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Links on R&P from around the web

The Death of Community and the Rise of Trump

posted on March 6, 2017

The Atlantic’s Emma Green reports that white, working-class Americans are becoming increasingly detached from religious and civic institutions. These Americans’ lack of engagement is closely tied with their decreasing religiosity. Robby Jones, the CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, said, “Churches have served, for most of the nation’s life, as pipelines to all kinds of civic engagement—and not just because they hand out voter-registration cards or have them in the lobby.”

Read at The Atlantic

Supreme Court Scraps Case on Transgender Bathroom Rights

posted on March 6, 2017

The Associated Press’s Mark Sherman reports, “The Supreme Court is returning a transgender teen’s case to a lower court without reaching a decision, leaving in limbo the issue of transgender rights in school settings.” The case was returned to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, after the Trump administration revoked a federal directive that advised schools to allow students to use bathrooms based on their gender, not biological sex. High school senior Gavin Grimm, who initiated the case to gain permission to use the boys’ bathroom in his Virginia school, will likely graduate with the bathroom issue unresolved.

Read at The Associated Press

Sikh Man’s Shooting in Washington Investigated as Hate Crime

posted on March 6, 2017

CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian, Huizhong Wu, and Susannah Cullinane report that a Sikh man was shot on Friday outside his home in Kent, Washington. The shooting is being investiaged as a possible hate crime. The victim was released from the hospital on Saturday and is expected to make a full recovery. Moshtaghian, Wu, and Cullinane write, “The Sikh Coalition said members of its community are at heightened risk of hate-crime attacks – partially because their faith requires the wearing of turbans and beards.”

Read at CNN

White House Wants It Both Ways on Revised Travel Ban

posted on March 6, 2017

POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein, Josh Dawsey, and Tara Palmeri report, “The White House has spent more than a month retooling President Donald Trump’s suspended executive order barring travel and immigration from Muslim countries, all along promising the public that the revised version would be substantially the same as the original—while telling courts just the opposite.” Released today, the new ban removse Iraq from the list of countries targeted for travel limits. Comparing the updated order to the last ban, which was blocked by an appeals court, Gerstein, Dawsey, and Palmeri write, “If the order is ‘tailored’ to previous court rulings, as Trump has pledged, it could fare better in the courts.”


Former Journalist Arrested, Charged with Threats against Jewish Facilities

posted on March 6, 2017

The Washington Post’s Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky report, “A former journalist allegedly carried out at least some of the recent bomb threats against Jewish institutions across the country, according to the FBI, which described the menacing calls as part of the man’s campaign to harass a woman.” Juan Thompson was arrested on Friday in St. Louis for the threats. The former journalist, who was fired from The Intercept last year for fabricating quotes, is charged with cyberstalking and accused of making at least eight threats to Jewish Community Centers.

Read at The Washington Post

The Holocaust’s Great Escape

posted on March 2, 2017

Smithsonian Magazine’s Matthew Shaer investigates the history of a Holocaust escape tunnel in Lithuania that was discovered near a mass grave in 2016. Shaer writes that in 1944 several Jewish prisoners tirelessly used saws, files, and spoons over several months to make the tunnel and escape their Nazi captors. Today, the mass grave in Ponar, Lithuania, is home to a memorial, but the escape tunnel is not marked. Richard Freund, an archaeologist who helped discover the tunnel, said, “In any of these circumstances, what you want—the biggest thing you want, the most important—is to be able to make these places visible.”

Read at Smithsonian Magazine

Chicago Cardinal Takes Stand on Immigration Enforcement

posted on March 1, 2017

The Associated Press’s Don Babwin and Rachel Zoll report, “The Roman Catholic archdiocese in Chicago told its schools this week not to let federal immigration agents into their buildings without a warrant, in step with guidance given to hundreds of Chicago public schools last week in response to President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.” Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago sent the instruction to more than 200 schools on Monday.

Read at The Associated Press

Threats and Vandalism Leave American Jews on Edge in Trump Era

posted on March 1, 2017

The New York Times’s Alan Blinder, Serge F. Kovaleski, and Adam Goldman report that more than 100 Jewish community centers have been the targets of bomb threats since the beginning of the year. They write, “Combined with the recent vandalism at Jewish cemeteries in Missouri and Pennsylvania, the calls have stoked fears that a virulent anti-Semitism has increasingly taken hold in the early days of the Trump administration.”

Read at The New York Times

Trump Opens First Address to Congress Condemning Antisemitism

posted on March 1, 2017

The Jerusalem Post’s Michael Wilner reports, “President Donald Trump began his first address to a joint session of Congress by condemning antisemitism as a form of hate and evil and by offering an homage to civil rights amid a spate of attacks on Jewish institutions nationwide.” Trump also said, “Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

Read at The Jerusalem Post

In Religious Freedom Debate, Two American Values Clash

posted on March 1, 2017

NPR’s Tom Gjelten reports, “The collision of two core American values — freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination — is prompting a showdown in legislatures and courts across the country.” Religious conservatives argue that religious freedom gives them a right to act against same-sex marriage, while LGBTQ advocates argue that they have a right not to be discriminated against. Law Professor John Inazu, who is on the faculty at the Danforth Center on Religion & Politics, which publishes this journal, told Gjelten: “It’s hard to see in some of these cases how there would be an outcome that is amenable to everyone, and so I think we’re seeing these cases with us for a long time.”


Read at NPR