Posted by the Web Editors 3 days 22 hours ago
1. How Yemen Became the Middle East’s Latest Regional NightmareAs Saudi Arabia and Egypt say they’re prepared to send in ground troops, here’s a look at how Yemen got to this point.2. God and Jeb“[Jeb] Bush wants Christian conservatives to pay attention to what he's done, not just to what he says. But in a Republican presidential primary, can actions — much less actions more than a decade in the past — actually speak louder than words? Can quiet faith, and quiet support from some religious leaders, carry the day against a field full of outspoken Christian warriors?”3. A Response to Critics of the Open Letter to Franklin Graham“Jesus says ‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.’ Jesus does not say, ‘If another member of the church sins against millions, and hundreds of thousands begin to follow his lead on the issue, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.’”4. Women & Leadership: Public Says Women Are Equally Qualified, but Barriers ExistAnd it might not be the barriers you would think. “Only about one-in-five say women’s family responsibilities are a major reason there aren’t more females in top leadership positions in business and politics. Instead, topping the list of reasons, about four-in-ten Americans point to a double standard for women seeking to climb to the highest levels of either politics or business, where they have to do more than their male counterparts to prove themselves. Similar shares say the electorate and corporate America are just not ready to put more women in top leadership positions.”
Posted by the Web Editors 1 week 4 days ago
1. An Open Letter to Franklin Graham"Within one day, tens of thousands of [Graham’s] faithful followers liked and shared his short, patronizing post that called ‘Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else’ to ‘Listen up’ and tune in to his take on why so many black people have died at the hands of police officers recently. According to Graham, the problem is “simple.” It can be reduced to their lack of obedience and bad parenting. … Thankfully, we have a response: We invite you to join with us in signing on to an open letter to Rev. Graham calling him back to the Gospel's ministry of reconciliation. Sign on now." 2. PHOTOS: The First Day of Spring and a Total Lunar EclipseSpace.com offers this gallery of images from this early morning’s lunar eclipse (not visible from the United States). In addition to coinciding with the vernal equinox — kicking off Spring, as snow fell across the Northeast — the eclipse also overlapped with the supermoon. ...And astronomers across the world geeked out. 3. Ashley Judd Pressing Charges Against Misogynist Internet Trolls“Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for what they write, and [for] not allowing this misinterpretation and shaming culture on social media to persist,” Judd said. “And by the way, I’m pressing charges.”4. This Is What Life in Syria Is Like After Four Years of WarAccording to the U.N., 200,000 people have been killed. More than half of the country’s 21 million residents have fled their homes. Life expectancy has fallen by 20 years. It has becomes the world’s deadliest country for reporters. BuzzFeed interviews three Syrians to get a feel for life in the war-torn country.5. Gay and MennoniteFrom The Atlantic: “Mennonites are wrestling with the same questions faced by other churches across the country, made all the more complicated by their heritage: How should the faithful balance tradition and modern life? How should scripture inform people's understandings of same-sex relationships? And when members of a denomination disagree, how should they find their way forward?”6. Pentagon Loses Track of $500 Million in Weapons, Equipment Given to Yemen“In recent weeks, members of Congress have held closed-door meetings with U.S. military officials to press for an accounting of the arms and equipment. Pentagon officials have said that they have little information to go on and that there is little they can do at this point to prevent the weapons and gear from falling into the wrong hands.”7. You May Be a ‘Poser’ Christian and Not Even Know ItAccording to Jarrid Wilson, author of Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity, cosmetic Christianity is an epidemic. Jonathan Merritt interviews the author to find out more.8. U.N. Workers Accused in Nearly 80 Cases of Sexual Assault in 2014“United Nations personnel were accused in nearly 80 cases of rape, sexual assault and sex trafficking in 2014 alone, with the bulk of the cases involving peacekeepers deployed to some of the most troubled parts of the world.”9. Where My Ladies At? Gender Avenger Tracks Inequality at SXSW and BeyondWondering whether your favorite conference or event has its equal share of men and women at the podium? There’s an app for that. The Gender Avenger Tally (soon available on mobile) lets people calculate via event hashtag the levels of gender representation. 10. Happy Spring! Read Walt Whitman’s ‘The First Dandelion’Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close emerging,As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,Forth from its sunny nook of shelter’d grass — innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,The spring’s first dandelion shows its trustful face.
Posted by the Web Editors 1 week 6 days ago
The Presbyterian Church (USA) approved an amendment to include same-sex relationships in its constitutional definition of marriage on March 17. A majority of the denomination’s 171 presbyteries have now voted to accept the new wording, which replaces “between a woman and a man” with “between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”Although 71 percent of the leaders in the General Assembly, the governing body of the PCUSA, voted to approve same-sex marriage in June, the denomination was waiting for a majority of its local presbyteries to accept the change. That number, 86, was reached on March 17.
Posted by the Web Editors 2 weeks 3 days ago
1. SAE, White Thugs, and American Traditions"I am neither angry nor surprised by these white extremists getting caught doing what white extremists do. This is American tradition. These are the words embedded in the psyches of these white fraternity brothers before they can even speak."2. This Is What A Little Over A Year Of Religious Women Breaking Down Barriers Looks LikeIn honor of Women’s History Month, check out who made this list of top religious women upholding full gender equality.3. Resisting ISIS“The global response must be multifaceted. Still, as the international anti-ISIS coalition led by the United States considers nonmilitary options to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS, it should focus on empowering local civil society in Syria and Iraq with targeted resources, technologies, and knowledge to build resilience and deny ISIS the moral and material support it needs to wield effective control.”4. The Conservative Obsession with Moral Values Doesn’t Explain the Plight of the Working Poor“Research on both sides of the aisle has confirmed a quiet crisis in American life: over the last few decades, the social fabric of the poor and working class has come apart at the seams. ...A vocal cadre of conservatives have cohered around a theory of what happened: the post-1960s turn away from traditional moral values. But like any theory, it must fit the available data and it must be internally consistent. This one fails on both counts.”5. How a Woman Learns to Talk“These things have been silenced: the tremendous spiritual power of sexuality, menstruation, breastfeeding, and birth; the shame-map of internalized emotional violence that holds these powers in check; the capacity — and obligation — of Gospel love to dissolve the boundaries of gender. ...To tell these things has been imund, forbidden. If you tell these things, you may be held responsible for all the feelings of all the people who are shaken in their boots by what you say.”6. Becoming Jihadi John: How Did Mohammed Emwazi Go from Mild Youth to Islamic State Executioner?Politico magazine traces the roots of the British man’s transformation to ISIS executioner, examining the difference between ideology-based and poverty-driven extremism. 7. Nicaragua's Renewable Energy Revolution Picks Up Steam“Renewables now generate nearly half of Nicaragua's electricity, a figure that government officials predict could rise to 80 percent within a few years. That compares to just 13 percent in the United States.”8. How We’re Failing SyriaTwenty-one aid organizations released a report this week detailing the increasing violence, impoverishment, and despair of the Syrian people. It cites, “Huge increases in the number of people in need of humanitarian aid inside Syria; 1.33 million more children are in need and there has been a 31 percent increase among the population as a whole.”9. Disturbing Fast Food Truth Not Exactly A Game-Changer For Impoverished Single Mom Of 3The Onion’s satire nails the complicated tensions of food and poverty in the U.S. 10. WATCH: Mean Tweets: Obama EditionPresident Obama joined in on a Jimmy Kimmel classic bit on Thursday, reading aloud a handful of “mean tweets” aimed at him.
