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Links on R&P from around the web

FBI Investigating Shooting of Two Indian Men in Kansas as a Hate Crime

posted on February 28, 2017

The Washington Post‘s Mark Berman reports, “Authorities are now investigating a deadly shooting in Kansas that killed one Indian man and wounded another as a hate crime, the FBI said Tuesday.” According to witnesses, ]a gunman said “get out of my country” before shooting two Indian men, one of whom died from his injuries. Berman writes, “Police arrested and charged Adam W. Purinton, 51, with the shooting in Olathe, Kan. Purinton, who made his first court appearance on Monday, apparently thought the two men he shot were Iranian, according to a 911 call released after he was taken into custody.”

Read at The Washington Post

New Democratic Party Leader Tom Perez Has Deep Jesuit Connections

posted on February 28, 2017

After Tom Perez was elected as the new leader of the Democratic Party, America’s Michael O’Loughlin reports that the former labor secretary has lifelong Jesuit ties. The son of Dominican immigrants, Perez attended a Jesuit high school and he currently attends a Jesuit-run church. He said said in a Chicago speech, “The Jesuits have always been practitioners of that notion that we will never be silent in the face of injustice, we will never be silent in the face of attacks on religious liberty and we will never be silent in the face of economic inequality.”

Read at America

The Rev. Timothy Keller to Step Down from Redeemer Presbyterian Church

posted on February 28, 2017

Religion News Service’s Emily McFarlan Miller reports, “The Rev. Timothy Keller, one of the country’s most popular and influential conservative Christian thinkers, will step down this summer as senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York.” After the announcement was made on Sunday, Keller explained that he would continue to work with the Redeemer City to City church planting network. Miller writes, “Redeemer’s three congregations will become ‘full-fledged congregations’ with their own staffs and senior pastors, according to the announcement. That follows a decades-old plan the church put in place so as not to become a single megachurch, but a ‘family’ of smaller churches.”

Read at Religion News Service

A Scientist’s New Theory: Religion Was Key to Humans’ Social Evolution

posted on February 28, 2017

The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer reports that an evolutionary psychology professor at Oxford University is working to prove that religion has contributed to humans’ social tendencies and intelligence. The professor, Robin Dunbar, has already published research that demonstrates laughter and singing, especially in groups, release endorphins and facilitate connections between people. Zauzmer writes, “Researchers have shown that doing these activities in synchronized fashion with other people drastically magnifies the endorphin-producing effect: Picture the coordinated bowing that is central to Muslim, Jewish and Catholic worship.”

Read at The Washington Post

LGBTQ Advocates Fear “Religious Freedom” Bills

posted on February 27, 2017

NPR’s Laura Sydell reports, “There are renewed efforts at the state level to pass so-called religious freedom bills. LGBTQ rights advocates believe that’s because local lawmakers are anticipating support from the Trump administration.” The Alabama State Senate is fast-tracking a bill called the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act that allows religiously affiliated adoption agencies to reject same-sex couples. Sarah Warbelow, the legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, said, “A number of states have introduced bills for many years that would allow child welfare agencies to discriminate on the basis of religious belief, but since this particular executive order draft leaked out, we’ve seen a number of states really begin the process of moving those bills.”

Read at NPR

More Than 100 Headstones Damaged at Jewish Cemetery in Philadelphia

posted on February 27, 2017

CBS and the Associated Press report, “More than 100 headstones have been vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, damage discovered less than a week after similar vandalism in Missouri, authorities said.” The attack at Mount Carmel Cemetery was discovered on Sunday, after a man visiting the cemetery noticed three of his relatives’ headstones were damaged. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf tweeted, “The vandalism of Jewish headstones at a Phila. cemetery is a cowardly, disturbing act. We must find those responsible and hold accountable.”

Read at CBS

Mahershala Ali Becomes First Muslim to Win Acting Oscar

posted on February 27, 2017

Religion News Service’s Kimberly Winston reports, “With his win for portraying a drug dealer with a father’s heart in the film ‘Moonlight,’ Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim to take home an acting Oscar.” Ali won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor on Sunday. On the radio show “Fresh Air,” Ali described his conversion to Islam, which happened after he visited a Philadelphia mosque in 1999. “I felt really grounded at that time, and so to be in this prayer and the imam is doing the prayer in Arabic, and I don’t understand a word of Arabic, but I just remember these tears just coming down my face, and it just really connecting to my spirit in a way that felt like I needed to pay attention to that.”

Read at Religion News Service

Muslim Refugees Were Admitted at a Lower Rate During Trump’s Refugee Ban

posted on February 27, 2017

At The New York Times, Audrey Carlsen, K.K. Rebecca Lai, and Adam Pearce report that only 15 percent of 843 total refugees who were admitted during the week of the Trump administration’s travel ban were Muslim. Forty-five percent of all refugees who were admitted in 2016 were Muslim, on average. President Trump set a 50,000 refugee limit for 2017 in late January. Carlsen, Lai, and Pearce write, “Under this new limit and without a refugee ban, the United States is on target to hit its cap on refugee admissions by mid-April, leaving almost six months when no refugees would be allowed into the country.”

Read at The New York Times

Meet the Evangelicals Trying to Make the GOP Care About Refugees

posted on February 24, 2017

Vox’s Sarah Wildman reports on the evangelicals who are advocating for the United States to accept refugees and immigrants. World Relief is an organization working to resettle refugees and is part of the National Association of Evangelicals. Wildman profiles Jenny Yang, vice president of advocacy and policy for World Relief, who wrote in a Christianity Today op-ed, “Jesus taught us to love radically, unconditionally, and sacrificially. Our enemy is not someone who is of a different religion or culture or ethnicity; the real here enemy is fear.”

Read at Vox

“Every Person Deserves to Rest in Peace”: American Muslims Raising Money to Repair Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

posted on February 22, 2017

The Washington Post’s Colby Itkowitz reports, “After the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis over the long holiday weekend, an incident in which more than 150 headstones were toppled or damaged, two American Muslim activists started a fundraiser to help pay for needed repairs.” The fundraiser, created by Tarek El-Messidi and Linda Sarsour, raised more than $80,000 as of Wednesday afternoon. El-Messidi, the creator of Celebrate Mercy, a nonprofit that uses the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings to encourage charity, said, “This is really a human issue. But out of this horrible election cycle, something beautiful has come out of it and [Muslims and Jews have] bonded together to support each other and stand up to this hate.”

Read at The Washington Post