RAP Sheet

Why the Catholic Church Sometimes Turns to Science to Investigate Miracles

posted on December 21, 2016

Deseret News’ Kelsey Dallas reports that the Catholic Church commissions doctors and scientists to investigate miracle claims of potential saints. Dallas writes, “The thorough vetting process stands in stark contrast to the way miracles are usually approached within religious practice. Inexplicable and amazing events are typically celebrated for the way they invigorate people’s faith, bringing hope in times of crisis.” Dr. Jacalyn Duffin, a doctor commissioned by the church, said, “If you pray to a saint and receive a miracle, it’s proof that the saint is with God. Recognized miracles eliminate doubt about the sanctity of the person going for sainthood.”

Read at Deseret News

Baptist Figure Faces Backlash Over His Criticism of Donald Trump

posted on December 20, 2016

The Wall Street Journal’s Ian Lovett reports that Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore is facing backlash in his denomination for his criticism of Donald Trump. In a recently published essay, Moore wrote that “the old-guard religious right political establishment normalized an awful candidate.” Lovett writes, “Some Baptist pastors are considering cutting funds that flow from their congregations to the Southern Baptist Convention—or to its policy agency, which Mr. Moore heads—in a potentially dramatic rebuke.”

Read at The Wall Street Journal

New International Religious Freedom Act a First for Atheists

posted on December 20, 2016

Religion News Service’s Kimberly Winston reports that the updated international religious freedom act explicitly recognizes atheists as a protected class for the first time. On Friday, President Obama signed the updated version of the 1998 law, called the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act. It reads, “[T]he freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs, and the right not to profess or practice any religion.” Caroline Mala Corbin, a professor at the University of Miami, said of the law, “It takes an expansive view of religious liberty, saying freedom of religion is not just about the right to practice religion. It is also about the right to have your own views about religion including being agnostic and atheistic.”

Read at Religion News Service

Turkish Police Detain Six after Russian Ambassador Shot Dead

posted on December 20, 2016

Reuters’ Orhan Coskun and Daren Butler report that the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was killed by a gunman on Monday. Authorities identified the shooter as Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty police officer, who shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria,” as he fired shots at the ambassador. Coskun and Butler write, “Altintas, who also shouted slogans associated with Islamist militancy after shooting ambassador Andrei Karlov, was killed minutes later by members of Turkey’s special forces. His mother, father, sister and two other relatives were held in the western province of Aydin, while his flatmate in Ankara was also detained, security sources said.”

Read at Reuters

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Berlin Attack, Says Driver Was “Soldier of the Islamic State”

posted on December 20, 2016

The Washington Post’s Anthony Faiola and Stephanie Kirchner report that the Islamic States has claimed responsibility for an attack on Monday, in which a truck rammed into a crowd at the Berlin Christmas market. The act of terror killed at least 12 and injured 52. Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, said, “We don’t want to live with the fear of evil paralyzing us. We will find the strength for a life as we want to live it in Germany: free, united, and open.”

Read at The Washington Post

Some Evangelicals Question Whether they Have Overlooked the Rural Church

posted on December 19, 2016

The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports that Donald Trump’s election has put a spotlight on rural, white evangelicals, who overwhelming supported the president-elect. Now some evangelical leaders in urban and suburban areas are wondering if they have overlooked the needs of rural churches. Anthony Bradley, a professor at King’s College, says, “Evangelicals have internally tribalized by class and by educational pedigree. Some of the people we think of as evangelical leaders are completely out of touch with the sorts of fears and issues of people who live in rural America.”

Read at The Washington Post

Maryland Church Ordered to Evict Homeless or Pay $12,000 Fine

posted on December 19, 2016

For Yahoo News, Brandon Ambrosino reports that Patapsco United Methodist Church in Maryland has been served with a $12,000 county fine for housing homeless people. The fine comes after a neighbor complained. The Rev. Katie Grover, the church’s pastor, said, “I’m not trying to be adversarial with anyone. We’re just trying to do what a church is called to do, and that’s to love people. In Scripture, it talks about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick.”

Read at Yahoo News

New Website Plans to Showcase Leaked Mormon Documents

posted on December 19, 2016

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Peggy Fletcher Stack reports, “On Monday, [Ryan] McKnight, a former Latter-day Saint in Las Vegas, plans to launch Mormon WikiLeaks, an online website where anonymous tipsters — including those who work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — can post purloined papers by and about the Utah-based faith’s programs, policies and policymakers.” In an interview, McKnight said, “We received some documents and are still authenticating them and assessing their value.” In October, McKnight leaked more than a dozen videos to YouTube that show Mormon officials discussing key political topics, including gay marriage and marijuana use.

Read at The Salt Lake Tribune

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.

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