Kaitlin Curtice 8-04-2017

For years, the American evangelical church and many of its denominations have used the Bible as a way to control, oppress, and abuse others — from cultural genocide to the abstinence/purity movement. In my church, which was part of the Southern Baptist Church, I grew up learning that to love God meant to get my checklist in order and to use that checklist to secure the salvation of everyone I came in contact with.

Americans think of the U.S. as being a classless society. Piketty points out that our country invented progressive taxation of income and of large estates, to avoid the inequalities rife in a patrimonial society like “Old Europe.”

Kanwar Singh 8-02-2017

Image via RNS/AP Photo/Morry Gash

A neo-Nazi had walked into a gurdwara — or Sikh temple — in Oak Creek, Wis., and gone on a rampage, fatally shooting six worshippers and wounding several others, including a police officer. To this day, the attack on the Oak Creek gurdwara remains one of the deadliest acts of violence on an American house of worship in our nation’s history.

Eliel Cruz 8-02-2017

Sixteen years ago as a college student at Wake Forest University, Justin Lee created a website for LGBT Christians with the goal of creating a small online community. Now, the Gay Christian Network is a cornerstone organization in the LGBT Christian community. Its annual conference is credited as the largest gathering of LGBT Christians, many of whom have found a home within the community the organization has fostered. On July 20, the organization and Lee parted ways, saying in a joint statement that they “have come to realize they have differing perspectives on the operational needs of the ministry."

Jim Wallis 8-01-2017

Image via Heidi Besen/Shutterstock.com

I’m grateful for the 10 governors — Republican and Democrat — who wrote to senators asking them to reject the so-called “skinny repeal” because of how it would affect their residents.

I’m grateful for the thousands of you who heeded Sojourners’ call and contacted your member of Congress to voice your opposition to any bill that would hurt the poor with devastating cuts to Medicaid.

Liz Theoharis 7-31-2017

Image via Jana Shea/Shutterstock.com

Just like poverty stunted the lives of the people of Jesus’ day, poverty hampers, circumscribes the lives of millions of God’s children in our day. 1 in 2 people living in the United States are poor or low-income; 43 percent of US children live in families that struggle to feed, clothe, and house them. There are 28 million people without health care, 65 million workers who get paid too little to sustain themselves and their families, and a record 14 million (1 in 9) U.S. homes are vacant. 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year and 39 percent of them are children.

Dave Schechter 7-31-2017

Image via RNS/AP Photo/Branden Camp

At 9:50 a.m., Rosalynn Carter, who turns 90 in August, takes a seat in the fifth row along the wall to my right.

A few minutes later, Jimmy walks in, his weathered face smiling, microphone in hand.

Today, he says, we’ll be reviewing “one of the most difficult sections of the Bible.”

 lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Last week, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter his intent to bar transgender from people serving in the military — a move reportedly heavily influenced by the Family Research Council, a conservative evangelical lobbying organization. The Public Religion Research Institute reports that more than one in five Americans have a close friend or family member who is transgender and more than six in ten Americans say transgender people face a lot of discrimination in the country today. This snapshot captures the dynamics of the Trump era: the anxieties and reactionary measures of religious conservatives within a cultural and religious landscape that is dramatically shifting.

the Web Editors 7-28-2017

1. Why Alaska's Lisa Murkowski Isn’t Afraid of Donald Trump

She won her seat as an independent write-in. She enjoys wide support from Alaskan Democrats, centrist Republicans, and Alaska Natives. Meet Lisa Murkowski, one of the Republican Senators who has staunchly opposed the GOP health care bill.

2. I Don’t Want to Watch Slavery Fan Fiction

The producers of HBO’s massively popular “Game of Thrones” are following up their fantasy hit with a rewriting of history: “Confederate,” a show that envisions what America would be like had the South won the war. The project idea has sparked significant backlash — here, Roxane Gay digs into why.

David Potter 7-27-2017

In recognizing the challenges of working for social justice, spiritually-rooted social action provides something of substance to the people in movements. From this place of rootedness, social movements can set intentions that point towards sustainability.

Jessica Cobian 7-27-2017

Under the Trump administration, ICE has requested an additional $185.9 million to recruit more than 1,600 new ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations officers, Homeland Security Investigations agents, and additional support personnel. This is part of a larger 1.6 billion ICE request that would also include funding for the new border wall and detention beds.

We’re made in the image

The Message expresses,

The Good News attests

That we’re formed out of sod,

That we’re made every one

A. James Rudin 7-25-2017

Image via RNS/Reuters/Mike Segar

In the recollections of many evangelicals, America was then a tranquil, moral land deeply rooted in a specific set of traditional Christian values: the shining city on the hill, an idyllic small-town nation dominated by a white male leadership group.

Kaitlin Curtice 7-25-2017

There was nothing for me to do in that moment but recognize that her humanity and my humanity are made to see each other, feel each other, embrace each other. There were no dividing lines or political views or religious dogmas to get in the way. There were simply two families grieving with one another that the world is not always as it should be.

Image via Forsaken Fotos/Flickr.com

The most religious states — a comparison based on questions like church attendance, identity, and prayer frequency — more often than not coincide with the poorest states, the states with lowest life expectancy, and the states where it is most dangerous to be LGBTQ and/or a person of color.

 

Image via Bartleby/Flickr.

As writer, activist and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel noted, “Hope is like peace. It is not a gift from God. It is a gift only we can give one another.”

Alex Awad 7-20-2017

A Palestinian resident of Aida Refugee Camp gives Mennonite Church USA leaders a tour of the Israeli separation wall that divides the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/MCC

Early this month, the Mennonite Church USA succeeded overwhelmingly in passing a resolution in support of peace and justice in Israel/Palestine — and it was no easy feat. As an eyewitness and active participant to the activities leading up to this landslide vote, I can tell you the road there was tough, agonizing, and expensive.

Joe Kay 7-19-2017

Self-care is important. If we lose our enthusiasm and start going through the motions, we’re not much good to anyone — including ourselves. Our love is diminished when we lose our sense of connectedness to the source of love, awe, and wonder. Our lives are diminished, too.

Art and Christianity give our lives import and meaning, irrespective of power, race, gender or class. Jesus did this when he overturned the Greek and Roman way of viewing the world, in which one’s social status was everything, and introduced the notion of the equal worth and dignity of all human beings. “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all (Col. 3:11),” wrote Paul. All people made in the image and likeness of God, “lovely in limbs."

Michael Mershon 7-19-2017

Health care activists protest to stop the Republican health care bill at Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
 

As people of faith who believe that concern for the health of our fellow children of God is mandated by our Savior Jesus (“I was sick and you took care of me” – Matthew 25:36) this is a time to give thanks to God. We are grateful that wisdom and compassion have, at least temporarily, triumphed over cynicism and greed.

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