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Links on R&P from around the web

West Bank Mosque Is Set Ablaze and Vandalized

posted on June 21, 2012

A mosque in the West Bank was burned and vandalized on Tuesday, reports Jodi Rudoren and Khaled Abu Aker for The New York Times. Many suspect that “radical” Israeli settlers committed the arson, an act that highlights the growing tension in the disputed territory among the settlers, local Palestinians, and the Israeli government. Earlier this year, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered that settlers evacuate the settlement of Ulpana by July 1, a ruling that made the village “a flash point in the larger debate over settlements.” 

Read at The New York Times

Belief in Hell Lowers Crime Rate

posted on June 21, 2012

A new international study by University of Oregon psychologist, Azim F. Shariff, found that believing in heaven and hell correlates to a country’s crime rate, reports The Huffington Post. According to Shariff, “a nation’s rate of belief in hell predicts lower crime rates, but the nation’s rate of belief in heaven predicts higher crime rates.” Based on his findings, Shariff speculates that, “it’s possible that people who don’t believe in the possibility of punishment in the afterlife feel like they can get away with unethical behavior. There is less of a divine deterrent.”

Read at The Huffington Post

Trials of Jerry Sandusky and William Lynn: Coaches, Cardinals, Cowardice and Courage in Pennsylvania

posted on June 21, 2012

Writing for The Washington Post, Mathew N. Schmalz examines the trials of Jerry Sandusky and Monsignor William Lynn, both of which involve child abuse. Schmalz raises questions about the moral responsibility of those who witness such abuse. “[H]onestly acknowledging moral cowardice can lead us to a fuller understanding of what moral courage can and does mean–both in extreme circumstances and in the normal, often unexamined, course of our daily lives.”   

Read at The Washington Post

Justice for Holocaust Survivors

posted on June 21, 2012

At Politico, Annette Lantos, widow of Holocaust survivor, Rep. Tom Lantos, criticizes Jewish groups that oppose a bill to allow America’s Holocaust survivors “to seek justice in U.S. courts” from European insurance companies that have failed to pay out policies bought before World War II. According to Lantos, “half the Holocaust survivors in this country live in poverty and can’t afford sufficient health care, nutrition, shelter, home care and other basic necessities.” Allowing them to litigate, Lantos argues, will give “closure and justice” to the victims. 

Read at Politico

Who Are the Copts?

posted on June 20, 2012

The recent political strife in Egypt has brought that nation’s Christians closer together, reports Jayson Casper for Christianity Today. While 90 percent of the country’s Christian population is Coptic Orthodox, Egypt also has “Protestants and Catholics [who] have had an up-and-down relationship with the dominant Orthodox Church,” writes Casper. However the country’s turmoil has led to new, trans-denominational alliances, says Atef Gendy, president of Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. “After the revolution, there is a different spirit due to the Islamist pressures.”

Read at Christianity Today

Romney Pleases Christian Group with Stance on Israel

posted on June 20, 2012

At the Faith and Freedom Coalition convention last Saturday, Mitt Romney drew extended applause for his “hawkish” remarks on Israel, reports Paul West and Michael Finnegan for The Los Angeles Times. Criticizing the president’s position towards Israel, Romney declared, “[Obama has] almost sounded like he’s more frightened that Israel might take military action than he’s concerned that Iran might become nuclear.” 

Read at The Los Angeles Times

Hutterites Blast ‘Exploitative’ Show on National Geographic Channel

posted on June 20, 2012

In their first ever press release, bishops of the Hutterite community in Montana have accused the National Geographic Channel of presenting a “distorted and exploitative version” of their little-known Christian faith. At Religion News Service, Chris Lisee writes that the channel’s new reality series, “American Colony: Meet the Hutterites,” depicts some community members “drinking, swearing, and shooting guns, all in violation of the sect’s pacifist and pietist Christian beliefs.” In its own defense, the National Geographic Channel has stated that the reality series portrays “a truthful representation of the struggle between the younger generation and the colony leaders.”

Read at Religion News Service

What Should the Vatican Say to the (Last Generation of) Nuns?

posted on June 20, 2012

At Religion Dispatches, Peter Manseau reflects on the lives of his mother and her friends, all nuns and former nuns. Manseau explains why some nuns today are challenging the authority of the Vatican. Manseau writes that, as these young religious women left the novitiate, where they were required to ask their superiors’ permission to “rise, wash, dress, [and] use prayer books,” and started their ministry work, these nuns “discovered they no longer needed to ask permission to pick up pins and needles, or to do anything else that obviously needed to be done.”

Read at Religion Dispatches

House GOP to Hold Hearings on Its Hearings on Muslim Radicals in the US

posted on June 20, 2012

Homeland Security Committee Chairman, Peter King, has announced a new round of congressional hearings on the “radicalization” of American Muslims. However, Mother Jones’ Adam Serwer reports that King does not plan discussing new radicalization trends. Instead, as the hearing’s title suggests, King intends to discuss “The American Muslim Response to Hearings on Radicalization Within Their Community.”

Read at Mother Jones

The Rottweiler’s Rottweiler

posted on June 20, 2012

To his own surprise, The New York Times’ Bill Keller agrees with Catholic League president Bill Donohue; Catholics dissatisfied with the current state of the Church should leave. In his new book, Why Catholicism Matters, Donohue writes, “maybe a smaller church would be a better church.” For his own part, Keller directly addresses “the discontented … if you are not getting the spiritual sustenance you need, if you are uneasy being part of an institution out of step with your conscience–then go.”

Read at The New York Times