Bekah McNeel 4-11-2024

A general view of the Catholic University of America (CUA) campus in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 19, 2020. Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA via Reuters

Rachel Carbonneau didn’t show up to Catholic University of America in late January planning to talk about abortion. The doula and public health advocate was visiting a class for aspiring nurses, doctors, and other public health professionals to talk about social determinants of health — the ways that economics, community structure, bias, and institutions affect health outcomes. The student-led conversation had touched on a wide range of topics from the opioid crisis, to the fact that Black birthing people in New York are five times more likely than their white counterparts to die in childbirth, to the impact of COVID-19 on placental health. 

Ken Chitwood 4-08-2024

lanked by Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Rep. Maria Salazar (R-FL) speaks at a bipartisan press conference to announce immigration reform at the U.S. Capitol on May 23, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

According to a recent Lifeway Research poll sponsored by the Evangelical Immigration Table and other evangelical groups, evangelicals desire immigration reform with increasing urgency. Showing a marked increase from prior years, 77 percent of poll respondents say it is important that Congress passes significant new immigration legislation in 2024 — up from 71 percent in 2022 and 68 percent in 2015.

Members of Sonke, a gender justice organisation, Mabel Ssengendo and Zaitun Nabateregga pose for a photograph at the Constitutional Court after the Court upheld the anti-LGBTQ+ Law in Kampala, Uganda on April 3, 2024. REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa

Uganda’s constitutional court refused on Wednesday to annul or suspend an anti-LGBTQ+ law that includes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts, but voided some provisions that it said were inconsistent with certain fundamental human rights.

Clergy attend the Easter Mass at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on March 31. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

“I appeal once again that access to humanitarian aid be ensured to Gaza, and call once more for the prompt release of the hostages seized on last Oct. 7 and for an immediate cease-fire in the Strip,” he said in his Urbi et Orbi address.

Ken Chitwood 3-27-2024

Migrants rest outside a church as shelters have run out of space due to the arrival of hundreds of migrants, in downtown El Paso, Texas, U.S., May 9, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez 

Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said the results show an increasing interest from everyday evangelicals — even urgency — to receive guidance on the issue from the pulpit. “More and more evangelicals are looking to scripture and what it has to say about the immigrant, the refugee, and the stranger,” he said. “Evangelicals want to move beyond just political talking points and be discipled on immigration reform.”

Ken Chitwood 3-25-2024

Migrants seeking asylum in the United States walk past a wire fence deployed to inhibit the crossing of migrants into the United States, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, October 5, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, religious Americans differ widely on how they refer to the increase in arrivals at the border. While only 45 percent of all U.S. adults say the large number of migrants is a “crisis,” majorities of white Christian groups — 70 percent of white evangelical Protestants, 64 percent of white Catholics, and 57 percent of white non-evangelical Protestants — feel that it is. In comparison, only 32 percent of Black Protestants and 27 percent of the religiously unaffiliated, or “nones,” say the situation at the border constitutes a “crisis.”

Zachary Lee 3-22-2024

A woman walks past an empty, boarded-up church in Youngstown, Ohio, on Nov. 21, 2009. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

A new report from Pew Research Center found that while most Americans think religion has a positive influence on American life, few are willing to have discussions about religious differences.

The report revealed that a majority of American adults (80 percent) would say that “religion’s role in American life is shrinking,” which Pew reported as the highest in the survey’s history. Majorities in each religious group and the religiously unaffiliated say religion is losing influence.

Bekah McNeel 3-21-2024

Registered Nurse Alyson Wong marches on a picket line with striking nurses at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, Tezas, on Tuesday June 27, 2023. Hundreds of nurses at the hospital participated in a one-day strike to call attention to what they describe as a staffing crisis and dismissive conduct by hospital administrators during contract negotiations. 

One of the most troubling statistics in the country — the United States’ skyrocketing maternal mortality rate — isn’t much of a mystery to those who work in labor and delivery rooms. Underfunding, gaps in health care coverage, and hospital closures all contribute to the health care system’s state of crisis: When resources are stretched thin, birthing people, particularly Black and Latino people, and their babies don’t get the care they need.

Palestinians walk on the day of the first Friday prayers during Ramadan near the ruins of a destroyed mosque, amid the ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, March 15, 2024. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Palestinians in Gaza held the first Friday prayers of Ramadan outside the ruins of a mosque leveled by Israel’s offensive, one of hundreds the Hamas-run authorities say have been damaged or destroyed by Israeli attacks since October.

Mourners attend a vigil service at the Prairie Activity & Recreation Center for Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, a Muslim boy who according to police was stabbed to death in an attack that targeted him and his mother for their religion and as a response to the war between Israel and Hamas, in Plainfield, Illinois, Oct. 17, 2023. REUTERS/Jim Vondruska

Human rights advocates have cited a rise in Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian bias, and antisemitism in the U.S. and elsewhere. 

