ThinkProgress’s Jack Jenkins reports, “One of President Donald Trump’s closest faith advisers told ThinkProgress on Saturday that she regrets recent comments she made that included suggesting the president has been ‘lifted up’ by God, and insisted that the president is not racist.” Paula White, one of the president’s closest spiritual advisers, clarified, “In life, even in our own personal life, we find our self at times fighting against the hand of God. And I believe that. In other words, we can be a rebellious and stubborn people, individually, nationally, or corporately. So in context, the headlines were quite different than what was really being said.”
Buzzfeed’s Hannah Allam writes about the Pillars Fund, a Chicago-based charity network run by wealthy Muslim Americans who donate solely to nonprofit groups in the United States. The fund, which began in 2010, aims to combat rising anti-Muslim sentiments by funding “groundbreaking Muslim initiatives in the nation.” Allam explains, “There are grantees devoted to the study of U.S. Muslims, such as the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a polling house and research center. And there are grantees that tackle Islam’s role in pop culture, such as Halal in the Family, a web series about a fictional Muslim family developed by comedian Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show.”
USA Today’s Sean Rossman reports, “Prodded by violence in Charlottesville, Va., the Washington National Cathedral will remove two stained-glass windows depicting Confederate generals, saying the displays ‘do not reflect our values.”’ A letter released by the heads of the cathedral on Wednesday said, “These windows are not only inconsistent with our current mission to serve as a house of prayer for all people, but also a barrier to our important work on racial justice and racial reconciliation.” Rossman writes, “The decision came after years of ‘considerable prayer and deliberation,’ starting after a church shooting in Charleston, S.C., the letter said.”
CNN’s Daniel Burke reports, “The publisher of a book by Hillary Clinton’s longtime pastor is discontinuing sales of the book and destroying remaining copies, saying that it found examples of plagiarism beyond those reported by CNN last month.” “Strong for a Moment Like This: The Daily Devotions of Hillary Rodham Clinton” is based on spiritual emails written from the Rev. Bill Shillady to Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. On Tuesday, Shillady said, “I was wrong and there is no excuse for it. I apologize to those whose work I mistakenly did not attribute. I apologize to those I have disappointed, including Secretary Hillary Clinton, Abingdon Press, and all the writers and others who have helped me publish and promote this book.”
Religion News Service’s Adelle M. Banks reports that a Baylor Religion Survey released on Thursday found that “Americans who voted for President Trump are often very religious, believe in an authoritative God and hold traditional views about gender.” The results, which were released at the annual meeting of the Religion News Association, also found that nearly three-quarters of Trump voters see Islam as a threat to America. Banks writes, “The authors of the survey describe ‘Trumpism’ as ‘a new form of nationalism which merges pro-Christian rhetoric with anti-Islam, anti-feminist, anti-globalist, and anti-government attitudes.”’
The Washington Post‘s“Religious leaders, including some of the evangelicals who have remained steadfast in their support for Trump, expressed their disappointment that Trump would reverse the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.” In a statement, U.S. Catholic bishops called the decision “reprehensible.” The United Methodist Church called it “unconscionable.” Itkowitz writes, “Some prominent evangelicals signed joint letters compelling Trump to leave the program in place while Congress works on a more permanent legislative solution.”
The New Yorker’s Rachel Aviv profiles Bobby Farid Hadid, an Algerian Muslim man who immigrated to the United States and was inspired to join the N.Y.P.D. after 9/11. Hadid, who rose through the ranks of New York law enforcement to work in counter-terrorism, became disillusioned at the department’s disproportionate focus on Muslims. Hadid eventually became a victim of unfair treatment himself; he was questionably transferred out of the Intelligence Division in 2009, before being pushed out of the department completely in 2011.
Religion News Service’s Adelle M. Banks, Emily McFarlan Miller, Yonat Shimron, and Jerome Socolovsky write about Trump’s close relationship with conservative Christian leaders, pastors, and preachers. They report, “Extensive interviews with key participants – as well as public statements and photos – reveal that a cadre of conservative Christian religious leaders – mostly white and male (with notable exceptions such as White and Suarez) – has the ear of the politically powerful on matters of national priority.” Banks, McFarlan Miller, Shimron, and Socolovsky point out that Christian leaders continue to stand by the president: “This is a group made up of people with pastoral hearts that will share praise, they’ll share inspiration in the sense that they’ll pray with the president, they’ll share Scripture with the president, but they’ll also share concern,” said Pastor Tony Suarez.
NPR’s Tom Gjelten reports, “In churches across Houston on Sunday, pastors struggled to tell their parishioners why a God they believed to be good might have allowed a storm of Biblical proportion to flood their city.” Gjelten writes, “The dilemma is so serious that theologians actually have a term for efforts to explain why God and evil can coexist: theodicy.” Some argue that God is not responsible for human hardship, some claim that suffering is God’s punishment, while others say that disasters allow God to strengthen peoples’ faith.
The Tennessean‘s Holly Meyer reports, “A nationwide coalition of more than 150 conservative Christian leaders signed a statement, released Tuesday, affirming their beliefs on human sexuality, including that marriage is between one man and one woman and approval of ‘homosexual immorality’ is sinful.” The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released the so-called “Nashville Statement,” named for the city where leaders convened last week for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s annual conference. The news prompted Nashville’s mayor to distance the city from the manifesto, calling it “poorly named.”