Image via RNS/Creative Commons/DOD/C.M. Fitzpatrick

Since winning the election with strong support from conservative evangelical voters, President Trump has invited their leaders to the White House, and banned government funding for groups that support or perform abortions overseas.

But he has yet to move on one item that many of them care about.

No one has been named to direct the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which, since 2001, has linked government with a broad range of religious groups.

Image via RNS/Adelle M. Banks

A national prison ministry is joining forces with conservative and liberal groups to call on church leaders and politicians to give former prisoners a second chance at normal lives.

“We believe people with a past can rise from their failure, repay their debt, and restore and heal our communities that are affected by crime,” said Craig DeRoche, senior vice president of Prison Fellowship, as he launched the first “Second Chance Month.”

Image via JP Keenan/ Sojourners 

The financial rating firm said on Thursday that an analysis of 10 large so-called sanctuary jurisdictions found the Justice Department funds made up on only 0.2 percent of budgets, on average.

the Web Editors 3-31-2017

4. I Loved My Grandmother. But She Was a Nazi.
“My grandmother heard what she wanted from a leader who promised simple answers to complicated questions. She chose not to hear and see the monstrous sum those answers added up to. And she lived the rest of her life with the knowledge of her indefensible complicity.”

5. Why Is It Difficult to Get Christians to Care About the Earth?
This week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order gutting the Obama administration’s environmental safeguards. While it’s easy for news to get buried amid all the noise, this one didn’t seem to register for Christians. What gives?

6. These Border Bids Are Subtle Resistance to Trump’s Wall
A wall built out of Legos? Cacti? Theater stages? They’re creative. They also clog the procurement process.

Image via RNS/Reuters/David Becker

A recent Washington Post profile of Karen Pence mentioned that her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, never eats alone with another woman or goes without her to events where alcohol is being served.

Twitter erupted with outrage and ridicule.

But the Indiana Republican’s practice is not unusual in many conservative Christian circles. As Emma Green pointed out in The Atlantic, it likely stems from something called “the Billy Graham Rule,” named for the 98-year-old international evangelist. Nor is it that much different in intention from the practices of conservative Jews and Muslims.

Image via RNS/Graphic courtesy of LifeWay Research

“It seems like most congregations are eager for somebody else to do the work of reconciliation,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, “rather than embrace it for themselves.”

The vast majority of pastors (90 percent) said their churches would welcome a sermon about racial reconciliation. But almost three-quarters of pastors — 73 percent — say they have not been encouraged by church leaders to preach about reconciliation. A quarter (26 percent) said they have been urged to address the issue from the pulpit.

the Web Editors 3-30-2017

In the last year, dozens of organizations — from Google, Apple, and Microsoft to the NBA, Bruce Springsteen, and Nick Jonas — have pulled their money from the state in protest of the bill. Word of the new deal reportedly came hours before the NCAA was set to pull any future championship basketball games from the state for the foreseeable future. 

Image via RNS/Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World

With ashes on their foreheads, sackcloth draped around their necks, and the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop, Christians leaders used the words “evil” and “immoral” to describe the federal budget cuts President Trump has proposed and many Republican lawmakers favor.

“It is a time for lamentation,” said the Rev. David Beckmann, explaining the symbols of grief the clergy brought to Capitol Hill on March 29.

Tom James, Reuters 3-29-2017

The skyline of Seattle, Wash., is seen in a picture taken March 12, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File Photo

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told reporters the Constitution forbade the federal government from pressuring cities, “yet that is exactly what the president’s order does. Once again, this new administration has decided to bully.”

Image via RNS/Rome's Archaeological Superintendency

Italian archaeologists have discovered the remains of 38 skeletons buried in a Jewish cemetery in Rome more than 500 years ago, offering further evidence of their ubiquity and persecution under papal rule.

The well-preserved skeletons were found during excavations beneath a building, in an area identified on ancient maps as “Campus Iudeorum” — Latin for “Field of Jews” — in the Trastevere quarter of Rome, just across the Tiber River from the Italian capital.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up an executive order on "Energy Independence," eliminating Obama-era climate change regulations, during a signing ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe, located in southern Montana, said the administration lifted the moratorium without hearing the tribe's concerns about the impact the coal-leasing program has on the tribe, its members, and lands.

Image via RNS/Reuters/James Lawler Duggan

In Trump’s first nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, abortion foes were convinced they had the jurist who would fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to appoint justices who would deliver the reversal they have worked decades to achieve. But now, after last week’s hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, some are voicing concern that Gorsuch might not be such a reliable anti-Roe vote after all.

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis on Wednesday said it was "imperative and urgent" to protect civilians in Iraq, speaking as U.S. investigators looked into who caused an explosion in Mosul that killed scores of non-combatants. Addressing tens of thousands of people at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Francis said he was "concerned about civilian populations trapped in the neighborhoods of western Mosul."

Ahmed Pesher cries next to the destroyed houses where he says 23 members of his family were killed during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State on the western side of Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

Speaking from Baghdad to reporters at the Pentagon, the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said an ongoing investigation may reveal a more complicated explanation for the March 17 explosion that residents say killed at least 100 people, including the possibility that Islamic State militants rigged the building with explosives after forcing civilians inside.

Avery Davis 3-28-2017

The power of the order is found less in its immediate consequences, and more in its trajectory-setting results. While the world is slowly backing away from a crumbling cliff, this executive order represents a shift into drive to send the global climate hurtling toward the ledge.

Image via Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened on March 27 to cut off U.S. Justice Department grants to cities that fail to assist federal immigration authorities, moving the Trump administration closer to a potential clash with leaders of America's largest urban centers.

Sessions' statements were aimed at a dozens of cities and other local governments, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, that have joined a growing "sanctuary" movement aimed at shielding illegal immigrants from stepped-up deportation efforts.

Image via RNS/Emily McFarlan Miller

It was her desire to hear the stories of real people — “not just faceless refugees or immigrants” — that brought the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton to a refugee resettlement agency that provides a range of services to refugees in the Chicago area.

“Especially now, when there’s this fear that’s been stirred up, and anti-refugee sentiment, it’s really critical to say, ‘No, these people are our grandparents, our aunts and uncles,” said the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination.

Image via Reuters/Max Rossi

Pope Francis urged the United Nations on March 28 to seek the "total elimination" of nuclear weapons, speaking as the United States and some other major powers boycotted a conference considering a global ban.

In a message to the conference that started in New York on March 27, Francis called on nations to "go beyond nuclear deterrence" and have the courage to overcome the "fear and isolationism" he said was prevalent in many countries today.

Jera Brown 3-28-2017

Image via lobstar28/Flickr

In the wake of these threats, faith groups in Chicago have grown more intentional about coming together in solidarity — something many Jewish and Christian leaders alike credit to their religious teachings and their understanding of what it means to care for one's neighbor.

A suspect is shown in this still photo taken from surveillance video March 26, 2017 in Fort Collins, Colo. Courtesy Fort Collins Police Services/Handout via REUTERS

Investigators in Colorado searched on Monday for a man suspected of hurling a “biblical text” inside a mosque after smashing windows and a glass door of the Islamic center and overturning furniture inside, police said.

 

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