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Links on R&P from around the web

U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It.

posted on November 5, 2018

For The New York Times Magazine, Janet Reitman writes about the dichotomy between the Justice department’s intense focus on Islamic terrorists and its lack of action against the violent far-right white nationalist movement, which has grown in the past several years. Reitman writes, “In 2016, the latest full year of data available from the F.B.I., more than 6,100 hate-crime incidents were reported, 4,270 of them crimes against people (as opposed to, say, defacing property). And yet only 27 federal hate-crime defendants were prosecuted that year.” Reitman adds that the government has also refused to brand the attacks of the far-right as what they are: domestic terrorism.

Read at The New York Times Magazine

A Week After Pittsburgh Shooting, Hundreds #ShowUpForShabbat

posted on November 5, 2018

Religion News Service’s Yonat Shimron reports that Pittsburgh’s Beth Shalom Congregation held a community Shabbat service on Saturday to come together a week after 11 people died in a horrific shooting at the neighboring Tree of Life synagogue. The service was part of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) #ShowUpForShabat initiative, which aims to unite Jews across the country in the wake of the attack. Shimron writes, “After members from among Tree of Life’s three congregations took turns reading the Torah portion for the day, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, the rabbi of Tree of Life, stood up to give the sermon. He wanted to explain to a largely — but not exclusively — liberal Jewish community why he welcomed President Trump, who visited Pittsburgh along with First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday.”

Read at Religion News Service

“God Is Going to Have to Forgive Me”: Young Evangelicals Speak Out

posted on November 1, 2018

The New York Times’s Elizabeth Dias writes about responses she received from nearly 1,500 young evangelical readers, many of whom are questioning the connection between Republican politics and evangelicalism. “Many described a real struggle with an administration they see as hostile to immigrants, Muslims, L.G.B.T.Q. people, and the poor. They feel it reflects a loss of humanity, which conflicts with their spiritual call,” Dias writes. Curtis Yee, one of the young evangelicals featured, said, “I don’t think I diverge theologically from my parents in major ways, but while my family is quicker to blame ‘the liberals,’ I’m able to see that they aren’t evil, just people trying to do things in a different way.”

Read at The New York Times

The Jews of Pittsburgh Bury Their Dead

posted on November 1, 2018

The Atlantic’s Emma Green writes about the mourning and burial process of the 11 Jewish victims who were murdered in Pittsburgh during prayer services on Saturday. As part of Jewish tradition, volunteers from the community called shomrim are guarding the dead. Green writes, “This was something they knew how to do. At least for an hour, whether in the afternoon or in the middle of the night, they did not have to sit at home and cry, or helplessly watch the country dissect their community’s loss on the news. The structure was there; the tradition told them what to do. Wait with the body until it can be buried. Pray over the murdered souls.”

Read at The Atlantic

Jeff Sessions Speech Interrupted by Methodist, Baptist Clergy

posted on October 30, 2018

Religion News Service’s Jack Jenkins reports, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions was only moments into a speech on religious liberty Monday (Oct. 29) before he was interrupted by two ministers who called on him to ‘repent’ for his role in enforcing Trump administration policy.” Sessions was speaking to the conservative Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society when the Rev. Will Green, a United Methodist minister, recited parts of Matthew 25 and said, “Brother Jeff, as a fellow United Methodist, I call upon you to repent, to care for those in need, to remember that when you do not care for others, you are wounding the body of Christ.”

Read at Religion News Service

Trump Is the Glue that Binds the Far Right

posted on October 30, 2018

For The Atlantic, J.M. Berger writes that recent attacks across the country illustrate the radicalization of the far right, influenced by President Trump’s divisive rhetoric. Of the president, Berger writes, “His casual invocations of violence and consistent demonization of his political enemies have opened the floodgates of hate in communities where anger has long simmered.” Berger analyzed nearly 30,000 Twitter accounts that either self-identify as alt-right or follow someone who does. He adds, “Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim hate was endemic in the network, frequently paired with articles from anti-immigrant news sources, which ranked among the most tweeted and retweeted content.”

Read at The Atlantic

White Evangelicals Are the Sleeping Giant of the 2018 Midterms

posted on October 30, 2018

Vox’s Dylan Scott writes about continuing support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence among white evangelical Christians, who in the first two years of the administration have seen policy wins on issues like abortion, gender identity, religious freedom, and the Supreme Court. Scott writes, “The white evangelical community views the Trump era as a fundamental realignment of American politics, with the Christian right reasserting itself after eight years of Barack Obama.” He adds, referencing November’s upcoming elections, “They understand that if Republicans lose the House or, even worse, the House and Senate in the midterm elections, their agenda is at risk. ”

Read at Vox

The Lives Lost in the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

posted on October 29, 2018

For The Washington Post, Moriah Balingit, Kristine Phillips, Amy B Wang, Deanna Paul, Wesley Lowery, and Kellie B. Gormly profile the 11 congregants who died on Saturday in the shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. They write, “Those slain were Tree of Life’s beating heart, as much fixtures of this synagogue as the fading pews.” They add, “Rose Mallinger, 97, was said to have barely missed a service in decades, for years volunteering to prepare breakfast for her fellow congregants. Joyce Fienberg, 75, enthusiastically took turns as the front-door greeter. Irving Younger, 69, sat in the back and handed out prayer books to those sneaking in late.”

Read at The Washington Post

“You Are Safe Now”: Matthew Shepard Laid to Rest at National Cathedral

posted on October 29, 2018

NPR’s Tom Gjelten and Amita Kelly report, “Matthew Shepard, the young gay man brutally killed on a chilly night in Wyoming 20 years ago this month, was finally laid to rest at Washington National Cathedral on Friday. A reflective, music-filled service offered stark contrast to the anti-gay protests that marred his funeral two decades ago.” Shepard’s family requested that his ashes be buried at the cathedral because they were worried about grave desecration. The Rev. Gene Robinson, who was vilified after becoming the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church more than 10 years ago, helped lead the service. He said, addressing LGBTQ attendees, “Many of you have been hurt by your own religious communities, and I want to welcome you back.”

Read at NPR

Why Are Americans Still Uncomfortable with Atheism?

posted on October 29, 2018

For The New Yorker, Casey Cep writes about the intolerance against atheists throughout American history. The idea that atheism is un-American became more prominent during the Cold War. Cep writes, “It wasn’t politics or economics, some said, that distinguished America from its enemies – it was religiosity.” Two new books, Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic: Atheists in American Public Life and Seven Types of Atheism aim to explore atheism in American history and today. Philosopher John Gray, the author of Seven Types of Atheism, writes, “A godless world is as mysterious as one suffused with divinity, and the difference between the two may be less than you think.”

Read at The New Yorker