links on R&P from around the web

To These Pastors, Saving the Colorado River Is a Divine Command

posted on April 18, 2017

The New York Times’s Fernanda Santos reports that Hispanic evangelical pastors are preaching a gospel of salvation and conservation to try and protect the Colorado River in Arizona, which is being threatened by drought, overuse, and a warming climate. Santos writes, “The pastors, who connected through word of mouth and informal networks organized around a shared Christian belief in being stewards of the earth, are packing their sermons with conservation tips: Take quick showers, use carwashes that recycle their water, and if you visit the river, do not leave any trash behind.” The Rev. Helia Martinez of Templo Cristiano Vino Nuevo in San Luis, Arizona, said, “If there is no river, there is no water. If there is no water, there is no farming, no food, no work. There is no future.”

Read at The New York Times

Grappling with its History of Slavery, Georgetown Gathers Descendants For a Day of Repentance

posted on April 18, 2017

The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer reports, “About 100 men and women whose ancestors were once sold as slaves to fund the nascent Georgetown University gathered at that university Tuesday for an emotional worship service of remembrance and repentance.” Last year, genealogists uncovered that Jesuit priests sold 272 slaves to fund Georgetown in 1838. Zauzmer writes, “The Scripture passages chosen for the service included Isaiah 58, which calls ‘to loose the chains of injustice … to set the oppressed free and break every yoke.”’

Read at The Washington Post

New Study Shows Number of American Atheists Underreported

posted on April 18, 2017

Religion News Service’s Kimberly Winston reports on a study that suggests as high as 26 percent of Americans might be atheists, compared to previously reported poll numbers of between 3 and 10 percent. Winston writes, “The report by two University of Kentucky scholars suggests that because people may be embarrassed to admit they don’t believe in God, the number of Americans who say they are non-believers may be artificially low.” Will Gervais, one of the study’s authors, told Vox in an interview, “There’s a lot of atheists in the closet, and … if they knew there are lots of people just like them out there, that could potentially promote more tolerance.”

Read at Religion News Service

Alabama Governor Resigns, Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanors

posted on April 11, 2017

The Associated Press‘s Kim Chandler and Anthony Izaguirre report, “Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley resigned Monday rather than face impeachment and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor campaign violations that arose during an investigation of his alleged affair with a top aide. In a remarkable fall, the mild-mannered 74-year-old Republican and one-time Baptist deacon stepped down as the sex-tinged scandal gathered force over the past few days.”

Read at Associated Press

How Pope Francis Is Leading the Catholic Church Against Anti-Migrant Populism

posted on April 11, 2017

The Washington Post’s Anthony Faiola and Sarah Pulliam Bailey report, “As politicians around the world including President Trump take an increasingly hard line on immigration, a powerful force is rallying to the side of migrants: the Roman Catholic Church led by Pope Francis.” Pope Francis has declared that anyone who wants to build walls “is not Christian.” The Rev. Michael Czerny, the undersecretary of the Vatican’s Section for Refugees and Migrants, which opened in January, said, “I don’t think the pope is challenging [the politicians]. I think he is challenging their supporters, both those who actively support them and those who passively allow their policies to happen.”

Read at The Washington Post

Senate Confirms Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

posted on April 7, 2017

The Washington Post‘s Ed O’Keefe and Robert Barnes report, “The U.S. Senate confirmed Neil M. Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, capping more than a year of bitter partisan bickering over the ideological balance of the nation’s highest court. Senators voted to confirm Gorsuch, 49, a Denver-based judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, who will become the 113th person to serve on the Supreme Court.”

Read at The Washington Post

U.S. Strikes Syria Over Chemical Attack

posted on April 7, 2017

The New York Times‘ Michael R. Gordon, Helene Cooper, and Michael D. Shear report, “President Trump said Thursday night that the United States had carried out a missile strike in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week, which killed more than 80 civilians.” They write, “The events of Thursday night marked a dramatic turnabout for Mr. Trump, who until this week had displayed virtually no interest in a deeper role for the United States in the long, bloody conflict.”

Read at The New York Times

New Data Suggest Clinton, Not Trump, Won Catholic Vote

posted on April 7, 2017

America‘s Michael J. O’Loughlin reports, “According to an analysis of American National Election Studies data by a political scientist at Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Catholic voters narrowly went for Democrat Hillary Clinton, 48 percent to 45 percent. Among Hispanic Catholics, Mrs. Clinton cleaned up handily, winning by more than 50 points.” The findings may refute the conclusion made in the days after the November election that President Trump won the Catholic vote. O’Loughlin writes, “Mark Gray, the director of polling at CARA who analyzed the A.N.E.S. data for a forthcoming book, said in an interview with America that in his view, the Catholic vote in the 2016 election was more or less split.”

Read at America

Survivors of Syria Gas Attack Recount “A Cruel Scene”

posted on April 5, 2017

The New York Times’ Patrick Kingsley and Anne Barnard report on the shocking aftermath of Tuesday’s chemical attack in northern Syria, which killed dozens. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is attempting to gain control of Syria from rebel forces, is believed to be behind the attack. Yasser Sarmani, a rebel fighter, described the harrowing scene: “Kids were all over the floor, some dead and others struggling to breathe. The noise of them trying to breath was loud, with foam all over their faces.”

Read at The New York Times

Controversial Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka Backed Violent Anti-Semitic Militia

posted on April 5, 2017

The Forward’s Lili Bayer reports, “As a Hungarian political leader in 2007, Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, publicly supported a violent racist and anti-Semitic paramilitary militia that was later banned as a threat to minorities by multiple court rulings.” The far-right militia group, the black-vested Hungarian Guard, seeks to defend “ethnic Hungarians,” and exclude minorities. In the 2007 interview, Gorka argued that Hungary needed the militia because of the country’s “fascist police,” and society’s inability to defend itself.

Read at The Forward