Posted by the Web Editors 2 weeks 5 days ago
Early Thursday morning, just hours after the resignation of Ferguson police Chief Thomas Jackson, two officers were shot as they stood guard amidst protests outside the police department in Ferguson, Mo. One officer, a 41-year old from the St. Louis County Police Department, was struck in the shoulder. The other, a 32-year old from nearby Webster Groves Police Department, was hit in the face. Both officers were reported to be in serious, but non-life threatening condition.As local authorities search for the unidentified shooters, protesters and police have begun to speculate about causes and responsibility.
Posted by the Web Editors 3 weeks 4 days ago
1. The Feds v. FergusonThe Justice Department’s final report listed findings from investigating the Ferguson Police Department. Charles M. Blow breaks down the report, including the facts that “African Americans are more than twice as likely as white drivers to be searched during vehicle stops” and FPD officers “frequently take actions that ratchet up tensions and needlessly escalate the situation to the point that they feel force is necessary.” From Blow: “The report read like one about a shakedown gang rather than about city officials.”2. Female Company President: ‘I’m Sorry to All the Mothers I Worked With’PowerToFly President Katharine Zaleski offers up a list of all of the “infractions” she committed against mothers in the workplace — that is, until she had her own child. “There are so many ways we can support each other as women, but it starts with the just recognizing that we’re all in different positions at different times in our lives.”3. Justice Dept. Will Not Charge Darren Wilson in Death of Michael Brown; Brown’s Parents to File Civil Suit“They will sue the city of Ferguson and the Ferguson policeman who fatally shot their son, Darren Wilson. That news comes one day after the U.S. Justice Department released a report … [which] concluded that it was reasonable for Officer Wilson to be afraid of Brown in their encounter last summer, and thus the officer cannot be prosecuted for killing the unarmed 18-year-old.”4. Fewer Women Run Big Companies Than Men Named JohnNew York Times’ The Upshot created what they call a “Glass Ceiling Index” based on a recent Ernst & Young report. As clear in the headline, the results are … depressing.
Posted by the Web Editors 3 weeks 5 days ago
Lent comes for us all. Well, for some of us, anyway. What's your Lenten personality? Find out with our quiz! (Answers do not guarantee salvation.)
Cloudy Drugs and 'An Abundance of Caution' Delay Atlanta Woman's Execution as Tens of Thousands Protest
Posted by the Web Editors 4 weeks 16 hours ago
An Atlanta woman’s scheduled execution was given an 11th-hour delay yet again — this time by the Department of Corrections late Monday evening.Kelly Gissendaner, convicted in 1998 of conspiring to and abetting in murder of her then-husband, Doug, faced execution at 7 p.m. EST on Monday. Her original execution — scheduled for the evening of Feb. 25 — was delayed due to weather. After several appeals for clemency were denied by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Georgia Supreme Court, Gissendaner’s lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court to hear her appeal and to issue a stay in the meantime.Though there has yet been no word from the Supreme Court, the request for delay was honored — at least in part. According to CNN, the execution is on hold due to the cloudy appearence of the drugs prepared for the execution.
Posted by the Web Editors 4 weeks 4 days ago
1. PHOTOS: Painter Immortalized Last Meals of 600 Prisoners Put to DeathArtist Julie Green collects information published in death-row inmates’ death notices about their last moments. She then puts cobalt blue paint to porcelain plates to illustrate their final meals — from pizza and birthday cake to Jolly Ranchers. Her goal: “to continue paining fifty plates a year until capital punishment is abolished.”2. Net Neutrality Victory Is Civil Rights History in the Making“Today’s civil rights activists have a much more powerful tool at our disposal – the open Internet. Our ability to be heard, counted, and visible in this democracy now depends on an open Internet, because it allows voices and ideas to spread based on their quality – not the amount of money behind them.”3. WATCH: It Turns Out Lighting Affects ColorAnd lots of other things, actually. If you’re still hashing it out with your roommates or spouse about the color of #TheDress, here’s science (and music!) to the rescue. (Team #whiteandgold!) Also, if you need more science, you can always ask Science Mike, who offers this great video explainer.4. Activists Warn of End of Christian Presence in Middle EastFollowing ISIS’ kidnapping of at least 90 Assyrian Christians in an attack on about 35 mostly Assyrian settlements, groups in the region warn that we may be witnessing the end of Christian presence in the region: “After the Iraq war of 2003, and since the Syrian crisis began, the persecution unleashed on them – including extortion, kidnappings, murder, the ethnic cleansing of entire swaths of Baghdad, the Nineveh plains, and now much of north-east Syria, has been so vast that their very existence in their ancestral homelands is in grave peril.”5. In 23 States, the Largest Religious Group Is Now ‘Unaffiliated’This, according to Public Religion Research Institute’s just-released American Values Atlas, which breaks down various religious and political demographics. Find out the largest religious group in your state at the link!6. WATCH: Jim Inhofe’s Snowball Has Disproven Climate Change Once and For AllThat one time a United States senator — the one who also happens to be the chairman of the environment committee — threw a snowball while on the floor to dispute climate change. Because snow. 7. An Anti-ISIS Summit in Mecca“Whether ISIS’s deeds are labeled ‘violent extremism’ or ‘Islamized terrorism,’ the conversations in Washington and Mecca had at least one thing in common: They deepened the debate over whether ISIS and its fellow travelers are ‘Islamic,’ and whether the answer matters in the first place. That debate is not just academic. It has real consequences for how the Islamic State’s opponents mount their counteroffensive.”8. VIDEO: Banksy Goes Undercover in Gaza, Releases MIni-DocumentaryThe unidentified street artist Banksy has re-emerged in Gaza to create a political mini-documentary about life inside the war-torn region.9. Why We Must Change How We Change the WorldWorld Relief President and CEO Stephan Bauman’s new book Possible: A Blueprint for Changing How We Change the World is now out. In this piece, he lays out why he is hopeful about the future of efforts to address injustice: “We are caught in a vicious cycle, a dangerous dynamic that shapes our views about the people who experience suffering. As a result, those trapped in poverty are dehumanized and poverty is dumbed down while good, well-intended people really believe they are caring, world-conscious, and ethical. But change is coming.” 10. 10 Things Catholics Are Tired of HearingWhy do you worship statues? Why do you pray to Mary instead of God? And more confusion in the Protestant understanding of Catholicism. Handy to bookmark for the next inevitable conversation about the purpose of confession or the Apocrypha.
