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.

Gina Ciliberto 4-14-2021

A person holds up a flag to protest a proposal to narrow the definition of gender during a 2018 rally at City Hall in New York City. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

On April 6, the Arkansas State Legislature passed a bill that will make it a felony to provide gender-affirming healthcare to transgender people under the age of 18.

The legislature overrode a veto from Gov. Asa Hutchinson to pass HB 1570, also known as the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act. The bill criminalizes prescribing puberty blockers, hormones, and gender-affirming surgery, and prohibits medical providers from referring patients to other providers for such treatment.

Mitchell Atencio 4-12-2021

A sign marks the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

War tax resisters, sometimes known as war tax refusers, are conscientious objectors who resist federal income taxes through a variety of methods. Many of these war tax resisters are inspired by the historic resistance found in Anabaptist, Quaker, or Catholic traditions.

Mitchell Atencio 4-09-2021

Earl Simmons, better known as rap musician DMX, performs on the main stage at the Woodstock music and arts festival in Rome, New York, U.S. July 23, 1999. REUTERS/Joe Traver

"[DMX] taught us how to channel our anger, our passion, our aggression but showed us all we were still human in it all," Steve Patton said.

Madison Muller 4-05-2021

A woman poses in front of a 'Black Lives Matter' mural on the street as a protest against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., June 16, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

While adherence to organized religion may not be as strong as it once was, faith and spirituality still play fundamental roles in the contemporary fight for racial justice.

Gina Ciliberto 4-01-2021

A child looks at a photograph of César Chávez. Photo: lunita lu / CC BY-NC 2.0

In a White House proclamation, President Joe Biden declared March 31, 2021 as César Chávez Day. Biden called upon “all Americans to observe this day as a day of service and learning, with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor César Chávez’s enduring legacy.”

Gina Ciliberto 3-30-2021

Earlier this month, after a tweet reignited a debate about the inequity of unpaid internships, one corner of the internet pointed out that clinical pastoral education, an unpaid internship that often costs tuition, is an overlooked part of the work-for-free problem.

Mitchell Atencio 3-29-2021

Soojin Park leads attendees in prayer in Korean, at Chinatown Park in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2021. Mitchell Atencio/Sojourners

“It was clear that those on the ground had a desire to respond to the shooting in Atlanta,” Raymond Chang, president of AACC, told Sojourners the Friday before the rallies.

Mitchell Atencio 3-26-2021

Ten stories of passion, and how to channel it toward the liberation of all.

Pope Francis leads Angelus prayer at the library of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican March 21, 2021. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS

In a seven-point preface to the decree explaining why action was needed now, Francis said the pandemic "has negatively affected all the sources of income of the Holy See and the State of Vatican City."

Voters stand in line at Highland Hills Library in Dallas to cast their ballots on Election Day last November. Photo by Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

If legislation they have introduced passes, future elections in Texas will look something like this: Voters with disabilities will be required to prove they can't make it to the polls before they can get mail-in ballots. County election officials won’t be able to keep polling places open late to give voters like shift workers more time to cast their ballots. Partisan poll watchers will be allowed to record voters who receive help filling out their ballots at a polling place. Drive-thru voting would be outlawed. And local election officials may be forbidden from encouraging Texans to fill out applications to vote by mail, even if they meet the state’s strict eligibility rules.

Betsy Shirley 3-19-2021

iku4 / Shutterstock.com

In Shakespeare's plays as in real life: When evil makes itself known, pay attention.

A view of the Gold Spa after deadly shootings at three day spas, in Atlanta, Ga., on March 17, 2021. REUTERS/Dustin Chambers

Eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, were shot dead in a string of attacks at day spas in and around Atlanta, and a man suspected of carrying out the shootings was arrested in southern Georgia, police said.

Pope Francis listens during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on March 14, 2021. Tiziana Fabi/Pool via REUTERS

The ruling was a response to practices in some countries where parishes and ministers have begun blessing same-sex unions.

Betsy Shirley 3-12-2021

 A year ago, I thought it’d be a stretch to get most folks to take abolition seriously. Then the pandemic hit.

Mitchell Atencio 3-11-2021

For Christians who reject Dave Ramsey’s financial advice and the theology that supports it, it’s not always clear where to find alternatives.

Mitchell Atencio 3-08-2021

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) speaks with reporters as he arrives for a vote in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Feb. 8, 2021. REUTERS/Al Drago

For the last decade, Black Lives Matter organizers and other activists have cultivated a renewed energy toward addressing racism in America. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) hopes to channel that energy through legislation that would overhaul the U.S. Department of Agriculture, known colloquially as “the last plantation.”

Betsy Shirley 3-05-2021

Stories for all of us who’ve had the courage to admit that nope, we’re not okay, and this is hard.

Jenna Barnett 2-26-2021

Numbers like 500,000, hard as they are to grasp, are necessary for grieving.

Mitchell Atencio 2-22-2021

Semler's EP, Preacher's Kid (unholy demos), topped iTunes Christian charts after its release in February. Photo by Molly Adams, courtesy of Semler.

The contemporary Christian music industry has been adamantly opposed to affirming LGBTQ+ people. But Semler's EP Preacher's dares to include songs about queer sexuality, lesbian weddings, and Christian faith.