On June 3, the United Church of Christ passed a resolution on climate change in which they criticized President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord agreement, reports the Boston Globe.
In approving the resolution, the United Church of Christ may have become the first U.S. Christian denomination to officially stand against President Trump’s decision. The resolution asks for people of faith to also take a stand.
At a Fourth of July concert hosted by First Baptist Church Dallas at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., President Trump pledged never to forget the men and women who have served in the U.S. military — or the people of faith who put him in the White House.
“My administration will always support and defend your religious liberty,” Trump said at the event on July 1. “We don’t want to see God forced out of the public square, driven out of our schools, or pushed out of our civic life.”
Christian universities are a sizable business in the United States — the National Center for Education Statistics counts nearly 600 Christian colleges and universities nationally. Title IX makes it illegal for schools to discriminate on the basis of sex, but private universities can apply for an exemption from parts of the law they claim conflict with their religious beliefs. And while many schools seek religious exemptions from nondiscrimination, particularly on beliefs around LGBTQ individuals, entrenched beliefs at many institutions regarding female leadership continue to affect their students.
On June 30, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages do not have a right to spousal benefits, reports the Austin American-Statesman.
The decision of the Texas Supreme Court, which consists entirely of Republican members, affects the legal status of same-sex marriages in Texas, and potentially defies the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 affirmation of same-sex marriages.
On Monday, the Supreme Court said it would rule on the executive order in its next term; in the meantime, the order could go into effect — with exceptions. Federal officials could not keep out of the country people who had been accepted to a U.S. school, offered a job by an employer, or enjoy a “bona fide relationship” with a person in the United States.
Researchers also asked about what people think motivates religious believers who oppose sexual freedom. Almost half — 49 percent — said faith is the motivator. A fifth — 20 percent — said the motivator is hate. Another 31 percent were not sure.
Pope Francis has defrocked an Italian priest who was found guilty of child sex abuse, three years after overturning predecessor Benedict XVI’s decision to do the same after allegations against the priest first came to light.
Mauro Inzoli, 67, was initially defrocked in 2012, after he was first accused of abusing minors, but Francis reversed that decision in 2014, ordering the priest to stay away from children and retire to “a life of prayer and humble discretion.”
One of the most senior officials in the Vatican took a leave of absence and pledged to defend his name after being charged with multiple historical sex crimes in Australia.
Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis’ most trusted advisors and head of the Holy See’s finance department, is the highest ranking official in the Catholic Church to face abuse charges.
An Arizona pastor and immigrant advocate has been elected as the first woman president of the Unitarian Universalist Association. The election of the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray on Saturday follows the resignation of the Rev. Peter Morales, who left office in April three months short of the end of his second term amid controversy about diversity in the UUA.
Sessions v. Dimaya
This case concerns the scope and definition of a federal immigration statute that allows deportation of non-citizens who committed an “aggravated felony.” An immigration court ruled that burglary constituted a “crime of violence,” but the Ninth Circuit Court reversed the immigration court’s decisions, stating that the term “crime of violence” is unconstitutionally vague.
White evangelical Christians were the most opposed to same-sex marriage, with 35 percent approving it, but the support more than doubled from 14 percent a decade ago. Younger evangelicals were far more supportive, with 47 percent of those born since 1964 approving gay marriages, compared with 26 percent of their older counterparts.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has decided to put off a planned vote on a health care bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act until after the July 4 recess, CNN reported on Tuesday. McConnell and other Republican leaders have been pressing to round up enough support for the healthcare legislation, but still appeared to be several votes short.
For Christians, interpretations of what the Bible says about capital punishment vary significantly. But many Christian leaders — from mainline Protestants and Catholics to evangelicals — take a strong stance against capital punishment.
A federal judge halted late on Monday the deportation of all Iraqi nationals detained during immigration sweeps across the United States this month until at least July 10, expanding a stay he imposed last week. The stay had initially only protected 114 detainees from the Detroit area.
Identifying as a "progressive Christian and Democrat," Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware offered what he believes is the answer to hyperpartisanship and a deadocked Congress: prayer.
Coons, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday, pointed to the Senate's weekly prayer breakfast he attends each week as something that gives him hope for progress through partisan division. He said about two dozen people of all faiths gather for an hour to do two uncommon things: "We trust each other and we listen ... And out of that experience has come the greatest opportunities for bipartisanship and progress that I've had in seven years."
The Supreme Court has ruled for a Missouri church that claimed religious discrimination after it was refused state funds to improve its playground.
Ruling 7-2, the court on June 26 determined that the state had unfairly denied funds for Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia under the First Amendment’s free exercise clause.
The court ruled that Trump may bar people from six majority Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — if they have no “bona fide” relationship to the U.S. Those that have established ties will be allowed to continue entering the country.
That means officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department will have to begin sorting through each application submitted by travelers from the six targeted countries to determine if they have enough of a link to the U.S. to enter.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear during its next term a case regarding President Trump’s ban on travel into the U.S. for people from six countries whose populations are majorly Muslim. In doing so, the Supreme Court permitted a revised version of President Trump’s ban to go into effect immediately until the case is heard. The Supreme Court’s next term will begin in October.
Editor's Note: On June 21, the day before Senate Republicans released the text of their health care plan, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) spoke at The Summit, Sojourners' annual gathering of faith and justice leaders, about the Christian call to recognize the inherent human dignity in those who would be most affected by drastic health care cuts. At the link is the full text of his remarks, as prepared for delivery.
In a political environment in which the anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S. is particularly strong, and Europe is facing backlash against refugees and minority populations, a timely new anthology, Mirror on the Veil, offers a refreshing and important look at the very visible practice of veiling among Muslim women.