Posted by the Web Editors 5 weeks 3 days ago
1. Because Extreme Cold Always Brings Climate Deniers Out of the Woodwork … Bill Nye, yep, the Science Guy, offers the media this helpful prompting: “‘Let’s not confuse or interchange climate change with global warming,’ noting that when the climate changes, ‘some places get colder.’”2. After the Copenhagen Synagogue Shooting, This Muslim Community Is Responding in the Best Way Possible “Islam is about protecting our brothers and sisters, regardless of which religion they belong to. Islam is about rising above hate and never sinking to the same level as the haters. Islam is about defending each other. Muslims want to show that we deeply deplore all types of hatred of Jews, and that we are there to support them.”3. Afghan Civilian Deaths Hit Record High2014 was the deadliest year on record for civilians in Afghanistan, according to the U.N. Total civilian casualties jumped 22 percent from 2013.4. Ash Wednesday: To Be Seen“… revelation does happen and ... we see. We see that we have always been seen by God. God holds us and beholds us even when it can be so hard for us to hold and behold God.”
Posted by the Web Editors 5 weeks 5 days ago
Alongside professional development and communal living, Sojourners’ internship program prioritizes spiritual formation through educational seminars, spiritual retreats, and mentorship pairings. Seminar topics focus on the intersection between faith and justice, and this year have included politics as vocation, simple living, reflecting on MLK, and discerning spiritual gifts.Three spiritual retreats over the course of the year emphasize a time of rest, reflection, and service. Along with other communal living commitments, interns hold a weekly time of prayer to pray for their house, the neighborhood, and the world.
Posted by the Web Editors 6 weeks 4 days ago
1. How David Carr Described His Messy Relationship with Faith“I am a man who swears frequently, goes to church every Sunday, and lives in search of faith.” New York Times media columnist David Carr died Thursday after collapsing in the newsroom. He was 58.2. Friends of the Chapel Hill Shooting Victims Share Their MemoriesIn the aftermath of the shooting deaths of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, N.C., Coming of Faith compiled stories from friends of the victims. And view a collection of moving images from the Wednesday evening vigils that brought together three rival colleges and an entire community.3. AUDIO: 'Hello, My Name is Yusor Abu-Salha'“Growing up in America has been such a blessing. … I feel so embedded in the fabric that is our culture. And here, we’re all one.” In May 2014, one of the victims of Tuesday’s Chapel Hill shooting recorded a StoryCorps interview with her 3rd grade teacher. Here are clips from that interview and her teacher’s reflection on Yusor’s death.4. U.S. Slams Sudan for Blocking Darfur Mass Rape Investigation“Speaking at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power referred to a new report by New York-based Human Rights Watch, which accused Sudanese soldiers of raping at least 221 women and girls in the village of Tabit over the course of three days. … ‘To this day, the government of Sudan has shamefully denied the U.N. the ability to properly investigate this incident,’ Power told the 15-nation council.”5. WATCH: Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk AboutIn case you’re not one of the 20+ million people who have already watched this clip, check out President Obama’s BuzzFeed video debut. … You know you have trouble pronouncing February too.
Posted by the Web Editors 6 weeks 6 days ago
On Tuesday, the U.S. government confirmed that 26-year-old Kayla Mueller, a captive of ISIS since August 2013, has died.While circumstances of her death remain unclear, details of the young woman's life and work — most recently helping refugees in Aleppo, Syria — have emerged in the last 24 hours, as family, friends, and members of her community share memories and anecdotes of her compassion and big heart for those in need.The Washington Post reports: The Rev. Kathleen Day, who headed a campus ministry that Mueller joined at Northern Arizona University, recalled that she wrote in a letter from captivity that she tried to teach crafts to her guards, including how to make origami peace cranes.“We just delight in that,” Day said, “that Kayla remained Kayla. She said she found freedom even in captivity.”The Post also shared a letter written by Mueller to her family while in captivity. In it Mueller expresses her experience of faith: "I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. ...I have been shown in darkness,light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free."Mueller's family on Tuesday referenced another letter in which Mueller had written of her faith, this time to her father in 2011. According to the family, Mueller wrote: "I find God in the suffering eyes reflected in mine. ...I will always seek God. Some people find God in church. Some people find God in nature. Some people find God in love; I find God in suffering. I've known for some time what my life's work is, using my hands as tools to relieve suffering."In their statement, Mueller's family said,"We remain heartbroken, also, for the families of the other captives who did not make it home safely and who remain in our thoughts and prayers. We pray for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria."The family has reportedly requested that expressions of sympathy be made to causes that Kayla would have supported. KPHO reports that additional information will be made available in the coming week.Read more from The Washington Post.
