Lexi McMenamin 6-09-2021

Screenshot of Miguel Díaz, the former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See under President Barack Obama, offering a blessing during DignityUSA's Catholic Pride Blessing event on June 1, 2021. 

Earlier this year, the Vatican said that its priests and ministers cannot bless same-sex unions. For LGBTQ Catholics, this was a setback for what many saw as the church’s more welcoming trajectory under Pope Francis. But not everyone is following the instructions; in the United States and across the globe, Catholics have directly disobeyed the Vatican’s instructions.

On the first day of June — which marks the beginning of Pride Month in the United States — DignityUSA, an organization supporting LGBTQ Catholics, hosted a Catholic Pride Blessing, where LGBTQ Catholics could be blessed by clergy.

A child's red dress hangs on a stake near the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were found at the site in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, June 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

Indigenous leaders and school survivors on Sunday dismissed Pope Francis' expressions of pain at the discovery of 215 children's remains at a former Catholic residential school in Canada, saying the church needed to do much more.

In his weekly blessing in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, Francis said he was pained by the news about the former school for indigenous students and called for respect for the rights and cultures of native peoples. But he stopped short of the direct apology some Canadians had demanded.

Gina Ciliberto 6-03-2021

A view of George Floyd Square on the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, May 25, 2021. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

“This solidarity has the potential and the power to propel us into a new future as a community,” Rev. Ingrid Rasmussen, pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, told Sojourners.

Mitchell Atencio 5-28-2021

Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka in action during her 2018 US Open semi-final match at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City on September 6, 2018. Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.

I am no stranger to the ways that sports is often derided in faith and justice circles. But I contend that sports and competition offer valuable insights into what it means to be human.

Lexi McMenamin 5-26-2021

People protest in solidarity with Palestinians on May 16, 2021 in Seattle. Shutterstock/ Inna Zakharchenko

“As Black American activists are being increasingly heard and amplified, so is this message about linking national contexts and the importance of recognizing the global scope of anti-racism activism beyond national boundaries,” Roger Baumann said.

Gina Ciliberto 5-14-2021

Image via Shutterstock / Redaktion93

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines telling people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine that they can now attend a full-capacity worship service and sing in an indoor chorus, among other activities.

While people “will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation” the CDC guidelines now say that if “you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic...without wearing a mask or physically distancing.”

Mitchell Atencio 5-11-2021

Ben Kirby poses for a photo. Original photo credit: Grant Daniels. 

In his book PreachersNSneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit Faith and (Wannabe) Celebrities, published last month, Ben Kirby does more than throw stones at ultra-wealthy pastors; he asks readers to self-audit and consider where they’re spending, lest they throw that stone and shatter their glass houses.

German bishops fold their hands in prayers during a service to open the annual bishop's conference in Fulda, September 25, 2007. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

“If we say that God is love, I cannot tell people who embrace loyalty, unity, and responsibility to each other that theirs is not love, that it's a fifth-or sixth-class love” said Christian Olding, a priest in the western city of Geldern.

Mitchell Atencio 5-05-2021

A banner asking to fight for first nation rights during the 9th Annual Strawberry Ceremony to remember the missing and Murdered Indigenous Women February 14 ,2014 in Toronto,Canada. Shutterstock/arindambanerjee

“On Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, we remember the Indigenous people who we have lost to murder and those who remain missing and commit to working with Tribal Nations to ensure any instance of a missing or murdered person is met with swift and effective action,” the proclamation reads.

Migrants from Haiti wash clothes at the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition after being released from U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Del Rio, Texas, U.S., March 21, 2021. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

"It is important to take this action today to remove any lingering doubt in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much, and who are anxiously waiting for their new lives to begin," Biden said.

Gina Ciliberto 5-03-2021

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks speaks during a brief appearance at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Throughout his presidential campaign, Joe Biden said he would restore America’s role as a “leader” in refugee resettlement. And despite a discouraging start on fulfilling that promise, faith leaders and other advocates for refugees are determined to hold him to his commitment.

Mitchell Atencio 5-03-2021

Cover image courtesy of Dona Park

“Defund The Police? An Abolition Curriculum,” written by Melissa Florer-Bixler, Chantelle Todman, Ben Tapper, Kris Henderson, and Isaac Villegas, is a 10-week course on how churches can engage police abolition.

Gina Ciliberto 4-28-2021

Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington, D.C., has said that he would not deny Biden Communion; Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie, pastor of Biden’s home parish in Washington, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, agreed with that decision.

Dean Dettloff 4-28-2021

Danny Gonzalez makes deliveries for Amazon during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Anaheim, California, U.S., March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo

Theological language might seem out of place from an organizer in a secular union, but faith has been a constant piece of the campaign in Bessemer. While the first vote was a loss for Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, the historic effort offers important lessons for the relationship between faith, labor organizing, and the struggle for racial justice.

Mitchell Atencio 4-20-2021

People react after the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, found guilty of the death of George Floyd, at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, Minn. on April 20, 2021. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Brenda Blackhawk, a congregational organizer for racial justice with the Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said her initial reaction to the verdict was one of relief.

“That’s what the community really needed to see and hear, especially in the midst of another young Black man [Daunte Wright] being murdered,” Blackhawk told Sojourners. “This is just holding one person accountable — and that’s important, that’s a good piece of justice, but there is so much work left to be done to change the system as a whole.”

The logo of Home Depot is seen in Encinitas, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

In a statement, Bishop Reginald Jackson, who oversees Georgia's African Methodist Episcopal churches, said Home Depot had rejected requests to discuss the new law.

Gina Ciliberto 4-20-2021

Katharine Hayhoe poses for a portrait. Courtesy photo. (Ashley Rodgers/Texas Tech University)

Hayhoe’s passion for climate science is based in her Christian faith. Hayhoe is an evangelical, which she defines as “someone who takes the Bible seriously.” For her, faith and science go hand in hand: The more that she learns about science, the more her “awe” and faith in God increases.

Lexi McMenamin 4-19-2021

Sen. Raphael Warnock speaks with Serene Jones, the president of Union Theological Seminary, via video chat, on April 18, 2021 (screenshot).

On Sunday, April 18, in an event hosted by Union Theological Seminary (Warnock’s alma mater), Warnock, a Democrat, detailed how his time as a minister, and now U.S. Senator, led him to his current image as a staunch defender of voting rights, and the responsibility of progressives to combat restrictions.

A New York City Police car is parked outside the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, which is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, in New York, February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has no immediate plans to send thousands of inmates released during the COVID-19 pandemic back to prison, but to prevent that from happening in the future, Congress needs to change the law, its head said Thursday.

"We're going to use good judgment and common sense and work within the law," said BOP Director Michael Carvajal in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, noting the agency has no desire to "arbitrarily" disrupt peoples' lives by forcing them to return to prison.

Lexi McMenamin 4-16-2021

Isaac Simmons as Ms. Penny Cost. Courtesy / Isaac Simmons.

Isaac Simmons is right in the thick of it. Simmons, 23, is the first openly gay man certified for candidacy for ordination in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church. And if that wasn’t enough of a barrier to break through, he’s not doing it alone. Instead, he’s bringing along Ms. Penny Cost — his drag persona.