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LifeWay Christian Resources to Close All Brick-and-Mortar Stores Amid Slumping Sales

posted on March 21, 2019

The Tennessean’s Jamie McGee reports, “LifeWay Christian Resources will close all of its 170 brick-and-mortar stores this year as store traffic and sales lag, the organization announced Wednesday.” The Southern Baptist publishing company’s retail stores sell faith-based products including Bibles, books, and Christian music. McGee writes, “The company plans to shift to a digital strategy as consumers increasingly rely on online shopping, a challenge that retailers face nationally. LifeWay resources, such as online Bible studies and worship plans, will be offered at LifeWay.com, through the LifeWay Customer Service Center and through its network of church partners.”

Read at The Tennessean

Trump and the GOP are Trying to Make “Jexodus” Happen, But Most Jews Still Vote Democratic

posted on March 19, 2019

The Washington Post’s Eli Rosenberg writes about a GOP campaign called “Jexodus,” named after the combination of “Jewish” and “exodus,” which is trying to build American Jewish support for the party and President Trump. Former Trump campaign staffer Elizabeth Pipko, the spokeswoman for the group, appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday to criticize Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar and claim that Jews are leaving the Democratic Party because of anti-Semitism. Rosenberg adds, “Polling data and experts interviewed by The Washington Post do not show a Jewish exodus from the Democratic Party in the Trump years.”

Read at The Washington Post

Anti-Muslim Hate Speech is Absolutely Relentless on Social Media Even as Platforms Crack Down on Other Extremist Groups

posted on March 19, 2019

Buzzfeed News’s Jane Lytvynenko writes that anti-Muslim content has been allowed to remain prevalent across social media platforms. She writes, “The Facebook algorithm, for example, recommends related groups that can point people to extremism. Even after the New Zealand attack, the company allowed groups with names like ‘War against Islam’ and ‘Bikers Against Radical Islam Europe’ to exist.” Megan Squire, an Elon University computer science professor who is tracking anti-Muslim groups on Facebook, said these groups “know that by using the social media platforms they can spread their message.”

Read at BuzzFeed News

Trump Loses Ground with White Catholics, Doubles Support from Non-White Catholics

posted on March 19, 2019

America’s Michael J. O’Loughlin writes, “A new report from the Pew Research Center finds that the president is losing support from white Catholics—and gaining ground with non-white Catholics.” The report published on Monday included a January survey that found 44 percent of white Catholics approve of President Trump’s job performance, compared to 26 percent of non-white Catholics. Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of research, said “the ‘most striking’ finding in the January survey was that Christians who attend religious services more often support Mr. Trump at higher rates than those who attend less frequently.”

Read at America Magazine

White Nationalism’s Deep American Roots

posted on March 19, 2019

The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer writes about Madison Grant, a prominent lawyer and early proponent of eugenics whose 1916 book called The Passing of the Great Race influenced both the American public and Nazi Germany. Serwer writes, “What is judged extremist today was once the consensus of a powerful cadre of the American elite, well-connected men who eagerly seized on a false doctrine of ‘race suicide’ during the immigration scare of the early 20th century.” Although U.S. forces eventually helped defeat Nazi Germany out of a commitment to democracy, Sewer writes, the excision of America’s influence on Nazi Germany has paved the way for some of Grant’s ideas to be resurrected. “Grant’s philosophical framework has found new life among extremists at home and abroad, and echoes of his rhetoric can be heard from the Republican base and the conservative media figures the base trusts, as well as—once again—in the highest reaches of government.”

Read at The Atlantic

#MAGA Church: The Doomsday Prophet Who Says the Bible Predicted Trump

posted on March 18, 2019

For The New York Times, Sam Kestenbaum profiles 59-year-old Pastor Jonathan Cahn of Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, N.J., who asserts that Donald Trump’s presidency was prophesied in the Bible. He is traveling to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat this weekend to address activists and advisers. After 9/11, Cahn, who was raised in a Jewish family in New York, began to explicitly link current events to mystical meaning. His latest book, The Paradigm, connects President Trump to the biblical warrior-king Jehu of Israel. Cahn said, “Trump is offering us a window for revival, a window to return to God.”

Read at The New York Times

Once Sanctuaries, Houses of Worship Struggle with Security

posted on March 18, 2019

The Associated Press’s Mike Householder, Rebecca Santana, and Kelli Kennedy report that houses of worship are struggling with security concerns in the wake of recent attacks. They write, “For many, houses of worship are sanctuaries where congregants bond with their shared sense of faith and community. The recent attacks have made some question whether houses of worship have turned into soft targets, losing some of their sense of sacredness.” After the attack on two mosques in New Zealand, a police officer stood guard outside the Islamic Center of Detroit, while several armed officers patrolled both the Muslim Community Center and the Downtown Islamic Center in Chicago.

Read at The Associated Press

Meet the Group Trying to Change Evangelical Minds About Israel

posted on March 18, 2019

For POLITICO Magazine, Adam Wren writes about Telos Group, “a D.C.-based nonprofit trying to change how a new generation of American leaders and evangelicals—historically a key pro-Israel bloc based on their reading of the Bible—see the geopolitical quagmire.” Since 2009, Telos has guided American leaders and evangelicals on trips to Israel. Wren writes that “the tour groups meet with people around sites on both sides of the conflict, including Jews, Christians, Muslims, settlers, refugees, security experts, business leaders and activists. They also meet with parents who have lost children to the conflict.”

Read at POLITICO

49 Killed at Mosques in “One of New Zealand’s Darkest Days”

posted on March 15, 2019

From Christchurch, New Zealand, the Associated Press’ Nick Perry and Mark Baker report, “At least 49 people were shot to death at two mosques during midday prayers Friday — most if not all of them gunned down by an immigrant-hating white supremacist who apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live video of the slaughter on Facebook.” Three suspects were taken into custody after what “was by far the deadliest shooting in modern New Zealand history.”

Read at Associated Press

Improper Voting Discovered at Methodist Vote on Gay Clergy

posted on March 15, 2019

The New York Times‘ Elizabeth Dias reports that there was improper voting at the United Methodist Church’s recent General Conference, which strengthened the denomination’s bans on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy. “But at least four ballots were cast by individuals who were not authorized to vote, according to interviews and a review of the church’s records,” Dias writes. She adds, “The final 54-vote margin against gay clergy and same-sex marriage exceeds the number of unauthorized votes discovered so far. But the voting irregularities raised questions about the process behind the divisive decision, which devastated progressive members.”

Read at The New York Times