Posted by the Web Editors 7 weeks 4 days ago
1. MLK's Mother Was Assassinated, Too: The Forgotten Women Of Black History Month"Historical omission points toward a culture’s subconscious beliefs that some people matter less than others. When female stories are muted, we are teaching our kids that their dignity is second class and the historical accounts of their lives is less relevant."2. LABOR PAINS: More Women Than Ever Are Having Babies at the Peak of Their Careers. When Will We Stop Punishing Them for It? "For the majority of new parents, whose penniless postpartum months (or weeks, or days, or whatever they can afford to take without pay, which is often nothing) are simply the result of the way things are in a country that venerates motherhood but in practice accords it zero economic value, the situation … makes parenting a privileged pursuit, takes women out of the workforce, and ultimately affirms public and professional life as being built for men."3. WATCH: From Prison to the PulpitRev. Darren Ferguson shares the story of his journey from an inmate at Sing Sing witnessing first-hand the effects of our broken criminal justice system to preaching from the pulpit. In this powerful video, he gives the viewer a glimpse into the realities of the system — and issues a challenge to the church.4. Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Is to Publish a Second NovelWith longstanding fame as a classic tale of racial and social injustice, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is the lone work of author Harper Lee. Lee, 88, now reveals she wrote a sequel to the classroom favorite. The book, 'Go Set a Watchman' features a now-adult Scout visiting her aging father, Atticus.5. No Worship Services in Public Schools, De Blasio Tells Supreme CourtIn NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2013 campaign, the candidate opposed a city policy that prohibited churches from renting public schools for services. "In response, religious voters helped de Blasio trounce his opposition with 73 percent of the vote. But after de Blasio took office in January 2014, he didn’t make the change, even though it could be done executively." This month de Blasio went a step further by filing a court petition in support of the city’s policy.6. A Republican Against Prisons"One of the most potent arguments against mass incarceration, for conservatives, is that if you believe in limited government and are against dependence on the state, and you look at our criminal-justice system, you’re just not going to be very impressed by it. We have about one out of every hundred adults in this country under total state control. Think about that."7. Islamic State Selling, Crucifying, Burying Children Alive in Iraq — UNThere is seemingly no end to the brutality perpetrated by ISIS. But this latest report details how the group is trafficking children — from Yazidi and Christian, but also Sunni and Shi’ite communities.8. The Evolution of the Word ‘Slut’ and the Problems with Reclaiming ItAn informative Q&A with Leora Tanenbaum, author of the recently released ‘I Am Not a Slut: Slut Shaming and the Age of the Internet.’ Tanenbaum takes on online harassers, the difference between ‘slut-bashing’ and ‘slut-shaming,’ and the implications of racial privilege in the conversation.9. Croatia Just Canceled the Debts of its Poorest Citizens"Although the program is expected to cost between 210 million and 2.1 billion Croatian kuna ($31 million and $300 million), according to conflicting reports by Austrian press agencyAPA and Reuters, the Croatian government expects economic long-term benefits that will outweigh the short-term investment."10. Why There's So Much Riding on ‘Fresh Off the Boat’As one AsAm FB friend put it, "I cannot believe I just watched an AsAm family on network TV. I also can't believe how long it took to happen."
Posted by the Web Editors 7 weeks 5 days ago
At Sojourners, our interns have the chance to meaningfully put their faith into action for social justice. Placed in entry-level positions throughout the office, interns are given significant responsibilities that range from writing for the blog to managing relationships with donors to collaborating on mobilizing initiatives.These full-time jobs are combined with mentorships that help connect each intern’s professional development with their vocational discernment.If you’re interested in what brought this year’s interns to Sojourners, click here. If you’d like to see their bios, click here.And for complete information on the program and application, visit sojo.net/about-us/internships. Apply by March 1, 2015!
Posted by the Web Editors 8 weeks 2 hours ago
Are you looking for a chance to explore your vocational calling and expand your ideas of spirituality, justice, and community, all while serving the mission of Sojourners? Apply for our 2015-2016 internship program!This yearlong fellowship combines full-time jobs and vocational mentorship in our nonprofit office with an opportunity to live in intentional Christian community. The program is open to anyone 21 years or older who is single or married without dependents.Go behind on the scenes on what it's like to live in community in this video, part of a series on life as a Sojourners intern. Sharing a house in Washington D.C., interns worship, share meals, manage a common budget, pray together, and hold weekly educational seminars.
Posted by the Web Editors 9 weeks 4 days ago
1. PHOTOS: Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. This beautiful photo essay chronicles Dr. King’s public life. 2. The Secret to Smart Groups: It’s Women“A fleet of MIT studies finds that women are much better at knowing what their colleagues are really thinking. It's another reason to expect the gender wage gap to eventually flip.”3. ICYMI: Jim Wallis and Sojourners Divesting from Fossil Fuels“Our mission is to help people put their faith into action for social justice. We would lack credibility by following any other path, and this reminds us that repentance is not just an individual decision. The church and other religious institutions — colleges, charities and other faith-based organizations — have an opportunity to put practical action behind our proclamation of God’s intentions for the restoration of creation.”4. I’m Tired of Suppressing Myself to Get Along With White People“I was tired of catering to everyone else’s comforts. How much of my day-to-day experiences as a black woman do I have to filter? I replace “Hey, girl” with boring hellos. I eat my leftover fried chicken outside the office. In order to have some common point of identifiable communication, I pretend to care about Taylor Swift, or white movie stars on their I’ve-lost-count remarriages and those other white pop stars I could not care less about.”5. U.S. Senator Cites the BIBLE to Prove Humans Aren’t Causing Global WarmingAnd not just any senator — he happens to be the new chairman of the Environment Committee. Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe claims there’s “biblical evidence” to prove the climate is always changing. “The hoax is there are some people who are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful they can change climate. Man can’t change climate.” Sigh. 6. C.I.A. Report Found Value of Brutal Interrogation Was InflatedThe Panetta Review, a classified internal report of the CIA’s use of torture and detention conducted before the recent Senate Intelligence Committee’s release, found the agency “had repeatedly overstated the value of intelligence gained during the brutal interrogations of some of its detainees,” according to The New York Times.7. WATCH: This One’s For the Moms (and Dads)Sometimes advertisements hit the nail on the head. Similac does so in this pretty accurate take on the “mommy wars.” 8. Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, ExplainedSince Texas does not have a statewide law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, it’s up to the cities to pass such ordinances. Houston is trying, but a complicated history with the proposal — one that includes Fox News anchor and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — is holding it up. Read why.9. Turns Out, ‘God, Guns, and Country’ Isn’t Just for AmericansA social media “celebrity”(?) garnered praise from the right with her photo wearing a pro-life T-shirt while holding a Chick-fil-a cup in front of Hobby Lobby — a hat tip to the craft store chain’s case against providing contraception coverage for employees. But then the Internets decided a few accoutrements were missing from her pics — namely a gun, a Bible, and the American flag. Unfortunately for her, the image bears an uncanny resemblance to others — flooding out of ISIS-controlled territory.10. The Death of Marcus Borg and His Willful IgnoranceIllustrator David Hayward offers this moving tribute to liberal theologian Marcus Borg. Read more at the link.
Posted by the Web Editors 10 weeks 3 days ago
1. Can the U.S. Ever Figure Out its Messed-Up Maternity Leave System?“According to the United Nations’ International Labour Organization, there are only two countries in the world that don’t have some form of legally protected, partially paid time off for working women who’ve just had a baby: Papua New Guinea and the U.S.”2. Post-Evangelicals and Why We Can’t Just Get Over ItRachel Held Evans pens this spot-on column about identity and why it can be difficult to “simply” ditch the label: “When you grow up believing that your religious worldview contains the key to absolute truth and provides an answer to every question, you never really get over the disappointment of learning that it doesn’t.”3. This Is What the Oscar Nominations Look Like Without All the MenA really great visualization.4. From Lone Wolf to Wolf Packs, What Paris Says About a New Model of TerrorIf some interpretations of the recent terrorist attacks hold true, they "point to a dangerous evolution [in] global jihadism: an acceleration in hard-to-detect lone-wolf or wolf-pack attacks that hinge more on the proliferation of an ideology than actual sponsorship by any group.”
