The New York Times’ Matt Apuzzo, Katie Benner, and Sharon LaFraniere report that a woman was charged Monday and alleged to be a Russian operative seeking to influence American politics. They write, “At the behest of a senior Russian government official, the woman, Mariia Butina, made connections through the National Rifle Association, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast to try to steer the Republican Party toward more pro-Russia policies, court records show.” They continue, “Ms. Butina is the 26th Russian – and the first one arrested – to face charges related to interference in the presidential election.”
The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer reports that the climate of Jewish summer camps is changing in response to the #MeToo movement. The Foundation for Jewish Camp is launching a training program called the Shmira Initiative, which aims to prevent sexual harassment at overnight camps. “The trainings covered the spectrum, from laws regarding consent and notification to the ways that counselors should talk to teenage campers about healthy relationships,” Zauzmer writes.
The Atlantic’s Emma Green reports on the unity among evangelicals following the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. Some evangelical leaders have traveled down what Green terms a “conciliatory path,” applauding the newly conservative Supreme Court made possible by Trump’s election while still lamenting the church’s involvement in politics. “Ultimately, this is what evangelical disagreements in 2016 election were about: how Christians witness their faith in public life, and the longstanding, outsized role of politics in the evangelical world, largely driven by the old religious right,” Green writes.
The New York Times’ Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman report on Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, “the highest-ranking Catholic official in the United States to be removed for sexual abuse of a minor.” Goodstein and Otterman report on McCarrick’s alleged adult victims as well; two men have alleged McCarrick made sexual advances toward them when they were seminarians. Goodstein and Otterman write, “But while the church has made strides in dealing with sexual abuse of children, it has largely avoided a reckoning over sexual harassment and abuse suffered by adult seminarians and young priests at the hands of their superiors, including bishops.”
The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer reports on evangelical reactions following the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Many in the community see Kavanaugh as payoff for their strategic vote for Trump. Zauzmer writes, “For millions of evangelical Christians, President Trump’s announcement Monday night was the vision they held in their heads as they stepped into the polling booth almost two years ago: a Republican president, filling the Supreme Court with more conservative justices who might drastically curtail access to legal abortion and advance other conservative Christian priorities.”
Amy Coney Barrett Is Allegedly a Member of a Religious Group That’s Been Called a “Cult.” What Is It, Really?posted on July 6, 2018
Slate‘s Ruth Graham reports on potential Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney’s Barrett’s membership in the group People of Praise. “Amy Coney Barrett, now a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, became a heroic figure to some religious conservatives during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last fall,” Graham writes. “Sen. Dianne Feinstein challenged the Catholic law professor about her religious beliefs, sneering—it seemed to many—that ‘the dogma lives loudly within you.’” Graham interviews Craig Lent, the current leader of People of Praise. She writes, “Lent sounded bemused by the national scrutiny the group has attracted lately. ‘In a certain sense it’s not really about us, although I owe members a good account if somebody asks me what this group is about.’”
The Washington Post‘sRobert Costa and Josh Dawsey report that some social conservatives are critical about Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a frontrunner for the president’s Supreme Court nomination. They write, “Kavanaugh’s critics have pointed to a recent case involving a pregnant immigrant teenager in federal custody as reason to doubt his conservatism on the abortion front.” Though he voted against the teenager receiving abortion services, critics say he did not oppose abortion as strongly as another judge in the case. He has also been criticized on the right for decisions on healthcare and contraception access.
For The Forward, Susanna Heschel and Sarah Imhoff argue there is a lack of female representation in Jewish studies. Heschel and Imhoff urge publishers, foundations, and higher education institutions to move away from female tokenism and strive for greater gender parity. Heschel and Imhoff write, “Given the growing number of women entering academic life, for senior male scholars not to include younger female scholars in conferences and anthologies limits women’s career paths and will ultimately diminish the debates that make a field vibrant.”
Politico’s Eliana Johnson reports on Supreme Court Justice candidate Amy Coney Barrett. Some Democrats are concerned that her religious beliefs will affect her decision on Roe v. Wade. Meanwhile, Republicans argue for her appointment based on legal credentials, and as a political strategy. Johnson writes, “The argument from prominent conservatives is that if the court strikes down Roe v. Wade, something Democrats increasingly view as an inevitability, it should do so with a woman in the majority. And they say Barrett is the smart political play for the GOP.”
Catholic News Agency’s Christine Rousselle reports, “The retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has led pro-life advocates to voice hope that his successor could help overturn Roe v. Wade in coming years.” Kennedy, often a key swing vote on the Court, submitted his resignation letter to President Trump on Wednesday. Susan B. Anthony List President Majorie Dannefelser said, “The most important commitment that President Trump has made to the pro-life movement has been his promise to nominate only pro-life judges to the Supreme Court, a commitment he honored by swiftly nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch.”