the Web Editors 5-09-2018

Acting CIA Director Gina Haspel is sworn in prior to testifying at her Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Haspel reportedly led a secret black site in Thailand where torture techniques were used on detainees. She also played a role in destroying videos documenting the torture of detainees, specifically ones tied to the 9/11 attacks.

"This does not establish justice, its establishes injustice," Rev. Barber said, riffing on the Preamble of the Constitution. "This does not provide for the common defense, because it takes away defense from the poorest among us … This does not promote the general welfare, it promotes harm for the least of these."

A file photo of a girl picking up a cupcake as she breaks fast at King Fahad Mosque in Los Angeles, California during Ramadan. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Ramadan is a period of fasting and spiritual growth, and is one of the five “pillars of Islam” (the others being the declaration of faith, daily prayer, alms-giving, and the pilgrimage to Mecca). Able-bodied Muslims are expected to abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from dawn to sunset each day of the month.

Photo via SEPAsynod video

First, delegates chose the Rev. Patricia A. Davenport for the office of bishop in Southeastern Pennsylvania, a synod that includes Philadelphia. Then on Sunday, delegates voted for the Rev. Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld, a pastor in Beloit, Wis., to become bishop-elect for the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin.

the Web Editors 5-07-2018

Image via RNS/Adelle M. Banks 

The letter was published May 6 in the wake of a video of Patterson making objectifying comments about a teenage girl in a 2014 sermon and the surfacing of an audio recording of Patterson advising victims of domestic violence not to divorce their spouses. 

Image via Emily McFarlan Miller / RNS

But since the 2016 meeting, many of its smaller U.S. jurisdictions and regional bodies, called annual conferences, have made their own decisions regarding LGBT clergy. Last year, the Mountain Sky Conference elected Karen Oliveto, a married lesbian, as the denomination’s first openly LGBT bishop.

Derek Burnett 5-06-2018

Illustrations by J.D. Reeves

In today’s model, sanctuary functions as a safety valve, a moral check on the state’s pursuit of its own narrow economic and political interests. An increasingly secular state is therefore a driving force behind the practice of sanctuary. Yet the Catch-22 is that a too-secular society will no longer honor the sanctity of the house of worship. Effective church sanctuary, then, rests on a knife’s edge: It requires a Goldilocks zone in which a society is just inhumane enough to ignore the suffering of vulnerable strangers, rendering sanctuary necessary, but just humane enough to refrain from violating the sanctity of its faith communities, rendering sanctuary ineffectual. Not every country in the world exists in that Goldilocks zone.

Image via Stephen Melkisethian / Flickr

Portman’s protest touched a raw nerve not just because of who she is – a world-famous Jewish celebrity and a well-known supporter of Israel – but also because of whom she is seen to represent. Her outspoken opposition to Netanyahu has been portrayed as typical of her generation of young American Jews whose attitudes toward Israel tend to be more critical than that of their parents and grandparents.

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

The White House said those working on the initiative will provide policy recommendations from faith-based and community programs on “more effective solutions to poverty” and inform the administration of “any failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty protections under law.”

Image via ISPU / RNS

“The vast number of Muslims say being an American is important to how they think of themselves,” said Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the ISPU. “They also say that being a Muslim is important to how they think of themselves. When you look at those identity factors, they’re actually mutually reinforcing — meaning, if you have a higher Muslim identity, you are actually more likely to have a stronger American identity. They’re not in competition.”

Aerial view of National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and organizations promoting atheism, agnosticism, and humanism announced the creation this week of the first Congressional Freethought Caucus.

Image via United Nations Photo / Flickr

A crowd of thousands of angry, shouting protesters gathered as his body, covered by a sheet, was carried on a makeshift stretcher along dirt streets to the presidential palace, a Reuters witness said.

Participants take part in a march in Phoenix, Ariz., April 26, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. Christy Chavis/File Photo via REUTERS

It has been called the "Teachers' Spring" in the United States, with educators from five states staging an unprecedented wave of protests demanding increases in pay and school budgets.

A sign reading "Central American migrants, free transit, stop deportations" is seen as members of a caravan of migrants from Central America and activists sit on the border fence between Mexico and the U.S., as a part of a demonstration prior to preparations for an asylum request in the U.S., in Tijuana, Mexico April 29, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

"I'm nervous. I'm afraid," said Linda Sonigo, 40, walking solemnly toward the U.S. gate with her two-year-old granddaughter in her arms. "I'm afraid they'll separate us," she said, motioning to her two children and grandchild.

The Rev. James Cone. Image courtesy of Union Theological Seminary

James H. Cone, the scholar known as the “founder of black liberation theology,” died April 28, Union Theological Seminary announced. He was 79.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters

Moon greeted Kim at the military demarcation line where the men smiled and shook hands. In an unplanned move, Kim invited Moon to step briefly across into North Korea, before the two leaders crossed back into South Korea holding hands.

Bill Cosby reacts while being notified a verdict is in at the Montgomery County Courthouse in his sexual assault retrial, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 26, 2018. Mark Makela/Pool via Reuters

A former administrator for the women's basketball team at Temple University, Cosby's alma mater, Constand is one of about 50 women who have accused him of sexual assault. All of the other allegations are believed to be too old to be prosecuted.

Image via Ricardo Camacho / Ohio Ministry Network

R. Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, said that the Assemblies of God, founded in 1914, has had a “fascinating history” of women’s leadership, with women leading congregations and speaking from pulpits in its early days and later often finding their roles restricted.

the Web Editors 4-25-2018

Activists and DACA recipients march up Broadway during the start of their 'Walk to Stay Home,' a five-day 250-mile walk from New York to Washington D.C., to demand that Congress pass a Clean Dream Act, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

“DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious because the Department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful,” Bates wrote in his opinion statement released Tuesday. “Neither the meager legal reasoning nor the assessment of litigation risk provided by DHS to support its rescission decision is sufficient to sustain termination of the DACA program.”

Elizabeth Beyer 4-25-2018

The Supreme Court on Tuesday debated whether new congressional districts drawn up in Texas constitute “racial gerrymandering” because they intentionally dilute the voting blocs of new Latino and black residents, a case that could have a lasting effect on how electoral districts are drawn.

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