Posted by the Web Editors 11 weeks 23 hours ago
Five years after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti on Jan.12, 2010, killing hundreds of thousands of people, Haitians are still working to rebuild the poorest country in the hemisphere.In August, Sojourners Editor Jim Rice traveled to Haiti to meet with nonprofits, ministries, and residents. His reports from the trip became the cover story for Sojourners' February issue. For the week of Jan. 12 only, we've released the story from our paywall. Go here to read for FREE. See the slideshow of photos from the trip at the jump.
Posted by the Web Editors 11 weeks 3 days ago
1. 9 Points to Ponder on the Paris Shooting and Charlie Hebdo“I try to resist the urge to turn the victims into saintly beings, or the shooters into embodiments of evil. We are all imperfect beings, walking contradictions of selfishness and beauty. And sometimes … it results in acts of unspeakable atrocity.”2. Amusing Ourselves to… tl;drWhen we expect every part of our lives to entertain us, could attending a boring church be a virtue?3. 9 Charts That Force the Question, Does Black Life Matter?Why is black life expectancy in the United States so short?4. What Ruth Bader Ginsberg Taught Me About Being a Stay-at-Home DadOne reason we’re down with RBG. Great piece from The Atlantic on the never-ending ‘having it all’ conversation. “The gender-equality debate too often ignores this half of the equation. When home is mentioned at all, the emphasis is usually on equalizing burdens—not equalizing the opportunity for men, as well as women, to be there.”
Posted by the Web Editors 11 weeks 6 days ago
Armed with AK-47s and a rocket-launcher, three masked attackers opened fire in the office of a French newspaper, killing two police officers and ten staff. After hijacking a car, the attackers are currently on the run. Parisian authorities are evacuating local schools and guarding other newspaper offices as they scour the city.According to the Guardian, French President François Hollande has described the shooting as “a terrorist attack, without a doubt” and raised the terror alert in Paris to its highest level. This would not be the first time the magazine was subjected to terrorist attack. In an analysis of Charlie Hebdo’s commitment to satire, the Guardian reports:
Posted by the Web Editors 12 weeks 3 days ago
1. Here Is What Happens When Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Makes A New Year’s ResolutionThese may or may not be scarily accurate... 2. The Birth of a New Civil Rights Movement“The shattering events of 2014, beginning with Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, in August, did more than touch off a national debate about police behavior, criminal justice and widening inequality in America. In 2014, the new social justice movement became a force that the political mainstream had to reckon with.”3. 10 Resolutions for 2015“We often only use the word in the context of this season, but “resolution” is a nuanced noun. Some of its definitions include: A firm decision to do or not to do something; the quality of being determined or resolute; the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. In a world of seemingly endless conflicts, I sure like the sound of that. We need more of all of these qualities just now in this brand new year.”4. The Tragedy of the American Military“The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win.”
Posted by the Web Editors 12 weeks 5 days ago
We published hundreds of pieces on the Sojourners blog in 2014, on issues of gender equality, immigration reform, contemplative spirituality, racial justice, reconciliation, poverty, and everything in between. Below are 20 of our favorite writings through the year, from January to December. Thanks for reading with us!
Posted by the Web Editors 14 weeks 3 days ago
1. Hero mom calls into C-SPAN to berate her arguing pundit sons Whether or not your family expects heated political debate over the holidays, you''ll appreciate the way this mom quiets her sons.2. 14 Women of Color Who Rocked 2014 From the creators of #BlackLivesMatter to the founder of an organization focused on women with incarcerated loved ones, meet the women of color at the forefront of the fight for justice.3. The Myth of Crying RapeFrom Jim Wallis and Sandi Villarreal: "The reality is, these survivors are often re-victimized by a system that interrogates rather than advocates and then fails to deliver justice in a vast majority of cases ... Failure to recognize the sins of power and domination that influence the acts of violence against half of God’s creatures is simply bad theology."4. Citing Health Risks, Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York StateA win for environmentalists that could set an important precedent.
Posted by the Web Editors 15 weeks 3 days ago
1. Read the Torture ReportWhile its 525 pages — and disturbing subject matter — may cause you to opt for the news coverage and analysis, you can actually read the entire Torture Report yourself — even before Melville House Books ensures it’s on the shelves your local bookstore. Download now.2. WATCH: John McCain’s Floor Speech on TortureIn case you do need some context on the importance of releasing this report, watch this floor statement by Arizona Sen. McCain, quite an authority on the matter. “I know the use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies, our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights, which are protected by international conventions the U.S. not only joined, but for the most part authored.”3. Two Years Since Newtown: WATCH This Father’s StorySunday marks the two-year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children and six faculty and staff were killed. Mark Barden, the father of Daniel, 7, who was killed in the tragedy, tells his powerful story in this video. 4. What MSU Protesters Are Really Fighting ForWith all of the “controversy” over the Rolling Stone UVA rape story, it might be tempting to think that college campus sexual assault — and the mishandling of cases by college administrators — is not quite on the epidemic scale the piece made it out to be. (Y’know, kind of like when it’s cold outside and people say, “So much for ‘global warming!’” *facepalm*) But it’s not just one person’s story, and it’s not just UVA. Check out this piece to see what’s happening on another college campus.
Posted by the Web Editors 16 weeks 3 days ago
1. A United Evangelical Response: The System Failed Eric GarnerThe Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who killed unarmed Eric Garner was a shocking injustice — but this time the injustice has been universally condemned across religious and political lines. Read this great roundup of evangelical leaders’ responses.2. These Are the Best Jobs Numbers in Months, Maybe YearsIn good news today, the jobs numbers released this morning were a pleasant surprise. The Upshot breaks down the numbers for you. 3. This Atheist Is Thankful for the Clergy“The clergy here in St. Louis are a credit to their traditions and to their profession. They are doing what religious leaders ought to do: holding society to a higher moral standard, using their authority as a weapon against injustice, mobilizing the rich resources of their religion to bring hope and encourage change. I’m glad they are here, and I feel privileged to work with them.”4. Why Are Some Cultures More Individualistic Than Others?Apparently it all comes down to farming practices. “As we enter a season in which the values of do-it-yourself individualism are likely to dominate our Congress, it is worth remembering that this way of thinking might just be the product of the way our forefathers grew their food and not a fundamental truth about the way that all humans flourish.”
