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Links on R&P from around the web

Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Bill Wins Senate Passage

posted on December 1, 2022

Mary Clare Jalonick of the Associated Press reports, “The Senate passed bipartisan legislation on Tuesday to protect same-sex marriages, an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue.” The bill passed 61-36 with twelve Republicans voting in favor. It will now go to the House for a final vote. The Senate rejected three Republican amendments to enshrine religious freedom protections into the bill, with many senators arguing that the bill already protected religious groups. Republican Sen. Tom Tillis of North Carolina said that many religious organizations support the legislation. He added, “They see this as a step forward for religious freedom.”

Read at The Associated Press

SBC President Bart Barber Says Predecessor Johnny Hunt Is Unfit to Return to Ministry

posted on December 1, 2022

Bob Smietana of Religion News Service reports that Bart Barber, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, denounced his predecessor Johnny Hunt’s reinstatement to ministry. Hunt was publicly accused of sexually assaulting another pastor’s wife and took a six-month leave of absence starting in May. Barber said in a statement, “I would permanently ‘defrock’ Johnny Hunt if I had the authority to do so.” Barber does not have the authority to do so, however, given the SBC’s decentralized structure that prioritizes individual church autonomy.

Read at Religion News Service

Baltimore Archdiocese Is Funding Attorneys Seeking to Seal Abuse Proceedings

posted on December 1, 2022

Fredrick Kunkle and Michelle Boorstein of The Washington Post report, “The Archdiocese of Baltimore confirmed Tuesday that it is helping pay the legal expenses of an anonymous group of people seeking to seal the proceedings around a report by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office on clergy sexual abuse of minors.” The report is the result of a four-year investigation and will contain the names of 158 abusive priests who tallied more than 600 victims over 80 years. The archdiocese claims that it is not intending to block the release of the report but rather is attempting to allow individuals named in the report but not accused of sexual abuse to air their grievances before the report is made public.

Read at The Washington Post

Evangelical Influencers Pan Trump as Driven by “Grievance and Self-Importance”

posted on December 1, 2022

Yonat Shimron of Religion News Service reports that some influential evangelical leaders are criticizing former President Donald Trump after he announced that he intends to run for president in 2024. Robert Jeffress, one of Trump’s 2016 evangelical advisors, said he will not support Trump unless he becomes the nominee. David Lane, the leader of the American Renewal Project which works to elect pastors to public office, said in an email to his 70,000 subscribers, “Unfortunately, the former president’s penchant for settling political scores and his compulsion to keep the spotlight upon himself have both become threadbare and trite.”

Read at Religion News Service

The Students Quietly Distributing Emergency Birth Control on Campus

posted on December 1, 2022

For The Washington Post Magazine, Mattie Kahn reports that students at universities across the country are organizing to hand out emergency contraception to their peers as part of an effort called Emergency Contraception for Every Campus, or EC4EC. The effort began in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling that eliminated the right to abortion, a decision that many saw as a worrying sign that birth control could come next. Andi Beaudouin, a student who helped launch her university’s EC4Ec chapter, said, “It’s like, if universities aren’t going to do it, we have to. Because students deserve it.” The group has already begun work on a Jesuit campus and is looking into options to expand their work to Catholic and evangelical campuses around the country.

 

Read at The Washington Post

Jesus Christ, Streaming Star

posted on November 29, 2022

Ruth Graham of The New York Times reports that the television show “The Chosen” is advertised “as the first multi-season show about the life of Jesus —and one of the biggest crowd-funded media projects ever produced.” She writes, “Conceived by a little-known creator, featuring no major stars and funded primarily, at first, through small contributions without the support of a Hollywood studio, the series began on an obscure proprietary app and is now given away for free.” Its long-shot success has made it a hit with many Christians, as it mixes biblical narratives with modern-day dialogue and relatable personal struggles, while steering clear of most current political and cultural issues.

Read at The New York Times

Conservative States Are Blocking Trans Medical Care. Families Are Fleeing.

posted on November 29, 2022

Annie Connell-Bryan, Joanne Kenen, and Jael Holzman of Politico report that transgender youth and their families are leaving conservative states due to new laws and orders restricting transgender-affirming care. Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed one of these bills into law, saying in a statement, “I believe very strongly that if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl.” These new policies have taken a toll on transgender teens’ mental health. Marci Bowers, a doctor and president of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, said, “Nothing is more ominous than allowing politicians and attorneys to render medical judgments on our nation’s children.”

Read at Politico

Iran Calls for Discipline After U.S. Soccer Briefly Scrubs Emblem From Flag

posted on November 29, 2022

ESPN News Services reports, “The US Soccer Federation briefly displayed Iran’s national flag on social media without the emblem of the Islamic Republic, saying the move supports protesters in Iran ahead of the two nations’ World Cup match Tuesday in Qatar.” The Iranian government said that the move was tantamount to removing the name of God from their flag. Their football federation added that the U.S. should be expelled from the World Cup for their actions due to FIFA regulations. U.S. soccer officials restored the emblem to the Iranian flag within a day on all social media platforms.

Read at ESPN

A Clergy Mental Health Crisis

posted on November 29, 2022

Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans of Christian Century writes that the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated an already existing clergy mental health crisis. She writes, “Researchers who have assessed clergy well-being over time say that they are concerned by the toll congregational conflicts and ebbing congregations are taking on ordained leaders.” Researchers have begun initiatives around the country to explore solutions to the problem, including the Flourishing in Ministry project at Notre Dame. Matt Bloom, the project’s director, said, “I’m not going to be surprised if we do see more clergy resigning from local church work. It’s not because they want to leave ministry. Not at all. But what they want is to be able to do ministry of the kind they feel called to do.”

Read at Christian Century

Georgia High Court Reinstates Ban on Abortion After 6 Weeks

posted on November 29, 2022

Sudhin Thanawala of the Associated Press reports, “The Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated the state’s ban on abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy, abruptly ending access to later abortions that had resumed days earlier.” The order put on hold a lower court’s ruling that had blocked the law from going into effect until the high court finished the appeal process. Alice Wang, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights which represents the plaintiff in the case, said, “This legal ping pong is causing chaos for medical providers trying to do their jobs and for patients who are now left frantically searching for the abortion services they need.”

Read at The Associated Press