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Lutheran School in Thousand Oaks Learns How to Grieve After Losing One of its Own

posted on November 12, 2018

For Religion News Service, Cathleen Falsani writes about Thursday’s prayer services at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California, held in memory of Justin Meek, a Cal Lutheran graduate who was killed in Wednesday’s mass shooting. The Rev. Scott Maxwell-Doherty, a university pastor, said, “Sisters and brothers, while our friends did not die separated from our love or the love of God, so we will not be separated from God while we grieve their deaths.” Meek’s mother, Susan Orfanos, told ABC7 News in Los Angeles on Thursday, “I hope to God no one sends me any more prayers. I want gun control.”

Read at Religion News Service

How a Group of Arab American Women Powered One of Tuesday’s Biggest Upsets

posted on November 12, 2018

Mother Jones’s Tim Murphy writes about get-out-the-vote efforts in New York led by Arab American women, which helped two Democratic candidates, Max Rose and Andrew Gounardes, win seats from Republican incumbents in Congress and the state Senate respectively. Somia El-Rowmeim, a Muslim American, led phone banking and canvassing campaigns to mobilize Arab American voters in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, whose Muslim community was the target of a decade-long NYPD surveillance program after 9/11. Murphy adds, “That effort was born out of a new sense of urgency in a community that has been devastated by the Trump administration’s travel ban and a rise in Islamophobia.”

Read at Mother Jones

“We Are Armed Now”: In Kentucky, Shootings Leave a Black Church and the White Community Around it Shaken

posted on November 12, 2018

The Washington Post’s DeNeen L. Brown writes about the community response to an October 24 shooting in a Jeffersontown, Kentucky, Kroger supermarket, which left two African American shoppers dead. On Sunday, congregants prayed at First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown, a historically black church that the shooter attempted to enter before going to the Kroger. In the wake of the recent violence, First Baptist administrator Billy Williams asked congregants who can legally carry weapons to bring their guns inside for protection during Bible study and church services.

Read at The Washington Post

As Christians Split Over Trump, Minority Faiths Make Their Mark

posted on November 8, 2018

Religion News Service’s Jack Jenkins and Yonat Shimron write about the religious diversity of politicians elected in the midterm elections. Democrats Rashida Tlaib from Michigan and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota became the first Muslim women elected to Congress; Jewish American candidates won 31 seats in Congress; and eight “openly non-religious” candidates won seats in state assemblies. Despite continuing support of the Republican Party among white evangelicals, they add, “Catholics as a whole appear to have flipped in favor of Democrats this election, with 50 percent backing the resurgent party and 49 percent backing the GOP.”

Read at Religion News Service

Trump’s Evangelical Allies Really Didn’t Like Jeff Sessions

posted on November 8, 2018

The Atlantic’s Emma Green writes, “American Christian leaders did not like former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who resigned the day after the midterm elections at the president’s request.” Some opposition against Sessions, a conservative Christian himself, came from members of President Trump’s informal evangelical advisory council like Jerry Falwell Jr., who disapproved of Sessions largely because he recused himself from the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference. Green adds, “Sessions invoked the ire of a number of pastors, progressive and conservative alike, when he quoted the Bible to justify his department’s policy of separating families and children at the border.”

Read at The Atlantic

White Evangelicals Turned Out for the GOP in Big Numbers Again

posted on November 8, 2018

Vox’s Dylan Scott reports that white evangelical Christians turned out in high numbers in Tuesday’s midterm elections, voting overwhelmingly for Republican candidates. Scott writes that white conservative evangelical support comes in the wake of policy wins for the demographic under the Trump administration on abortion, gender identity, religious freedom, and the Supreme Court. He adds, “It is one of the great paradoxes of American politics in 2018 that white evangelicals have convinced themselves that Trump, whatever his personal history, is a man of good and upright character. But his administration’s actual record on some of their core issues, the project of Mike Pence, helps explain any apparent contradiction.”

Read at Vox

Here’s How Abortion Rights Played Out in Midterm Elections Across the Country

posted on November 8, 2018

The Washington Post’s Samantha Schmidt and Michelle Boorstein write about the impact of Tuesday’s midterm elections on abortion rights in the United States. They write, “Antiabortion advocates gained clear legislative victories in Alabama and West Virginia, where voters passed constitutional amendments paving the way to ban abortion if the new conservative consensus on the Supreme Court overturns the landmark 1973 ruling that outlawed restrictions on the procedure before the fetus is viable.” They add, “Abortion rights advocates say there is evidence this year that religious conservatives are treating the topic of abortion a little more critically in deciding how to vote.”

Read at The Washington Post

Muslims Hope to “Wake Up” at the Ballot Box This Year

posted on November 6, 2018

NPR’s Leila Fadel writes about get-out-the-vote efforts among mostly Democratic Muslim Americans in an election year with an unusually high prevalence of both Muslim candidates and Islamophobic rhetoric. Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who is expected to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, said, “For me as an immigrant who didn’t speak the language, when I would have struggles as a kid my dad would say ‘once you are able to communicate with people, they’re able to connect with you beyond your otherness.’ That is really the message I’ve carried throughout my life.”

Read at NPR

Faith Groups Mount Election Turnout Efforts that Could Help Both Parties

posted on November 6, 2018

Religion News Service’s Jack Jenkins reports, “Waves of religious groups are mustering passionate get-out-the-vote efforts in the final hours before the heated midterm elections, with clergy pushing the faithful to the polls in ways that stand to aid both Republicans and Democrats.” Faith-based organizations like the conservative Christian Faith and Freedom Coalition and left-leaning Faith in Action group are participating in an unusually robust degree of political activism this election year. Jenkins adds, “The shifting partisan divisions in these midterms have caused progressives to court faith constituencies along the margins of the Republican base that may be uncomfortable with President Trump’s personal morality or his perceived treatment of vulnerable populations.”

Read at Religion News Service

Duncan Hunter Is Running the Most Anti-Muslim Campaign in the Country

posted on November 5, 2018

The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins writes about California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter’s campaign this election cycle, which has relied on anti-Muslim rhetoric in the wake of an indictment against the congressman for the misuse of campaign funds. Coppins writes, “In the final weeks of the election, Hunter has aired ominous ads warning that his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is ‘working to infiltrate Congress’ with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Coppins adds, “A recent report by Muslim Advocates, an Oakland, California-based civil-rights group, named 80 office-seekers in federal, state, and local races across the country this year who have expressed anti-Muslim sentiments.”

Read at The Atlantic