Posted by the Web Editors 16 weeks 4 days ago
Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor for Willow Creek Community Church, spoke out last week on the ongoing Ferguson protests. In the video, shared this week by Willow Creek Church-affiliated artist group The Tungsten Collective, Hybels calls on people of faith to listen to the pain and hurt expressed by many since the August shooting of Michael Brown.He quotes James 1:19, urging people of faith to “be quick to listen, slow to speak.”Hybels has spoken out on racial reconciliation for years, and here underscores one reason why reconciliation work is often so difficult.“It’s just so much easier to live in your own story than it is to try to understand the narrative of the other,” Hybels said.Indeed, when it comes to interactions with law enforcement, the black experience and the white experience in America are “two totally different narratives [that often] … don’t touch each other until a Ferguson happens,” he said.At one point the megachurch pastor emphasizes — almost uncomfortably lightheartedly — just how untouched he’s been by fear, crime, and violence in his neighborhood.“[Peace] is all I’ve ever known. I’ve never had a single adversarial experience with a law enforcement officer in my entire life,” he said.But in drawing a distinction in the difference of experience, he echoes a Jia Tolentino column in TIME earlier this fall on how social divisions are revealed based on which evils we mourn and pledge to fight against. While Hybels falls short of explicitly naming a power and privilege differential, he urges humility, listening, and seeking understanding among people of faith — all the more resonant today after the non-indictment ruling on the choking death of Eric Garner.WATCH the full video here.
Posted by the Web Editors 16 weeks 5 days ago
Just over one week after a grand jury elected not to indict Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, a Staten Island grand jury has cleared an NYPD police officer of any criminal charge in the death of Eric Garner.The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, a white male, choked Mr. Garner to death as other police officers stomped on his head. Mr. Garner, 43, suffered from asthma and was suspected of illegally selling cigarettes.Along with other evidence, the grand jury viewed a video recorded by bystanders, which fully captured the violent arrest.
Posted by the Web Editors 17 weeks 2 hours ago
Matthew Vines took a leave of absence from his Harvard studies to explore what the Bible says about homosexuality. As a conservative evangelical Christian with a high view of scripture, Vines struggled to reconcile his identity as a gay man with the apparent teaching of the Bible. In his book God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, Vines explains what he has learned about scripture and tells the story of his own pilgrimage of faith, fidelity, and family.Read “My Dad’s Worst Day” (Sojourners, June 2014), an excerpt from Vine’s groundbreaking book. And be sure to watch this original SojoStory video, as Vines discusses his journey as a gay evangelical Christian who has immersed himself in seeking new and deeper understandings of what the Word has to say to us today on these profoundly important issues. WATCH more below.
Posted by the Web Editors 17 weeks 5 days ago
Editor’s Note: On Monday night, it was announced that a grand jury in St. Louis County found no probable cause to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson on any of five possible counts. Throughout the country, protests have erupted. For this week’s edition of the Weekly Wrap, we wanted to offer you the 10 most important things you should see, read, digest to understand the situation. We pray for peace.1. Letter From Birmingham Jailby Martin Luther King Jr. Far more relevant than it should be. Print it out. Write on it. Pray through it. "In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities."2. PHOTOS: Scenes From Ferguson — and BeyondSlate compiled these chilling shots from protests in Ferguson, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and more.3. A Sad Night for America“It is time to right the unacceptable wrong of black lives being worth less than white lives in our criminal justice system." our criminal justice system."
Posted by the Web Editors 18 weeks 17 hours ago
A grand jury has found that no probable cause exists to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, on Aug. 9, said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch on Monday evening.McCulloch said the grand jury was instructed on the law and presented on five possible indictments. He emphasized that the jurors "are the only people who have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence."Protests throughout the St. Louis metro area — as well as nearly 100 cities across the country — are planned in response to the decision. Last week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a preemptive state of emergency and activated the National Guard to respond to “any period of unrest that might occur following the grand jury’s decision concerning the investigation into the death of Michael Brown.” Rev. Traci Blackmon, a clergy leader in the St. Louis area, recently told Sojourners that while the city and county police departments have amassed weapons and riot gear to react to the protests, local community leaders and faith groups have been stocking up on bandages and first-aid materials. Earlier in the day Brown’s family asked for 4.5 minutes of silence this evening before protests begin — a statement on the 4.5 hours Michael Brown’s body was left in a Ferguson street following the shooting.The Justice Department is conducting its own federal investigation, however recent reports have indicated that it is not likely to result in civil rights charges against Wilson. Stay tuned to Sojourners for continued updates and analysis.
Posted by the Web Editors 18 weeks 1 day ago
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the third Secretary of Defense to serve under President Obama, will resign under pressure from the White House, according to officials.Former Senator Hagel is the only Republican serving on the president's national security team. Officials report Hagel struggled to be a strong voice at the Pentagon, but his removal may also be related to the recent midterm elections. According to MSNBC: “He often had trouble articulating the details of many of the operations, many of the incantations, of what goes on here at the White House and he had a difficult time expressing those thoughts,” said NBC News' Jim Miklaszewski. “It appeared he sometimes didn’t even have a grasp of them. And quite frankly, according to one senior official, the White House and the DOD leadership pretty much lost confidence in Hagel.”Pentagon officials and members of the administration have said Hagel struggled to lead at the Pentagon and be a strong voice within the president’s inner circle. Still, he is the not the first defense secretary to lose his job following midterm losses for the president he serves. Donald Rumsfeld also was fired by former President George H.W. Bush following midterm losses to the Republican party in 2006. Read more here.
Posted by the Web Editors 18 weeks 4 days ago
1. Everything You Need to Know About Obama’s Executive ActionThinkProgress breaks down the immigration relief announced by the president Thursday night. Who gets relief and who is left out? What about border security? Your questions answered.2. Give Thanks; Celebrate Hope!Offer your thanks and stand behind the new immigration relief measures!3. The United States of ThanksgivingLooking for some great recipes for unique holiday cooking? “We’ve scoured the nation for recipes that evoke each of the 50 states (and D.C. and Puerto Rico). [But not Guam!] These are our picks for the feast. Dig in, then tell us yours."4. WATCH Toni Morrison Completely Schools Stephen Colbert on RacismThe Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient sits down with Colbert to discuss her works. “Racism is … a social construct. And it has benefits. … But race can only be defined as a human being.”5. Thai Protestors Detained After Using ‘Hunger Games’ Salute “The salute, which in the movies is a daring act of silent rebellion, began to appear here in the weeks after the May 22 coup. The authorities warned that anyone raising it in public could be subject to arrest.”6. A New Image of Black Fatherhood [PHOTOS]These photos capture "ordinary moments that crush white media narratives and stereotypes about black fathers."7. The Cosby ShowTa-Nehisi Coates writes for The Atlantic about his experience covering Bill Cosby in 2006-2007 as he was making the speaking rounds talking about the supposed decline of morality in black communities. At the time, he knew about 13 rape accusations but declined to report on them. Here, he explains what he would have done differently. 8. The False Gospel of Gender Binaries"Jesus didn't die on the cross to preserve gender complementarity. Jesus didn't die on the cross to ensure that little girls wear pink and little boys wear blue. Jesus lived, taught, died, and rose again to start a new family in which Jew and gentile, slave and free, male and female are all part of one holy Body."9. NTSB Rules that FAA Has Authority to Regulate Drones‘‘It’s a huge win for the FAA, and signals it’s not going to be the Wild West for drones, but a careful, orderly, safe introduction of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.’’10. Filmmaking a Cultural Battlefield in IranA fascinating look inside the politics an propaganda of film in Iran: “As reformists assert their cultural influence on screen and in the arts, conservatives in Iran are looking to a new set of movies and filmmakers to help suppress reformists and eliminate Western influence in Iranian society.”
