the Web Editors 6-30-2017

Image via Kokoulina/Shutterstock.com

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.

Image via Dustin Pearlman/RNS

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.

Image via RNS/LifeWay Research

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.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Tony Gentile

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.”

Image via RNS/Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

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.

The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray steps to the podium as the newly elected president of the Unitarian Universalist Association during the 2017 General Assembly on June 24, 2017, in New Orleans. Photo courtesy of UU World/Nancy Pierce

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.

Lucy Hadley 6-27-2017

Image via Dhanya Addanki/ Sojourners 

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.

A man sells rainbow flags near The Stonewall Inn, on the eve of the LGBT Pride March, in the Greenwich Village section of New York City, June 24. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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.

the Web Editors 6-27-2017

Attendees and featured speakers at The Summit call senators' offices to oppose the health care bill. JP Keenan/Sojourners

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.

Dhanya Addanki 6-27-2017

Image via Jp Keenan/ Sojourners 

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.

Protesters rally outside the federal court just before a hearing to consider a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Iraqi nationals facing deportation, in Detroit, June 21. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

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.

the Web Editors 6-27-2017

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) at the Aspen Ideas Festival June 26.

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."

Image via RNS/Sally Morrow

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.

Alan Gomez 6-26-2017

Image via RNS/Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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.

the Web Editors 6-26-2017

Image via Rena Schild/Shutterstock.com

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.

the Web Editors 6-26-2017

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.

 

Saadia Faruqi 6-23-2017

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.

the Web Editors 6-23-2017

1. Here’s What You Can Do Now About the Senate Health Care Bill
“At The Summit, Sojourners' annual gathering of leaders from across the country, attendees spent Friday morning calling their senators, demanding they vote against the bill — which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to push through next week, before the July 4 recess. Those gathered are calling on their constituents to do the same. Here's how.”

2. The Literal Whitewashing of Chicago’s Latino Murals
The increasing gentrification of the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago favors luxury condos over iconic images of Frida Kahlo, Emiliano Zapata, Subcomandante Marcos, and César Chávez.

Protesters rally outside the federal court just before a hearing to consider a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Iraqi nationals facing deportation, in Detroit, June 21. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

A U.S. district court judge in Michigan has temporarily blocked the deportations of more than 100 Iraqi nationals until a decision is reached over who has jurisdiction over the matter, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

A protester is escorted by police after being arrested during a demonstration outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's constituent office.  June 22. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Senate leaders on Thursday unveiled a draft of legislation to replace Obamacare, proposing to kill a tax on the wealthy that pays for it and reduce aid to the poor to cut costs.

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