politics

Pope Francis

Vatican Death Penalty Ruling Challenges American Policies

August 14, 2018

In early August, the Vatican released a notice that Pope Francis has changed the catechism of the Catholic Church to reflect a zero-tolerance policy toward the death penalty.

Declaring capital punishment “inadmissible,” Pope Francis closed a loophole that other popes—many of whom also opposed the death penalty—left open for exceptional cases.

“Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding...

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Women2Drive movement art, featuring robed woman behind the wheel

In Latest Loosening of Cultural Restrictions, Saudi Arabia Licenses First Women to Drive

June 30, 2018

As the clock struck midnight in Saudi Arabia Sunday, thousands of women around the kingdom started their cars and embarked on their first legal drive in their own land.

“I’m speechless. I’m so excited it’s actually happening,” Hessah al-Ajajj told the Associated Press. Al-Ajajj said she planned to drive herself to work for the first time the following morning.

“Those days of waiting long hours for a driver are over,” 21-year-old pharmacy student Hatoun bin Dakhil told the BBC. “We no longer need a man...

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Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions

In Rare Bipartisan Outcry Against Migrant Family Separation, White Evangelicals Avoid Implicating Trump

June 24, 2018

Two months after the White House announced a new “zero-tolerance” policy for “illegal border crossings” on the Southwest Border, the Trump administration faced perhaps its most vociferous and bipartisan pushback yet. While the policy’s wording was vague, reports have indicated that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been charged with criminally detaining every person that arrives at the border—including asylum seekers, who have...

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Louisiana State Seal

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 been...

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Child prays

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 that we are...

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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 14-...

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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 ...

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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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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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Sri Lankan Muslim woman looks at camera in scorched building

Sri Lankan Authorities Arrest Policeman, Monk for Violence Against Muslims

June 22, 2017

After ongoing accusations of inaction, Sri Lankan authorities have arrested four Buddhists for promoting and perpetuating violence against Muslims.

For years, Muslim Sri Lankans—who make up nearly 10 percent of the country’s population—have been targeted in spates of religious violence. In 2014, a series of anti-Muslim riots on Muslim homes, shops, and places of worship displaced more than 10,000 people. More recently, Muslims in Sri Lanka have reported at least 16 incidents of hate crimes against Muslims since April 16.

...

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