United States

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 killed 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...

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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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Empty LDS conference center

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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Gay vet supporting trans rights

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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Same-sex wedding cake topper

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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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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