Photo via RNS/Reuters/Carlos Barria

“America is a deeply religious country because religious freedom and tolerance of divergent religious views thrive. President Trump’s efforts to promote religious freedom are thinly-veiled efforts to unleash his conservative religious base into the political arena while also using religion to discriminate. It’s a dual dose of pandering to a base and denying reproductive care.”

Image via Reuters/Randall Hill (left) and Gregorio Borgia (right)

During his early morning visit to the Vatican, Trump will also meet the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, who is responsible for the Holy See’s relations with states.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan smiles as he departs a meeting at the U.S. Capitol before a vote to repeal Obamacare May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

After months of internal discord, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, which they have been attacking since it was enacted in 2010. Two attempts in recent weeks to pass an overhaul bill had collapsed in confusion, but Republicans overcame their differences in a 217-213 vote that will send the bill to the Senate, where its outlook was uncertain.

Trump will mark the National Day of Prayer by issuing guidance to federal agencies like the Treasury Department on how to interpret a law that says churches and religious organizations risk losing their tax-exempt status if they participate in political campaigns.

Bobby Ross Jr. 5-03-2017

Image via RNS/Bobby Ross Jr.

“Many of the findings of the commission’s year-long investigation were disturbing, and led commission members to question whether the death penalty can be administered in a way that ensures no innocent person is put to death,” according to the in-depth report.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany

The global growth of Islam, and in particular the rise of Islamic extremism, have forced recent popes to set out, with increasing urgency, a strategy for engaging the religion.

the Web Editors 5-03-2017

Image via EQRoy/Shutterstock.com

“The magnitude of his horrible actions cannot be overstated,” said a statement released from the family of Jordan Edwards. The family has called for murder charges to be brought against Oliver. According to the Dallas Police Department, the car Edwards was in drove away from police when it was ordered to stop, and the officers encountered the car as they were responding to gunshots in the area.

Hannah Critchfield 5-02-2017

Chemberly Cummings, being sworn in as member of the Normal Town Council. Photo courtesy Chemberly Cummings.

When Arlene Hosea’s mother came to Normal, Ill., in the 1930s, she could not use a public swimming pool unless it was specifically designated as “colored.” This month, her daughter will take office as a Normal Township Trustee — the first person of color to ever hold the position. Arlene, the recently retired director of Illinois State University’s dining services, is one of two black women to have run for office in the city’s local elections last month. The other, Chemberly Cummings, is also the first person of color to serve in her position — yesterday, she was sworn is as a member of the Normal Town Council.

the Web Editors 5-02-2017

Image via REUTERS/Randall Hill/File Photo

The civil rights case of Slager's involvement in Scott's death was slated to go to trial later this month. Slager faces several charges in the death of Walter Scott, including lying to fellow law enforcement officers about details of the incident. Moments following Walter Scott’s death were captured on video, and in the video Slager places an object besides Scott’s body — suspected to be his Taser, which would go against Slager’s account that Scott took Slager’s Taser.

Image via DVIDSHUB/flickr.com

Ahmed Abdelsattar was 14 when Islamic State swept into Mosul and declared a caliphate in 2014. Fearing he would be indoctrinated and sent to fight by the militants, his parents took him out of school.

Three years later, he sells ice cream at a refugee camp for internally displaced Iraqis. His family have lost their home, and his father is too old for the manual labor positions at the camp, which means he is his family's sole breadwinner.

the Web Editors 5-02-2017

Jimmy Kimmel on Monday night offered a heartfelt story about his newborn's birth and health complications.

"If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make. I think that's something that if you're a Republican, Democrat, or something else we all agree on that right?" he said in his tearful monologue.

Image via Mike DuBose/ RNS

“They’ve made it even tougher for LGBTQI people to serve the church they love — to follow God’s call to serve in this church. And it gives anyone the opportunity to file a complaint, to do a witch hunt, to do searches online of marriage certificates. It raises a veil of suspicion on people’s humanity, and that’s not the gospel,” Oliveto said.

Lucy Hadley 5-01-2017

Photo via Dhanya Addanki/ Sojourners 

Labor unions have organized May 1 marches for more than a century, rallying support for shorter work hours, benefits, and safe working conditions. This year, for the first time, they are explicitly partnering with immigrants’ rights groups for the May 1st action.

Image via RNS/UMNS/Mike DuBose

The United Methodist Church’s top court has ruled that the consecration of an openly gay pastor as bishop is against church law.

But, in a somewhat muddled ruling that could reflect the ongoing struggle to determine how great a role LGBTQ members can play in the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., the court also ruled that the Rev. Karen Oliveto, its first openly gay bishop, “remains in good standing.”

the Web Editors 4-30-2017

Jerry Falwell Jr., president of evangelical Liberty University and early supporter of then-candidate Donald Trump, said in an interview with Fox News' Jeanine Pirro on Friday that evangelicals "have found their dream president."  The interview centered on how Trump was faring with evangelicals at his 100-day mark and pointed to the latest polling: Three-quarters of white evangelicals still back Trump, according to the most recent Pew Research findings, and that statistic is highest, at 80 percent, for those who attend church at least once a month. That's consistent with exit polling that found 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump.

Pope Francis talks to journalists during a press conference on his return flight from Cairo to Rome April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Gregorio Borgia/Pool

Pope Francis said on Saturday a third country, such as Norway, should try to mediate the dispute between North Korea and Washington, to cool a situation that had become "too hot" and posed the risk of nuclear devastation. Francis said he believed "a good part of humanity" would be destroyed in any widespread war.

Demonstrators march down Pennsylvania Avenue during a People's Climate March. April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Protesters marched in Washington on a second consecutive Saturday to challenge President Donald Trump's stance on the environment and call on him to stand by policies to stop climate change championed by his predecessor. Thousands of people gathered for the afternoon march from the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to the White House, an event that coincides with the completion of Trump's first 100 days in office and the end of the traditional "honeymoon" period for a new president.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets Pope Francis upon his arrival to Cairo, Egypt April 28, 2017. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

Pope Francis, starting a two-day visit to Egypt, urged Muslim leaders on Friday to unite in renouncing religious extremism at a time when Islamist militants are targeting ancient Christian communities across the Middle East. Francis's trip, aimed at improving Christian-Muslim ties, comes just three weeks after Islamic State suicide bombers killed at least 45 people in two Egyptian churches.

the Web Editors 4-28-2017

1. How to Talk to Climate Change Skeptics in Your Church
This weekend, the People’s Climate March hits Washington, D.C., and sister marches are planned throughout the country. But 7 in 10 people don’t talk about climate change with friends and family. Here’s how to start.

2. Women Are Dying Because Doctors Treat Us Like Men
Marie Claire’s Kayla Webley Adler digs into the systemic reasons behind why female patients' symptoms are less likely to be taken seriously by doctors, and women are more likely to be misdiagnosed, have their symptoms go unrecognized, or be told what they're experiencing is psychosomatic.

Any anti-sanctuary city measure may face a tough road after a federal judge this week blocked Trump's executive order seeking to withhold funds from local authorities that do not use their resources to advance federal immigration laws.

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