Rebecca Randall 3-07-2024

Volunteers from Calvary Reformed Church plant trees in their Cleveland neighborhood in 2019. Courtesy Calvary Reformed Church.

In a Cleveland neighborhood, a set of 25 young trees line the space between the sidewalk and the road. The trees were planted by volunteers from Calvary Reformed Church in 2019, an example of the types of actions that churches can take to address rising heat in their neighborhoods. Now, thanks to 2022’s Inflation Reduction Act, nearly $1 billion will fund similar projects across the nation.

Bekah McNeel 3-04-2024

A woman holds a baby, as displaced Palestinians, who fled their houses due to Israeli strikes, take shelter in a tent camp amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 6, 2024. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

When Israeli troops stormed Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza, the ensuing chaos effectively shut down the hospital, with soldiers forcing women and children to leave the maternity ward according to Doctors Without Borders. The invasion of the hospital underscored the heavy toll the Israeli assault has had on pregnant people and infants. Doctors Without Borders described Israel’s incursion as forcing “inhumane” birthing conditions.

Bekah McNeel 2-27-2024

Sister Helen Prejean speaks at a press conference outside the Collin County, Texas Courthouse on Feb. 26, 2024.

In the almost 23 years that Ivan Cantu has been on death row in Texas, a lot has changed: A trial witness admitted he lied on the stand. A true crime podcast revealed several forensic oversights in the details of Cantu’s case. And hundreds of thousands of people have petitioned for courts to reconsider the case. But one thing hasn’t changed: Cantu is still on death row, and his execution is now scheduled for Feb. 28. With few avenues of appeal left, a coalition of faith leaders, family members, and true crime podcast listeners say evidence that could prove Cantu’s innocence deserves to be heard by a court.

Bekah McNeel 2-21-2024

A toddler turns around in a church pew to interract with other congregants. Danique Godwin via Unsplash. 

I asked my 3-year-old niece, Ember, what she learned in church. She said she learned about Jesus. “Who is Jesus,” I asked. “Where does he live?” She looked at me like I was an idiot, and then said, “Jesus is in our heart. Jesus helps us not be scared and not be afraid.”

Rena Li for The 19th. Used with permission.

New data finds that almost two-thirds of LGBTQ+ people who were raised Christian have since left the faith — and those who stay are typically older, Black, cisgender men and those who live in the South.

Josiah R. Daniels 2-16-2024

A photo of Riverton Park United Methodist Church’s campus, currently a shelter for about 250 refugees, on Feb. 14, 2024. Josiah R. Daniels/Sojourners

For more than a year, Riverton Park United Methodist Church in Tukwila, Wash., has been a cramped, uncomfortable shelter for hundreds of refugees. Neither designed nor intended to be a camp for those navigating the complicated immigration and asylum process, the ongoing situation has become a crisis, with the city declaring a state of emergency last October. Still, as Riverton Park remains unwilling to turn people away, the church and its neighbors, community organizers, and local government are all seeking solutions to the crisis.

Supporters of the bill which legalizes same-sex civil marriage gather in front of the Greek parliament, ahead of the vote, in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2024. REUTERS/Louisa Gouliamaki

Greece’s parliament approved a bill allowing same-sex civil marriage on Thursday, a landmark victory for supporters of LGBTQ+ rights that was greeted with cheers by onlookers in parliament and dozens gathered on the streets of Athens.

A believer kneels during prayers at a Catholic church, in Accra, Ghana, Jan. 18, 2024. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko

In a country where religious leaders openly condemn homosexuality and gay sex is punishable with jail time, Ghanaian couple Kay and Naa Shika fear more for their lives and safety than whether a church will bless their same-sex union.

Bekah McNeel 2-07-2024

An image of an empty bassinet. Photo by freestocks via Unsplash. 

When Pope Francis called for a global ban on surrogacy during a foreign policy address last month, non-Catholics, especially those in the United States, may have felt the subject came out of nowhere. Surrogacy is medically and legally regulated in the U.S. as an intervention recommended by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine for those who do not have the ability to become pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term. But the pope’s concern was beyond the ethics of procreation, as he positioned his pronouncement within the context of a global economy and exploitation of women.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis said. “At every moment of its existence, human life must be preserved and defended; yet I note with regret, especially in the West, the continued spread of a culture of death, which in the name of a false compassion discards children, the elderly and the sick.”

Bekah McNeel 1-31-2024

A wooden paddle similar to those used for corporal punishment sits on a wooden bench. Photo by photosofkorea via Unsplash. 

Many of today’s parents of young children represent a culture shift in regard to corporal punishment. Statistically, many of them were spanked as children but won’t continue that practice in their own parenting. Since the late 1990s, a growing body of research has led experts to advise against spanking, and parents have started to listen. But one group in particular stands by the practice: Christians.