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Louisiana Republicans Fight to Keep Unenforceable Anti-Sodomy Law

May 1, 2018

A new anti-bestiality bill has passed the Louisiana Senate despite pushback from 10 Republican members who fear the law would help overturn existing sodomy laws.

State Sen. J.P. Morrell, who proposed the bill, said the state’s current law—which bundles bestiality and sodomy together as illegal “crimes against nature”—is unenforceable and thus needs to be updated.

State laws prohibiting “crimes against nature” have historically...

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Christian Group Petitions Netflix to Cancel "13 Reasons Why" Series

April 18, 2018

As many anticipate a release date for the second season of hit Netflix drama “13 Reasons Why,” one conservative Christian organization is lobbying for Netflix to pull it from production altogether.

The American Family Association (AFA), founded in 1977, has stated goals of “restrain[ing] evil by exposing the world of darkness” and “motivat[ing] people to take a stand on cultural and moral issues” by sending out mobilizing emails, promoting boycotts, and lobbying. While the organization typically associates with...

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Kentucky House Bill Would Establish Statewide Day of Prayer for Students

March 20, 2018

The Kentucky House passed a bill Thursday that would establish a state-recognized “Day of Prayer” on the last Wednesday in September every year.

The bill, sponsored by Republican representative Regina Huff and four other Republicans, received overwhelming support by House members, passing 83-5. It will now move on to the Kentucky Senate.

Huff said that the bill was inspired by students in her district, who she said “want to know...

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Church Holds Commitment Ceremony With Assault-style Rifles

March 16, 2018

Just two weeks after a gunman killed 17 students, teachers, and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, worshipers gathered in Pennsylvania for an elaborate ceremony touting the same assault-style rifles used in the shooting.

According to leaders, the ceremony was intended to serve as a commitment ceremony for heterosexual couples. Participants donned wedding attire and carried rifles as emblems of their commitment to protecting themselves and their community. Several wore crowns made of bullets.

The ceremony was designed and...

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Students hold signs, "Thoughts and Prayers Don't Save Lives, Gun Reform Will"

After Deadly Florida Mass Shooting, Faith Groups Follow Students' Lead

February 24, 2018

In the days following one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, religious groups have mobilized to support a new swell of gun regulation activism. After a gunman killed 17 students, teachers, and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, students from the school have received unprecedented press attention as they have engaged with politicians, National Rifle Association representatives, and corporations in an effort...

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Trump at 2017 National Prayer Breakfast

Before National Prayer Breakfast, Muslims and Evangelicals Connect

February 18, 2018

Last week, the 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast rounded off a three-day event promoting interfaith communication and understanding.

Compared to the 2017 prayer breakfast, during which newly-inaugurated President Donald Trump sparked controversy by promising to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment and mocking fellow reality TV personality Arnold Schwarzenegger’s television ratings, some saw Trump’s 2018 speech as being comparatively “subdued.”

The president’s...

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Burns Strider

Clinton Kept 2008 Faith Adviser Despite Harassment Allegations

January 31, 2018

Hillary Clinton opted to keep on her senior faith adviser despite sexual harassment allegations during her 2008 presidential campaign, the New York Times reported late last week.

Burns Strider, a 52-year-old who has made a name for himself as a liaison between the Democratic Party and influential faith leaders, reportedly harassed a 30-year-old coworker with whom he shared an office. The New...

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Russell M. Nelson

LDS Church Announces New President

January 19, 2018

Two weeks after the death of leader Thomas S. Monson, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a new president.

93-year old Russell M. Nelson will take the helm as the 17th president of the Church, LDS leaders announced via live broadcast Tuesday. Nelson’s “setting apart” was no surprise—the LDS Church operates according to a fairly predictable hierarchy, and as first counselor to President Monson, Nelson was expected to take his place.

In a live broadcast...

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Roy Moore

Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Split Voter Base for Republican Roy Moore

November 21, 2017

Earlier this month, Republican nominee in Alabama for the U.S. Senate Roy Moore came under fire for allegations of sexual misconduct with minors as young as age 14 in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

On November 9, The Washington Post reported that, while working as a prosecutor in Alabama’s Etowah County, Moore allegedly propositioned...

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Counter-protester clergy link arms at Unite the Right rally

While Religious Groups Condemn Trump’s Charlottesville Comments, Evangelicals Remain Devoted

August 27, 2017

After a white supremacist rally resulted in the death of a counter-protester, President Donald Trump has been criticized from religious leaders of a variety of political leanings, but has largely retained the support of white evangelicals, who overwhelmingly voted for him in the 2016 election.

The Saturday, August 12 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia saw the coalescence of assorted white nationalist...

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LDS General Authority Excommunicated, First in Decades

August 11, 2017

A mid-level Mormon church official was removed from his post and excommunicated from the church Tuesday—the first excommunication of an LDS leader in almost three decades.

59-year-old James J. Hamula had served as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy—a body of leadership just below the church’s First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles—since 2008. This body of top officials, together called General Authorities, are the only leaders that work for the church full-time, leaving behind their former careers. Hamula had previously worked as a lawyer.

The...

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Trump’s Twitter Policymaking Jeopardizes Transgender Troops

July 28, 2017

On Wednesday, President Trump announced in a series of three tweets that the United States military will no longer allow transgender people to serve “in any capacity” on the grounds that transgender troops cause the military to “be burdened with tremendous medical costs and disruption.”

Transgender people have only been allowed to serve openly in the Armed Forces since last year, when the Obama administration...

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Supreme Court to Hear Case on Baker Refusing Same-Sex Couple

July 5, 2017

Last Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of a Colorado baker who holds that his refusal to make a same-sex wedding cake was not discrimination, but rather an expression of his freedom of speech.

The case centers around a 2012 encounter between baker Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, and couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig. Because same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado, Mullins and Craig were planning to marry in Massachusetts but to celebrate the union in Colorado. When they asked Phillips of Masterpiece...

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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...

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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...

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