Posted by the Web Editors 18 weeks 4 days ago
Editor's Note: Thursday evening, President Barack Obama announced he is taking action to reform pieces of our broken immigration system. See Sojourners President Jim Wallis' recap here. Below are President Obama's remarks as prepared for delivery. My fellow Americans, tonight, I’d like to talk with you about immigration.For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities – people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.
Posted by the Web Editors 18 weeks 5 days ago
Yesterday, President Obama released a short video providing more information on a much-anticipated executive action announcement on immigration policy. While the details remain unclear on how many of the 11 million undocumented and aspiring Americans will be covered, relief is rumored to the following: Temporary legal protection for undocumented parents of children who are legal U.S. citizens.Temporary legal protection for undocumented immigrants with a longstanding presence in the United States.Extension of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.The president will address the nation tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Watch the speech live here.
Posted by the Web Editors 18 weeks 5 days ago
Early Thursday morning a gunman opened fire in a library at Florida State University, wounding three students before being fatally shot by police officers. Wielding a handgun, the shooter entered the library and forced hundreds of students studying for exams to flee or take cover behind bookshelves. NBC News reports:FSU Police Department Chief David Perry said the library was “packed with students studying for final exams” and estimated that there were 300 to 400 people in the building. One group of students sought refuge behind rows of bookshelves. “Everyone started running to one side of the library, then to the back,” one 20-year-old communications student who asked not to be identified told NBC News. “People were saying, ‘Gun! There’s a shooter! Go! Go! Go!’" She said her group hid among bookcases for what she said felt like 20 minutes. Once given the all-clear, the group was escorted to a campus building next door where they stayed until 4 a.m.Although the identity of the shooter is unknown, police officers believe he was acting alone and that there is no further threat to students at FSU.WATCH the police report:
Posted by the Web Editors 18 weeks 6 days ago
As the nation continues to wait for the grand jury’s decision whether or not to indict Darren Wilson for the killing of Mike Brown, one artist has connected the violent police acts in Ferguson to a broader narrative of state-sanctioned violence.Molly Crabapple, known for her artistic contributions to Occupy Wall Street, combines the fast-paced style of dry-erase animation with colorful watercolor illustrations in her new video, ‘How Ferguson showed us the truth about police.’WATCH:
Posted by the Web Editors 19 weeks 20 hours ago
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive action this afternoon declaring a state of emergency in Missouri and activating the National Guard to respond to “any period of unrest that might occur following the grand jury’s decision concerning the investigation into the death of Michael Brown.”
Posted by the Web Editors 19 weeks 3 days ago
1. Interstellar Isn't About Religion (and Also It Is Totally About Religion)"While the film has a marked admiration for science—it is science, in the end, that helps humanity to rescue itself—it has just as much respect for wonder and awe and what you might call, in the broadest and perhaps even the narrowest sense, faith."2. Drones Now Patrol Half of U.S.-Mexico BorderIn an era of increased security but finite resources, the U.S. government has dispatched Predator Bs to sweep remote areas and detect people (or cows, it seems) entering the country.3. Why John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight Is Better Than The Daily Show and Colbert Where Stewart and Colbert simply reaffirm shared values, "Oliver’s brand of journalism (which is, of course, couched as cheerful Sunday-night entertainment) often has an actual, demonstrable impact on public consciousness.”4. The Most Heartbreaking Place in America Is Called ‘Friendship Park’ThinkProgress’ Jack Jenkins and Esther Boyd traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border to chronicle the struggles of immigrant life. In this first piece, they tell the story of immigrants whose only glimpse of family is through an 18-foot steel fence between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Posted by the Web Editors 20 weeks 3 days ago
1. GoldieBlox Releases Action Figure for Girls“Fashion dolls teach girls to value beauty over brains. One is sold every 3 seconds.” That’s how the ad releasing a new action figure for girls opens. Looks like Barbie and Bratz dolls have some competition.2. On the 25th Anniversary, Stunning Before and After Photos of the Fall of the Berlin WallSunday marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. These photographs capture how life has changed in the past quarter century.3. Gerrymandering Rigged the 2014 Election“There are a lot of structural issues that influence congressional elections, from voter ID requirements to early voting access. But what does it matter if you’ve been packed into a district in which your vote can’t change the composition of Congress?”4. Victoria’s Secret Got the Memo, Changed ‘Perfect Body’ CampaignThis isn’t the first time Victoria’s Secret got a marketing campaign tagline a little twisted (ahem, remember ‘Bright Young Things?’) But this time, they seem to have gotten the message — from the nearly 30,000 people who signed an online petition or tweeted #iamperfect to the lingerie brand.
Posted by the Web Editors 22 weeks 3 days ago
1. Black People Riot Over Injustice; White People Riot Over Pumpkins and FootballTitle says it all.2. Where Did Ottawa Shooter Get His Gun? Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was under criminal prohibition from obtaining firearms because of past convictions. A helpful glimpse into Canada’s system of gun rules. 3. The Paradox of the Christian CEOFr. James Martin expounds on Catholic social teaching to address the difficult question: “The question I would ask Christian CEOs is blunt: What do you want to say to Jesus when you reach the gates of heaven? That you took as much as you could, or as much as the market would bear, because the board okay’d it? Or that you accepted what you thought was just,and understood the needs of your fellow men and women, who may have worked even harder than you?4. A Sandy Hook Father’s PleaMark Barden lost a child in the Sandy Hook massacre. In this moving testimony, he offers a plea that we all do what we can to stop the next school shooting before it happens.
