United States

Donald Trump

Trump Thanks Evangelical Supporters at Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference

June 16, 2017

Last week, as former FBI director James Comey sat for a highly-publicized testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Donald Trump was across the street delivering a speech to a group of over 1,000 evangelical Christians about his commitment to religious freedom.

The annual Faith and Freedom Coalition conference—headed by conservative activist Ralph Reed—convened for a weekend of Read more about Trump Thanks Evangelical Supporters at Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference

Donald Trump

Widespread Condemnation from Faith Groups After Trump Announces Paris Accord Withdrawal

June 9, 2017

On Thursday, June 1, Donald Trump announced his plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, a 2015 global accord designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The long-term goal of the agreement is to keep global warming from exceeding the “tipping point” of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

During his announcement speech, Trump said that the accord placed a disproportionate burden on the United States.

“The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris agreement. They went wild. They were so happy,” Trump Read more about Widespread Condemnation from Faith Groups After Trump Announces Paris Accord Withdrawal

Up-close shot of couple holding hands during wedding ceremony

Christie Strikes Child Marriage Bill, Cites Religious Freedom

May 18, 2017

Last week, New Jersey governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill banning child marriage without exception—a bill which would have been the first of its kind in the United States. Christie cited religious freedom as a key reason for his refusal to sign the bill.

Although the legal marriage age is 18 across the U.S., every state has options for underage youth to wed. In New Jersey, children 15 and under need judicial approval to marry, while children ages 16 and 17 need only a parent’s consent Read more about Christie Strikes Child Marriage Bill, Cites Religious Freedom

Protesters gather with signs at March for Science

At March for Science, Debate Over Anti-Evolutionists

April 27, 2017

Last Saturday, tens of thousands gathered in cities around the world to advocate for the value and ongoing necessity of science for human progress.

With the largest group congregating on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., March for Science protesters had a decidedly political aim: to speak out against “policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world.”

Protesters particularly targeted the current administration with criticism. Signs decried President Trump’s Read more about At March for Science, Debate Over Anti-Evolutionists

White man and black man talk at microphone

Survey Shows American Pastors Open to Preaching on Racial Reconciliation

April 20, 2017

According to a new survey conducted by evangelical research firm LifeWay, American Protestants support preaching on racial reconciliation but are hesitant to get involved in other work toward that goal.

The study, released at the end of March, surveyed 1,000 Protestant pastors about how their congregations are addressing issues of race. 90 percent of pastors agreed that their congregation would likely “welcome a sermon on racial reconciliation.” Despite anticipating Read more about Survey Shows American Pastors Open to Preaching on Racial Reconciliation

Neil Gorsuch

New Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch Will Weigh in on Key Religious Freedom Case

April 10, 2017

Last Friday, the Senate broke with voting convention to confirm Judge Neil M. Gorsuch as the 113th justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

49-year-old Gorsuch, a graduate of Columbia, Harvard, and Oxford universities, was nominated by President Donald Trump in January to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, which had been open since Scalia’s death in February 2016. Many anticipated a heated fight in the Senate over Gorsuch’s confirmation after Republican Senators performed what Sen. Patrick Leahy and others Read more about New Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch Will Weigh in on Key Religious Freedom Case

Sun rising at Bears Ears National Monument

Native Americans Organize as Sacred Utah Monument Hangs in Balance

March 12, 2017

Just over 2 months after its inception, a Utah national monument is in danger of having its status revoked.

In his last weeks of office, then-President Barack Obama designated 1.35 million acres of southwestern Utah as Bears Ears National Monument. The act was praised as an important recognition of the land’s spiritual significance for local Native American tribes. National monument status, the coalition of 5 tribes Read more about Native Americans Organize as Sacred Utah Monument Hangs in Balance

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.

The USCJ Read more about Conservative Jewish Assembly Votes to Allow Non-Jewish Synagogue Members

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.

“Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish-American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration against the Chesed Shel Read more about Muslim Americans Raise Funds for Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

Muslim and Jewish man shake hands and smile

Pew Reports Americans Warming Toward Most Religious Groups

February 21, 2017

Americans’ perception of religious groups has increased nearly across the board over the past two years, according to a Pew Research Center report published Wednesday.

The survey ran from January 9 to January 23 of this year. 4,248 adults were asked to rank a variety of religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100. Although the survey revealed notable differences in perception of religious groups across lines of race, religious identity, and Read more about Pew Reports Americans Warming Toward Most Religious Groups

A pastor delivers a talk

Trump Promises to “Destroy” Johnson Amendment

February 8, 2017

Last Thursday while attending his first National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump reiterated his intention to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, thereby allowing houses of worship to engage in political endorsements.

Trump’s promise to overturn restrictions on pulpit politicking was one of his most consistent talking points during his presidential campaign. While meeting with a group of conservative Christian leaders in June, Trump Read more about Trump Promises to “Destroy” Johnson Amendment

A boy scout in uniform posing for the camera

Boy Scouts of America to Allow Transgender Members

February 2, 2017

The Boy Scouts of America has officially opened its membership to transgender boys, the organization announced Monday.

Ending the former policy of accepting members on the basis of the sex listed on their birth certificate, Boy Scouts of America will now register members based on the gender identity listed on their application. In a statement, the group said that they decided the former policy was “no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and Read more about Boy Scouts of America to Allow Transgender Members

Child refugee

New Executive Action from Trump Targets Refugees, Muslim Immigrants

January 27, 2017

This Wednesday, several major news outlets received a draft of an upcoming executive order instituting a temporary ban on all refugees and on immigrants from some Muslim nations.

Many perceive the order as an amended version of the “Muslim ban” U.S. President Donald Trump proposed in 2015. Because the executive order includes exceptions for individuals who are “a minority religion” in their homeland, Read more about New Executive Action from Trump Targets Refugees, Muslim Immigrants

A line of women with their mouths covered with read tape reading "life"

Pro-Life Feminists Decry Women’s March’s Pro-Choice Platform

January 20, 2017

This Saturday, the Women’s March on Washington plans to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump and advocate for a variety of issues that affect. What started as a grassroots effort by four women has grown into a massive movement, replete with a number of celebrity speakers. Bus services in states across the country have sold out for Read more about Pro-Life Feminists Decry Women’s March’s Pro-Choice Platform

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.

In March, the United States Army determined that their standards—which allowed Read more about U.S. Army to Permit Religious Turbans, Beards, and Hijabs

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