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.

U.S. Capitol is seen after the House approved a bill to repeal major parts of Obamacare. May 4. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

A seven-year push by U.S. Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and kill the taxes it imposed on the wealthy will reach a critical juncture on Thursday when Senate Republican leaders unveil a draft bill they aim to put to a vote, possibly as early as next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his lieutenants have worked in secret for weeks on the bill, which is expected to curb Obamacare's expanded Medicaid help for the poor and reshape subsidies to low-income people for private insurance.

Image via Adelle M. Banks/ RNS 

“The Church has both the unique ability and unparalleled capacity to confront the staggering crisis of crime and incarceration in America,” the declaration reads, “and to respond with restorative solutions for communities, victims, and individuals responsible for crime.”

Hanaa Youssef and Mina Habib hold the victim's portrait in Minya, Egypt June 8. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egyptian schoolboy Mina Habib rarely leaves his house these days. The 10-year-old is still recovering from seeing Islamist gunmen kill his father for being Christian. In an attack claimed by Islamic State, gunmen ambushed a group of Coptic Christians traveling to a monastery in Minya in southern Egypt last month, killing 29 and wounding 24, with Mina's father Adel among the dead.

A woman protestson the capitol steps after a jury found Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the death of Castile, in St. Paul, Minn. REUTERS/Eric Miller

Video footage of the fatal shooting of a black motorist by a Minnesota police officer released on Tuesday showed how quickly the incident unfolded but shed no light on whether the victim had reached for the gun he told the officer he was carrying.

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