United States

Man in kippah kisses cheek of woman in wedding dress

Conservative Jewish Assembly Votes to Allow Non-Jewish Synagogue Members

March 10, 2017

During a special meeting of its General Assembly on March 1, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) voted overwhelmingly to reverse their prohibition on granting membership to non-Jews.

The measure will have a sweeping impact on North American Conservative Jewish communities, 80 percent of which belong to the USCJ umbrella organization. Whereas synagogues were previously permitted only to allow non-Jews as guests, Conservative communities may now choose to endow non-Jewish attendees—often the non-Jewish spouse of a member—with full membership status.

Gravestone

Muslim Americans Raise Funds for Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

February 28, 2017

After over 150 gravestones were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri in mid-February, American Muslims have jumped to the Jewish community’s defense. In the wake of the vandalism, Muslim activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi set up a LaunchGood.com fundraiser to help the Chesed Shel Emeth Society restore the damaged gravestones.

Sikh U.S. Army captain wearing a camouflage turban

U.S. Army to Permit Religious Turbans, Beards, and Hijabs

January 15, 2017

The United States Army will now allow soldiers to wear turbans, hijabs, and other religious markers, according to a new policy issued last week.

The new uniform regulations come after years of petitions from Sikhs, whose religious beliefs mandate them to grow their hair long and keep their heads covered with a turban. Army grooming standards compelling men to be clean-shaven particularly restricted Sikh men from enlisting, because to do so would require them violate the precepts of their faith.

White congressman gesticulating

New Congress 91 Percent Christian Despite Shifts in American Religious Makeup

January 6, 2017

The United States Congress is about as Christian but more Catholic than it was 50 years ago, according to a recent Pew Research Center study.

In their “Faith on the Hill” report released Tuesday, Pew delves into the religious makeup of the 115th Congress, which took office the same day. Of the 535 members of Congress, 485—or 91 percent—self-identify as Christian. This percentage has barely shifted since 1961, when 95 percent of Congress identified as Christian.

Young girl holds American flag at pro-immigration rally

Post-Election, Churches Across Nation Declare Sanctuary Status

December 12, 2016

In the month since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, churches across the nation have joined an ecumenical movement to provide safe haven to immigrants.

The “sanctuary” movement is a wide-sweeping effort among universities, religious communities, and other sites that serve the public to provide refuge to those under threat of deportation. “Sanctuary” can take a variety of forms, from serving as a symbol of the congregation’s support of immigrants to offering physical shelter in cases of crisis.

Chick Tract

Fire-and-Brimstone Christian Cartoonist Jack Chick Dead at 92

October 31, 2016

Jack Chick, one of Christianity’s most famous and most polarizing cartoonists, died Sunday at age 92.

Chick gained notoriety in the mid-20th century for his prolific Christianity-themed comics, often called “Chick tracts.” The tracts were known for their fire and brimstone rhetoric, railing against cultural forces ranging from Dungeons and Dragons to Harry Potter to the Roman Catholic Church. Chick often depicted hell, Satan, and Satan’s earthly emissaries, followed by an entreaty to readers to reject the devil and seek God.

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