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Links on R&P from around the web

The Unmaking of Biblical Womanhood

posted on July 26, 2021

The New Yorker‘s Eliza Griswold shadows the historians Beth Allison Barr and Kristin Kobes Du Mez in Waco, Texas. Both authors have recent books that are bestsellers and that critique complmentarianism within evangelicalism. “Women think all of this is the Bible because they learn it in their churches,” Barr told Griswold. “But it’s really a post-Second World War construction of domesticity, which was designed to send working women back to the kitchen.”

Read at The New Yorker

Facebook’s Next Target: The Religious Experience

posted on July 26, 2021

The New York Times‘s Elizabeth Dias reports that Facebook is building partnerships with religious communities. Denominations like Church of God in Christ and churches like Hillsong in Atlanta have worked with the social network. “The company aims to become the virtual home for religious community, and wants churches, mosques, synagogues and others to embed their religious life into its platform, from hosting worship services and socializing more casually to soliciting money,” she writes. “It is developing new products, including audio and prayer sharing, aimed at faith groups.”

Read at The New York Times

Southern Baptist Executive Committee Hires Guidepost Solutions to Review Moore Allegations

posted on June 11, 2021

Religion News Service’s Bob Smietana reports that the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee has hired Guidepost Solutions to review how it has handled sexual abuse allegations. The review comes after Russell Moore, who recently resigned as head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm, charged that committee members “had tried to delay attempts to deal with abuse and to silence abuse survivors.” Smietana writes, “Abuse advocate and attorney Rachael Denhollander, who has been critical in the past of SBC officials’ treatment of alleged sex abuse victims, called Guidepost Solutions a ‘highly qualified firm’ that is capable of reviewing the Executive Committee’s actions and advising SBC leaders.”

Read at Religion News Service

After Years of Quiet, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Exploded. Why Now?

posted on May 18, 2021

The New York Times‘s Patrick Kingsley reports that several incidents led to the current Israeli-Palestinian crisis. In one incident in April, Israeli police raided the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during the first night of Ramadan. Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, tells Kingsley, “”This was the turning point. Their actions would cause the situation to deteriorate.” Kingsley writes, “That deterioration has been far more devastating, far-reaching and fast-paced than anyone imagined. It has led to the worst violence between Israelis and Palestinians in years — not only in the conflict with Hamas, which has killed at least 145 people in Gaza and 12 in Israel, but in a wave of mob attacks in mixed Arab-Jewish cities in Israel.”

Read at The New York Times

U.S. Catholic Bishops May Press Biden to Stop Taking Communion

posted on May 4, 2021

David Crary of the Associated Press reports, “When U.S. Catholic bishops hold their next national meeting in June, they’ll be deciding whether to send a tougher-than-ever message to President Joe Biden and other Catholic politicians: Don’t receive Communion if you persist in public advocacy of abortion rights.” The proposal is outlined in a document that will be voted on by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, and it defers the final decision to the bishop of the individual in question. Some leaders, including Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, have criticized the proposal. He said during an online forum, “I don’t see how depriving the president or other political leaders of the Eucharist based on their public policy stance can be interpreted in our society as anything other than a weaponization of the Eucharist to pummel them into submission.”

Read at The Associated Press

Ahead of Andrew Brown Jr.’s Funeral, North Carolina Clergy Cry Out for Justice

posted on May 4, 2021

Yonat Shimron of Religion News Service reports that prominent North Carolina clergy are speaking out after the death of Andrew Brown Jr. at the hands of police officers. Among the group is Rev. Jennifer Copeland, the executive director of the North Carolina Council of Churches. She said, “When it happens in your backyard you pay more attention to it and you get a little more involved in the different actions occurring.” The clergies’ demands include  releasing the body-cam footage of the incident and a relinquishment of the case to the state’s attorney general.

Read at Religion News Service

Stampede in Israel Claims Dozens of Lives, Injures Hundreds of Jewish Pilgrims

posted on May 4, 2021

Michele Chabin of Religion News Service reports, “At least 45 Jewish pilgrims were crushed to death and hundreds more were injured late Thursday (April 29) during an annual celebration of a Jewish holiday in the Galilee.” The mass gathering included more than 100,000 attendees, most of whom were Orthodox and celebrating the Jewish holiday of Lag b’Omer. “Video footage from the stampede shows tens of thousands of religious men crowded into a narrow walkway,” Chabin reports. “Some reportedly slipped down a stairway and were trampled by others propelled by the crowd. Chaos ensued to the point where, many hours later, some families were still searching for loved ones.”

Read at Religion News Service

Faith, Freedom, Fear: Rural America’s Covid Vaccine Skeptics

posted on May 4, 2021

Jan Hoffman of The New York Times reports that residents in the rural town of Greenville, Tennessee, are hesitant to get the Covid-19 vaccination. She writes, “That view is bolstered by a religious, near-joyous fatalism. People say that if they haven’t caught Covid a year into the pandemic, they will take their chances. True, they might get Covid and die. But either way, a win-win: longer life on Earth or, for the faithful, eternal life in Heaven.” Some pastors are reluctant to use their influence to encourage vaccination. “There are many who have been vaccinated, like Mr. Smith at Tusculum Baptist, but won’t use the pulpit to support it. He doesn’t want to risk alienating anyone, he explained, at a time when he hopes people will return to the church itself to worship.”

Read at The New York Times

Josh Duggar Arrest for Child Sexual Abuse Material Is Part of a Systemic Problem in Evangelicalism

posted on May 4, 2021

Chrissy Stroop of Religion Dispatches writes that evangelicals’ problematic views on sex and gender are again in the spotlight after Josh Duggar, the evangelical former reality TV star, was arrested on child pornography charges. Stroop links the allegations to the patriarchal structure ingrained in many evangelical communities. She writes, “This generates extreme anxiety about sex, sexuality, and gender roles that leads to unhealthy repression, and to the projection of those anxieties onto sexual and gender minorities, who are subjected to fierce persecution, often in the form of legislative assaults on our rights.”

Read at Religion Dispatches

In 2020, Religious Freedom Faced a New Foe: Covid-19

posted on April 27, 2021

Kelsey Dallas of Deseret News reports, “People of faith suffered in the past year as governments around the world used the Covid-19 pandemic to justify religious persecution, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which just released its 2021 annual report.” The commission, which monitors religious freedom violations around the globe, noted that minority groups were being scapegoated for the spread of the virus at an alarming rate. Of particular concern was the treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Eritrea, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and Christians in Iran.

Read at Deseret News