Jeff A. Chamer 7-28-2021

Angela Wolf carries a protest sign for nearby traffic to see after gathering with people outside of an apartment complex with the intention to stop the alleged eviction of one of the tenants in Mount Rainier, MD, Aug. 10, 2020. The federal eviction moratorium, set to expire on Aug. 1, 2021, many fear the housing crisis will once again worsen. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo.

Housing rights advocates, community leaders, and faith-based organizations across the country are scrambling to provide resources and funding to thousands at risk of losing their housing when the federal eviction moratorium ends on Aug. 1.

The moratorium was first put in place in September of 2020, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was previously extended under both then-President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. So far, the CDC has not signaled that it will extend the moratorium again, though Democrats in Congress have petitioned to have it extended.

Lexi McMenamin 7-27-2021

Aquilino Gonell, sergeant of the U.S. Capitol Police, Michael Fanone, officer for the Metropolitan Police Department, and Harry Dunn, private first class of the U.S. Capitol Police, listen while Daniel Hodges, officer for the Metropolitan Police Department, testifies during a hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., July 27, 2021. Brendan Smialowski/Pool via REUTERS.

In an emotional congressional hearing Tuesday morning, witnesses of the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill used multiple words to describe those who attacked them: One was “terrorists;” another was “Christians.”

“It was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be Christians,” Metropolitan police officer Daniel Hodges stated in his testimony, which graphically described the physical attacks on Hodges and other officers.

Bayard Rustin at news briefing on the Civil Rights March on Washington in the Statler Hotel, half-length portrait, seated at table. Warren K. Leffler via the Library of Congress. 

Rustin, who died in 1987, is best known for helping Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. implement Gandhian tactics of nonviolence and for the key role he played organizing the 1963 March on Washington and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference — two key components of the civil rights movement.

Less well-known are the particularities of Rustin's faith, including his deep roots in the Quaker and African Methodist Episcopal churches which drove his activism. Those two faith traditions, marked by silence and singing, respectively, echoed throughout Rustin’s life and work.

Gina Ciliberto 7-22-2021
A child looks at the “Naming the Lost Memorials” at The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 10, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid.

A child looks at the “Naming the Lost Memorials” at The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 10, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid.

According to a new report, 1.5 million children lost at least one primary caregiver to COVID-19 by the end of April 2021.

Children: The Hidden Pandemic 2021 — a joint report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Agency for International Development, and World Without Orphans, in conjunction with other global child welfare experts — stated that, without immediate action, “the COVID-19 pandemic is destined to leave millions more children orphaned.”

Gina Ciliberto 7-20-2021
Recently installed solar lights mark burial sites on Cowessess First Nation, where a search had found 751 unmarked graves from the former Marieval Indian Residential School near Grayson, Saskatchewan in Canada on July 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon VanRaes

Recently installed solar lights mark burial sites on Cowessess First Nation, where a search had found 751 unmarked graves from the former Marieval Indian Residential School near Grayson, Saskatchewan in Canada on July 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon VanRaes

For Indigenous communities, the existence of these schools and the abuse, neglect, and murder committed within them are not new; Indigenous communities have been aware of — and harmed by — boarding schools, many of them run by Christian groups, for generations. And though Indigenous people have ideas about how Christian communities can atone for their involvement in the schools, many are not sure Christians are willing to listen.

Pope Francis leads prayer from his window at the Vatican on July 18, 2021 following intestinal surgery. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Pope Francis leads prayer from his window at the Vatican on July 18, 2021 following intestinal surgery. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

“Let us put a halt to the frantic running around dictated by our agendas. Let us learn how to take a break, to turn off the mobile phone,” Pope Francis said in his weekly address from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

Patrick Egwu 7-09-2021

Azubuike Muodum, a Nigerian migrant living in Johannesburg, South Africa, poses for a photo on May 4, 2021. Patrick Egwu/Sojourners. 

Azubuike Muodum, a Nigerian migrant living in Johannesburg, South Africa has not had his worst COVID-19 fears realized.

“When the [pandemic] started, I thought it was a disease that is going to kill everyone, more like an end-time plague,” Muodum told Sojourners in May.

Still, the last two years have had challenges. Muodum runs a small-scale restaurant in the central business district of Johannesburg, South Africa; he says the pandemic and subsequent lockdown created a “huge burden” for him and his restaurant. While countries like the United States begin returning to post-pandemic life, Muodum and others who emigrated to South Africa are facing the challenges of a still-spreading COVID-19.

D.L. Mayfield 7-09-2021

Photo via @taylorschumannwrites.

Her thoughts on guns didn’t immediately change; slowly — as the PTSD and long-term effects of her injuries continued — Schumann began to question the narratives around guns she had grown up with her entire life. Now she’s asking others to join her in questioning the stories we’ve been told about gun violence in the United States.

Balloons are released during a funeral service for some victims of the Sutherland Springs Baptist church shooting, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Nov. 15, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Abate

A federal judge found the U.S. government 60 percent responsible for a 2017 mass shooting that killed 26 people at a rural Texas church, where a former Air Force serviceman used firearms he should not have been allowed to purchase.

U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez ruled on Tuesday that the Air Force did not use reasonable care when it failed to record Devin Patrick Kelley's plea to domestic violence charges in a database used for background checks on firearms purchases.

He said the government bears "significant responsibility" for harm to victims of the Nov. 5, 2017 massacre at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX.