Posted by the Web Editors 23 weeks 3 days ago
1. Race and America’s Gun Culture"Whites walking down Main Street with an AK-47 are defenders of American values; a black man doing the same thing is Public Enemy No. 1."2. Keeping the Faith: How Childhood Influences ChurchgoingFrom college education to birth order, this article offers all the latest stats on American religiosity.3. WATCH: British Nurse Who Survived Ebola Will Return to Africa Because ‘There’s Still A Lot of Work to Do’William Pooley is a volunteer nurse who contracted the disease in Sierra Leone. He plans to return.4. Dear White People: Art Imitating Life’s Racism"Simien told The Root he’s not trying to embarrass but instead is trying to open a dialogue through his humor. He wants white filmgoers to know, ‘It’s not an hour-and-a-half indictment of your people.’ Instead it could be taken as a 108-minute indictment of all people."
Posted by the Web Editors 24 weeks 3 days ago
1. A Fitting Nobel for Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi“The Nobel committee has given an award to a seventeen-year-old, the youngest Peace Prize laureate ever. In one way, that is an act of faith about what and who Malala Yousafzai will become—not only about who she has been.”2. Lecrae: 'Christians Have Prostituted Art to Give Answers'"Christians have really used and almost in some senses prostituted art in order to give answers instead of telling great stories and raising great questions," says the wildly successful rapper.3. WATCH: Columbus Day Under AttackThe Seattle City Council voted to replace Columbus Day with ''Indigenous Peoples Day." Leave it to Stephen Colbert to defend this "traditional holiday."4. Islam and the Mother Lode of Bad Ideas: The Bill Maher, Sam Harris, and Ben Affleck DebateSam Harris says, "Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas." But isn''t saying this, in fact, scapegoating Islam and Muslims?
Posted by the Web Editors 25 weeks 20 hours ago
On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear several cases where federal appeals courts upheld the Constitutional rights of same-sex couples to marry, causing a seismic, if quiet, shift in several states' debates over same-sex marriage. The decision to not hear cases leaves intact lower appeals rulings that had overturned same-sex marriage bans. For five states and potentially six more, this guarantees the legal right for same-sex couples to marry.USA Today reports:The unexpected decision by the justices, announced without further explanation, immediately affects five states in which federal appeals courts had struck down bans against gay marriage: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Utah.It also will bring along six other states located in the judicial circuits overseen by those appellate courts: North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming. Lower court judges in those states must abide by their appeals court rulings.Read more here.
Posted by the Web Editors 25 weeks 3 days ago
1. The Strange Nostalgia of ‘Left Behind’The rapture movie (out in theaters today) is—to borrow a phrase—neither hot nor cold. So why the re-make? We take a crack at answering.2. Lipstick and Seminary“During seminary, I paid close attention to ways men acted in and outside the classroom. Playing by their rules helped me fit in…I guarded what I considered feminine-seeming parts of my personality — creativity, emotion, and relational ways of perceiving and acting. I got A’s, but my soul was wilting.”3. WATCH: A Million Ways to Die in the U.S.Jon Stewart puts concerns over ISIS and Ebola in perspective. “The American government has a sacred obligation to do whatever it takes to save American lives…unless it’s stopping the things that are actually killing Americans.”
Posted by the Web Editors 25 weeks 3 days ago
1. The Strange Nostalgia of ‘Left Behind’The rapture movie (out in theaters today) is—to borrow a phrase—neither hot nor cold. So why the re-make? We take a crack at answering.2. Lipstick and Seminary“During seminary, I paid close attention to ways men acted in and outside the classroom. Playing by their rules helped me fit in…I guarded what I considered feminine-seeming parts of my personality — creativity, emotion, and relational ways of perceiving and acting. I got A’s, but my soul was wilting.”3. WATCH: A Million Ways to Die in the U.S.Jon Stewart puts concerns over ISIS and Ebola in perspective. “The American government has a sacred obligation to do whatever it takes to save American lives…unless it’s stopping the things that are actually killing Americans.”4. The Meditations of Europe’s Last Brewmaster NunSays Sister Doris: “As Saint Benedict wrote, ‘in all things God may be glorified,’ and that is also true of beer.” Say we: "Amen."
Americans Divided on Religious Liberty: The Freedom to Practice My Religion or the Freedom to Avoid Yours
Posted by the Web Editors 26 weeks 5 days ago
When it comes to concerns over religious liberty, Americans are divided as to which is in more imminent danger: the ability to practice one’s religion without government inference, or the consequences to freedom of others enforcing their own religious beliefs on others. According to the 2014 American Values Survey, released Tuesday from the Public Religion Research Institute, nearly half of Americans (46 percent) say they are more concerned about religious groups trying to pass laws that force their beliefs on others. An equal number (46) say they are more concerned about the government interfering with the ability of people to freely practice their religion.
Posted by the Web Editors 27 weeks 3 days ago
1. In Record Turnout, Demographics Shape Scotland's Emphatic No VoteNational Geographic has a recap (and stunning photos) of yesterday's vote: "Tomorrow a new campaign—for reconciliation—will begin. The referendum opened up deep, sometimes venomous, class and regional divisions."2. WATCH: It’s On Us Today, the White House announced its nationwide public service campaign to prevent and respond to sexual assault on campuses. Watch and share.3. Together We Make Football“Football encourages some deep tremor of romance about what it means to be a man. ...Save for the military — with which it has a symbiotic relationship — the NFL is the biggest and strongest exponent of American masculinity. And integral to that notion of American masculinity is violence.”4. Confessions of a Military Skeptic"Do we believe that everything will be fine after we kill the last Islamic State militant?" Thomas Reese, on being neither military hawk nor pacifist in regards to ISIS, for National Catholic Reporter.
Posted by the Web Editors 28 weeks 5 days ago
The following are President Barack Obama's remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the threat of the ISIL, delivered on Wednesday evening.My fellow Americans – tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. That’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL – which calls itself the “Islamic State.”
Posted by the Web Editors 29 weeks 3 days ago
1. Almost Like the BluesCanadian folk bard Leonard Cohen reads lyrics from one of his latest songs — a gentle, melancholy reflection on life and hope.2. How Back-to-School Shopping Reinforces Gender Norms — and How to Fight BackFor those of us with children heading to, or back to, school — one parent attempts to buck the gendered school-accessories market. 3. The Osteen Predicament — Mere Happiness Cannot Bear the Weight of the Gospel"If our message cannot be preached with credibility in Mosul, it should not be preached in Houston." 'Nuff said.4. Steven Sotloff Hid His Jewish Faith from ISIS Captors"The secrets that couldn’t be known about beheaded journalist Steven Sotloff during his captivity were revealed in detail Wednesday: The 31-year-old was Jewish, had dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship and apparently maintained his Jewish ritual life while being held by ISIS."