CNN’s Daniel Burke and Jeremy Moorhead report that Congress should soon be getting its first member who is a Muslim woman. They write, “Tlaib, who beat a crowded field of Democrats to win Tuesday’s primary, will not face a Republican opponent in November’s general election. She can still be opposed by a write-in candidate, but would be the overwhelming favorite in the deeply Democratic district.” The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, she is one of more than 90 Muslims running for office this year.
The New York Times‘ Laurie Goodstein reports that another woman has come forward to accuse former Willow Creek Pastor Bill Hybels of sexual harassment. Pat Baranowski worked as the popular pastor’s assistant in the 1980s. Goodstein builds upon reporting from The Chicago Tribune and Christianity Today: “Ms. Baranowski is not the first to accuse Mr. Hybels of wrongdoing, though her charges are more serious than what has been reported before.” She writes, “Since leaving the church, Ms. Baranowski said she has struggled to keep a job, lost her condominium, moved from state to state, and had migraines and panic attacks. ‘I carried Bill’s responsibility, for things he should have been responsible for,’ she said.”
The New York Times‘ Kenneth P. Vogel and Elizabeth Dias report on how foreign nationals forge ties with American officials at the annual National Prayer breakfast. They write, “Their presence at the breakfast illuminates the way the annual event has become an international influence-peddling bazaar, where foreign dignitaries, religious leaders, diplomats and lobbyists jockey for access to the highest reaches of American power.” Maria Butina, a Russian who has attended the breakfast, was recently indicted and “charged with conspiring to act as a Russian agent.”
For The Washington Post, researchers Andrew Whitehead, Landon Schnabel, and Samuel Perry write, “In our newly published and freely available study, the connection between Christian nationalism and gun control attitudes proves stronger than we expected. It turns out that how intensely someone adheres to Christian nationalism is one of the strongest predictors of whether someone supports gun control. One’s political party, religiosity, gender, education or age doesn’t matter.”
The Washington Post‘s Julie Zauzmer reports that President Trump and Michael Cohen mentioned two black pastors during a secretly taped conversation that was released this week. They appeared to be discussing a payment for a Playboy model who alleges she had an affair with the president. The talk also turned to two pastors who were surrogates for Trump on the campaign trail: Darrell Scott and Mark Burns. Zauzmer writes, “Both pastors are among Trump’s relatively few supporters in the black church. Black voters overall went overwhelmingly for Clinton over Trump, 88 percent to 8 percent.”
Religion News Service’s Adelle M. Banks reports that U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback hosted a summit on religious persecution. The event welcomed representatives from different world religions and featured testimonials from survivors of persecution. “The website for the first-ever event, called the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, said it aims to bring foreign ministers and religious leaders together to ‘identify concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination, and ensure greater respect for religious freedom for all,’” writes Banks.
The Washington Post’s Stephanie McCrummen reports that even some Christians in Trump’s most supportive areas of the country have a difficult time reconciling religious and political priorities. Southern Baptists in Luverne, Alabama, share their thoughts on what has conflicted them. Brett Green, a congregant at First Baptist Church, took issue with Trump’s remark regarding “shithole” countries. “Jesus Christ was born in Nazareth, and Nazareth was a shithole at that time,” Green said. “Someone might say, ‘How could anything good come out of a place like that?’ Well, Jesus came out of a place like that.”
CNN’s Joshua Berlinger reports that President Trump issued a threat to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over Twitter, stating in all-caps: “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN.” Trump’s tweet comes on the heels of remarks made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a speech in California on Sunday, where he likened the Iranian regime to the mafia. Berlinger writes, “Later Monday morning, national security adviser John Bolton said Trump told him that ‘if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before.’”
The Daily Beast’s Justin Rohrlich reports that some states—like Texas and Michigan—grant Christian shelter facilities the right to reject foster parent applications based on their religious beliefs. “According to a report released last year by the nonpartisan Center for the Study of Social Policy, this could exclude otherwise qualified secular or interfaith couples, atheists, even couples in which one spouse had previously been divorced,” writes Rohrlich. Immigrant children placed in shelters that have these religious exemptions can also be subjected to conversion therapy if they identify as LGBTQ, as well as denied access to birth control and abortion services.
The Atlantic’s Alia Wong reports that a majority of Supreme Court justices have graduated from private Catholic high schools. The question of the Court’s schooling background and its influence come on the heels of an array of upcoming cases that deal with affirmative action, school vouchers, and discrimination in admissions decisions. “And while the Justices share unusual and noteworthy educational experiences, those personal narratives are ultimately less revealing than the legal history itself,” Wong writes.