Joshua Eaton 7-07-2021

A photo of the poem Beth Strano painted on the door of The Space, an anarchist community in Phoenix, Ariz. Image via The Space / Facebook.

“I saw my poem posted on another website and attributed to someone else,” Beth Strano wrote in response to a comment on her post. “I thought it was an honest mistake, but then I searched and realized this woman has been claiming that she wrote this poem and publishing it and doing readings of it.”

Gina Ciliberto 7-01-2021

People gather during a stop on the Freedom Ride For Voting Rights at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. June 21, 2021. REUTERS/Dustin Chambers

Rev. Carl McCrae, bishop and founding pastor of Exousia Lighthouse International Christian Ministries in Lithonia, Georgia, remembers that his grandfather was one of the first people to vote in Georgia’s Montgomery County. Government officials attempted to prevent his grandfather from voting — until a white man vouched for him. Now, McCrae sees his ministry as continuing his grandfather’s fight for Black and brown Americans’ voting rights.

“I don't see a discontinuation between what I do in the pulpit on Sundays and what I do every day of the week,” McCrae told Sojourners. “That is to advocate for people of color and marginalized people as the systems that are rigged against them seek to destroy them.”

General Election Day directional sign saying Vote Here, also translated to Spanish, in El Mirage, Arizona on Nov. 6, 2018. Via Shutterstock / BlaineT

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday endorsed two Republican-backed ballot restrictions in Arizona that a lower court found had disproportionately burdened Black, Latino and Native American voters, handing a defeat to voting rights advocates and Democrats who had challenged the measures.

The 6-3 ruling, with the court's conservative justices in the majority, held that the restrictions on early ballot collection by third parties and where absentee ballots may be cast did not violate the Voting Rights Act, a landmark 1965 federal law that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

Mitchell Atencio 6-30-2021

Graphic by Mitchell Atencio and Candace Sanders. Original photo by Christian Padron, courtesy Jeremiah Givens.

Jeremiah Givens — better known as the rapper JGivens — suggests that you think of him as “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.” He makes the suggestion with a smile, in some jest, but he still means it.

Givens, now a veteran emcee, has been a premier rapper in the niche genre of Christian hip-hop (CHH) for the last decade. Musically, Givens is known for his smooth and sporadic delivery, his lyrical wordplay, and his willingness to share his life transparently on the microphone. But during the beginning of his career, there were parts of his life he had to keep hidden.

Lexi McMenamin 6-29-2021

'Queer Youth of Faith Day' social media graphics. Courtesy Beloved Arise.

June 30 marks the end of Pride Month, and Beloved Arise is closing out celebrations with its second annual Queer Youth of Faith Day. The organization, dedicated to LGBTQ youth of faith, is joined by several co-hosts, including LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project, LGBTQ advocacy organization PFLAG, Jewish Queer Youth, Q Christian Fellowship, and Interfaith Alliance.

A crew performs a ground-penetrating radar search of a field, where the Cowessess First Nation said they had found 751 unmarked graves, near the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Grayson, Saskatchewan, Canada on June 18, 2021. Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations/Handout via REUTERS.

“I have spoken personally directly with His Holiness Pope Francis to press upon him how important it is not just that he makes an apology but that he makes an apology to indigenous Canadians on Canadian soil,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa.

Pope Francis greets Mattia Villardita, who was dressed as Spiderman, after the general audience, at the Vatican, June 23, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

A different type of participant dropped in on Pope Francis' general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday: Spider-Man.

A man dressed in a full, skin-tight, red, black and blue costume of the comic book and film character — including head cover — sat in the VIP section of the audience in Vatican's San Damaso Courtyard.

Mitchell Atencio 6-21-2021

Graphic by Mitchell Atencio and Candace Sanders. Original photo courtesy Jane Coaston.

“I think there are aspects of people attempting to discuss politics in Christian terms, or people interpreting their politics through a Christian lens, that’s always going to lead to terrible arguments,” she said. God cares about politics, Coaston said, but not in such a literal way that God has an opinion on something like Medicaid expansion. To those using God-talk to drum up votes, Coaston asks: “Why would you want God to be that small?”

The United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday that Philadelphia violated Catholic Social Services’ religious freedom by not placing children with the agency after CSS refused to place foster children with married same-sex couples.

“The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless CSS agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a narrow decision.

Gina Ciliberto 6-16-2021

Activists and faith leaders father to protest the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project. Photo Courtesy Carla Aronsohn at Cultivate Strategies.

In 1855, the Ojibwe people signed a treaty in Washington, D.C., that retained extensive land use rights in the Great Lakes region for hunting, gathering, fishing, and worship rights for the community. Today, the Ojibwe, who live throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada, still retain these 1855 treaty rights, which are separate from reservation land.

But the Line 3 Replacement Project is seeking to cut through the land, which activists say would directly violate those treaty rights.

Joshua Eaton 6-16-2021

Mixed media illustration featuring images of City of David, maps of Jerusalem, Solomon's Gardens, and people in East Jerusalem. Photos: Shutterstock, public domain, and Ryan Rodrick Beiler via Design: Candace Sanders / Sojourners

A short walk from the Temple Mount, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al Bustan, there’s a plan to replace dozens of Palestinian homes with a new tourist destination: a lush garden on the site where some say King Solomon built his royal gardens and wrote the book of Ecclesiastes.