Image via RNS/Reuters/Fayaz Aziz

Within 20 years, the number of Muslim babies being born is expected to surpass Christian births — though there will still be more Christians in the world. Muslims currently account for about 24 percent of the world population, compared to 31 percent for Christians, according to the Pew Research Center.

Image via REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan/File Photo.

On April 19, the court will hear a religious rights case in which a church contends Missouri violated the Constitution's guarantee of religious freedom by denying it funds for a playground project due to a state ban on aid to religious organizations.

Gorsuch has ruled several times in favor of expansive religious rights during his decade as a judge.

"Given Gorsuch's solicitude for religious liberty, his joining the court can only help the church," said Ilya Shapiro, a lawyer with the libertarian Cato Institute think tank.

A man breathes through an oxygen mask as another one receives treatments, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

A suspected Syrian government chemical attack killed scores of people, including children, in the northwestern province of Idlib on Tuesday, a monitoring group, medics, and rescue workers in the rebel-held area said. The U.S. government believes the chemical agent sarin was used in the attack, a U.S. government source said, adding it was "almost certainly" carried out by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

the Web Editors 4-04-2017

Image via Jessica Cobian/Sojourners

 The vigil, organized by the DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network, was served to publicly accompany Veronica to her hearing — one key tenet of providing sanctuary, immigration activists say. Advocates pledged to stay at the ICE offices until her appointment was complete.

Image via RNS/Tom Gallagher

With the blessing of Pope Francis, Cardinal Blase Cupich on April 4 unveiled an anti-violence initiative for this beleaguered city that will be underscored by a Good Friday procession, using the traditional stations of Jesus’ way to the cross to commemorate those who have lost their lives in street violence.

Cupich said he was inviting civic, education, and religious leaders, and “all people of good will,” to take part in the April 14 “Peace Walk” through the heart of the violence-scarred Englewood neighborhood.

Image via The Associated Press  

Sen. Todd Gardenhire, a Chattanooga Republican and the bill's sponsor in the Senate, notes that the state has already invested in the students by paying for their K-12 education, and that some have lived in Tennessee as long as their counterparts who are U.S. citizens. Yet they are required to pay three times what other in-state students pay to attend college, he said.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jim Bourg

A New Jersey teen pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to terrorists, in what media called an ISIS-inspired effort to kill Pope Francis in 2015 during a public Mass in Philadelphia, according to a statement by federal prosecutors.

Image via RNS/UUA/Nancy Pierce

The Rev. Peter Morales, the first Latino president of the liberal and theologically diverse association, resigned effective on April 1, as criticism mounted over hiring practices.

“It is clear to me that I am not the right person to lead our Association as we work together to create the processes and structures that will address our shortcomings and build the diverse staff we all want,” he wrote in his March 30 resignation letter to the UUA’s trustee board.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican committee member, expressed regret that his party would be forced to change the Senate rules and said the "damage done to the Senate's going to be real."

"If we have to, we will change the rules, and it looks like we're going to have to. I hate that. I really, really do," Graham said.

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Germany has no plans to introduce an "Islam law'"codifying the rights and obligations of Muslims, a government spokesman said on April 3, dismissing an idea floated by allies of Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of federal elections in September.

Merkel, who will seek a fourth term in what is expected to be a close-fought ballot, has come under fire for opening Germany's doors to refugees, more than one million of whom — mostly Muslims — have entered the country over the past two years.

the Web Editors 4-03-2017

Wilson and Jones’ data reflects that, in 2015 — just as in 1975 — poor black Americans worked more hours than poor white Americans. It also reflects that the labor of black women who work low-wage jobs has increased larger than the labor of any other demographic studied by Wilson and Jones, even demographics that are combinations of racial, gender, and income. Black woman with low-wage jobs have increased their hours of labor since 1979 by 30 percent.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Carlo Allegri

The centerpiece of President Trump’s religious freedom agenda, and the carrot he often dangled in front of Christian leaders as he sought their support during the campaign, was a pledge to overturn a 1954 law that says houses of worship can lose their tax-exempt status if they engage in partisan campaigning.

But a new survey of evangelical leaders — mainly pastors whose flocks were crucial to Trump’s victory in November — shows that close to 90 percent of those asked opposed the idea of clergy endorsing politicians from the pulpit.

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

Since winning the election with strong support from conservative evangelical voters, President Trump has invited their leaders to the White House, and banned government funding for groups that support or perform abortions overseas.

But he has yet to move on one item that many of them care about.

No one has been named to direct the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which, since 2001, has linked government with a broad range of religious groups.

Image via RNS/Adelle M. Banks

A national prison ministry is joining forces with conservative and liberal groups to call on church leaders and politicians to give former prisoners a second chance at normal lives.

“We believe people with a past can rise from their failure, repay their debt, and restore and heal our communities that are affected by crime,” said Craig DeRoche, senior vice president of Prison Fellowship, as he launched the first “Second Chance Month.”

Image via JP Keenan/ Sojourners 

The financial rating firm said on Thursday that an analysis of 10 large so-called sanctuary jurisdictions found the Justice Department funds made up on only 0.2 percent of budgets, on average.

the Web Editors 3-31-2017

4. I Loved My Grandmother. But She Was a Nazi.
“My grandmother heard what she wanted from a leader who promised simple answers to complicated questions. She chose not to hear and see the monstrous sum those answers added up to. And she lived the rest of her life with the knowledge of her indefensible complicity.”

5. Why Is It Difficult to Get Christians to Care About the Earth?
This week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order gutting the Obama administration’s environmental safeguards. While it’s easy for news to get buried amid all the noise, this one didn’t seem to register for Christians. What gives?

6. These Border Bids Are Subtle Resistance to Trump’s Wall
A wall built out of Legos? Cacti? Theater stages? They’re creative. They also clog the procurement process.

Image via RNS/Reuters/David Becker

A recent Washington Post profile of Karen Pence mentioned that her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, never eats alone with another woman or goes without her to events where alcohol is being served.

Twitter erupted with outrage and ridicule.

But the Indiana Republican’s practice is not unusual in many conservative Christian circles. As Emma Green pointed out in The Atlantic, it likely stems from something called “the Billy Graham Rule,” named for the 98-year-old international evangelist. Nor is it that much different in intention from the practices of conservative Jews and Muslims.

Image via RNS/Graphic courtesy of LifeWay Research

“It seems like most congregations are eager for somebody else to do the work of reconciliation,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, “rather than embrace it for themselves.”

The vast majority of pastors (90 percent) said their churches would welcome a sermon about racial reconciliation. But almost three-quarters of pastors — 73 percent — say they have not been encouraged by church leaders to preach about reconciliation. A quarter (26 percent) said they have been urged to address the issue from the pulpit.

the Web Editors 3-30-2017

In the last year, dozens of organizations — from Google, Apple, and Microsoft to the NBA, Bruce Springsteen, and Nick Jonas — have pulled their money from the state in protest of the bill. Word of the new deal reportedly came hours before the NCAA was set to pull any future championship basketball games from the state for the foreseeable future. 

Image via RNS/Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World

With ashes on their foreheads, sackcloth draped around their necks, and the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop, Christians leaders used the words “evil” and “immoral” to describe the federal budget cuts President Trump has proposed and many Republican lawmakers favor.

“It is a time for lamentation,” said the Rev. David Beckmann, explaining the symbols of grief the clergy brought to Capitol Hill on March 29.

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