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QAnon: The Alternative Religion That’s Coming to Your Church

posted on August 24, 2020

For Religion News Service, Katelyn Beaty examines how QAnon conspiracy theories are now infiltrating churches. She writes, “Named after ‘Q,’ who posts anonymously on the online bulletin board 4chan, QAnon alleges that President Donald Trump and military officials are working to expose a ‘deep state’ pedophile ring with links to Hollywood, the media and the Democratic Party.” Beaty speaks to pastors who have noticed an uptick in the number of their members posting about QAnon on social media. One nondenominational pastor conveyed that “in conversations with other members, he’s realized many more are open to conspiracy theories than those who post.”

Read at Religion News Service

Joe Biden’s Catholic Faith on Display at Democratic Convention’s Final Night

posted on August 21, 2020

America‘s Michael O’Loughlin reports that Joe Biden’s Catholic faith was highlighted during the last night of the Democratic National Convention. Sen. Chris Coons, who is a divinity school graduate and holds Biden’s former Senate seat, told the audience, “People, Joe believes, were made in the image of God. Joe learned that from his parents and the nuns and priests right here in Delaware, who taught him and inspired in him a passion for justice.” Two Catholic leaders, Sister Simone Campbell of the progressive group Network and Father James Martin of America, also prayed at the convention. O’Loughlin writes, “If Mr. Biden wins in November, he will be just the second Catholic elected president.”

Read at America Magazine

Kamala Harris Is More Than Her Gender and Race. She Is Also the Future of American Religion.

posted on August 13, 2020

Religion News Service’s Yonat Shimron reports that Kamala Harris’s religious background “embodies the future of American religion.” Harris, as the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, grew up practicing Christianity and Hinduism. She is now married to a Jewish man, and she identifies as a Black Baptist. Shimron writes, “In a time of expanding religious pluralism, the country’s younger generation, many of them children and grandchildren of immigrants, will recognize in Harris a kind of multifaith and spiritual belonging unfamiliar to the mostly white Christian majority of past decades.”

Read at Religion News Service

“Christianity Will Have Power”

posted on August 10, 2020

The New York Times‘ Elizabeth Dias travels to Sioux Center, Iowa, to report on white evangelicals’ allegiance to President Trump. During his 2016 campaign, Trump had also visited Sioux Center to speak at Dordt University, a Christian college, promising those who gathered that he would give white conservative Christians like them protection and power. “Evangelicals did not support Mr. Trump in spite of who he is,” Dias writes. “They supported him because of who he is, and because of who they are. He is their protector, the bully who is on their side, the one who offered safety amid their fears that their country as they know it, and their place in it, is changing, and changing quickly.”

Read at The New York Times

Jerry Falwell Jr. Takes Leave of Absence from Liberty

posted on August 7, 2020

Christianity Today‘s Kate Shellnutt reports, “Jerry Falwell Jr. has agreed to take an indefinite leave of absence from Liberty University, the evangelical school he has led since 2007 as president and chancellor.” Liberty’s board of trustees, which includes Falwell, announced the decision in a brief statement. Shellnutt writes, “The announcement did not indicate the reason for Falwell’s leave. However, this week, a wave of Liberty alumni and supporters spoke out against his leadership after a recent photo circulated of him posing with a woman at a party with their zippers down and midsections exposed.” Falwell has been one of President Trump’s most vocal evangelical supporters, and he has weathered other scandals at the institution in recent years.

Read at Christianity Today

“Never Trump” Republicans Team with Progressives to Convert the President’s Religious Base

posted on August 5, 2020

POLITICO’S Gabby Orr reports that the Never Trump Republicans behind the Lincoln Project are teaming up with the progressive organization Vote Common Good in hopes of mobilizing “faith voters to reject Trump on Election Day.” Orr writes, “The initiative will focus on courting white evangelicals and white Catholics—two demographics Trump won by significant margins in 2016—who have lost patience with the president’s behavior or been disappointed with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protest movement against racism.” Doug Pagitt, the progressive evangelical pastor who founded Vote Common Good, said, “I respect the fact that many people feel they’ve been conservatives or Republicans their whole lives … But for them to hear from the Lincoln Project, which is a bunch of Republicans saying they are going to vote for Joe Biden because of their faith, that can be powerful and convincing.”

Read at POLITICO

Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation

posted on July 30, 2020

For The New York Times, Rep. John Lewis wrote an opinion piece shortly before his death, and it was to be published on the day of his funeral. He writes to the people continuing his civil rights work. “That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington,” he writes, “though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.” He writes of listening to Martin Luther King’s call to nonviolent activism when he was a young person. He writes, “Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.”

Read at The New York Times

From 2 million to 1,000: Striking Photos Show Socially-Distanced Hajj

posted on July 30, 2020

CNN’s Tamara Qiblawi, Jomana Karadsheh and Mostafa Salem report, “Muslim worshipers observed the first rituals of an historic Hajj on Wednesday, with around 1,000 pilgrims adhering to ‘safety bubbles’ and social distancing measures over fears of the coronavirus.” Only selected Saudi Arabian nationals and residents between the ages of 20 and 50 could attend this year. Qiblawi, Karadsheh, and Salem write, “While the Hajj typically features large crowds crammed around Islam’s holiest shrine, this year’s annual pilgrimage has seen worshipers circumambulating the Kaaba along concentric circles marked on the ground. Several feet separated the mask-clad pilgrims who walked at a measured pace.”

Read at CNN

On Moodiness and Righteous Rage

posted on July 17, 2020

The Revealer‘s Kali Handelman interviews Karen Bray about her book, Grave Attending: A Political Theology of the Unredeemed, and “what it can teach us about today’s protests for racial justice.” Bray says that grave attending is “about paying attention and being accountable.” She says, “The shift in more people filling the streets in protest of these murders, and the growing popularity of defunding the police and of Black Lives Matter, is of course due to massive organizing efforts (primarily by BIPOC) over the last decade, but it is also about a shift in mood, one that took more people, particularly more white people, finally paying greater and graver attention.”

Read at The Revealer

Supreme Court Upholds Exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s Birth Control Mandate

posted on July 9, 2020

Deseret News’ Kelsey Dallas reports, “The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Trump administration’s broad exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, ensuring that most moral and religious objectors to birth control will not be required to cover it in employee health plans.” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion. Dallas writes, “The court’s four other more conservative justices joined Thomas’ opinion. Justice Elena Kagan wrote an opinion concurring in the judgement, which was joined by Justice Stephen Breyer.”

Read at Deseret News