Kietryn Zychal 2-28-2019

Image via Kietryn Zychal 

Inside the court, the arguments were more complicated and hinged on previous decisions about the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Justices questioned what constitutes an endorsement of religion? Which precedents from which cases should apply?

the Web Editors 2-26-2019

Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

The decision-making body of the United Methodist Church on Tuesday voted to clarify and strengthen the restrictions on LGBTQ members, in a plan that many observers say is unconstitutional. The Traditional Plan passed by a vote of 438-384.



Kietryn Zychal 2-25-2019

Image via Rebecca Drobis

CNN commentator Van Jones, co-founder of #cut50, an initiative to reduce the prison population, moderated a Saturday morning panel at the annual winter meeting of governors. Jones worked with the Trump administration to rally support for the First Step Act, which the president signed into law in December. Jones called Republican Gov. Phil Bryant “our secret weapon” in convincing Donald Trump to support the criminal justice reform bill.

Alessandro Battaglia, a survivor of sexual abuse reacts as founding member of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse) Denise Buchanan looks on, in front of Saint Peter's Square. Feb. 24, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

Pope Francis ended his conference on the sexual abuse of children by clergy on Sunday by calling for an "all-out battle" against a crime that should be "erased from the face of the earth." But victims and their advocates expressed deep disappointment, saying Francis had merely repeated old promises and offered few new concrete proposals.


Pope Francis attends the four-day meeting on the global sexual abuse crisis, at the Vatican Feb. 22, 2019. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS

A nun and a woman journalist delivered the toughest criticism of Church leaders heard so far at Pope Francis' sexual abuse conference on Saturday, accusing them of hypocrisy and covering up horrendous crimes against children.

Demonstrators carry a crucifix while clashing with security forces in Urena, Venezuela, February 23, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

The clashes occurred as Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who most Western nations recognize as Venezuela's legitimate leader, gave a personal send off to an aid caravan from the Colombian city of Cucuta.

A concrete cross commemorating servicemen killed in World War 1 in Bladensburg, Md. Feb. 11, 2019.REUTERS/Lawrence Hurley

While the Establishment Clause's scope is a matter of dispute, most Supreme Court experts predict the challenge to the Peace Cross will fail, with the justices potentially setting a new precedent allowing greater government involvement in religious expression.

Pope Francis attends the four-day meeting on the global sexual abuse crisis at the Vatican. Feb. 21, 2019. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS

Pope Francis promised that concrete actions against child sexual abuse by priests would result from a conference he opened on Thursday, countering scepticism among survivors who said the meeting looked like a public relations exercise.

Megan Janetsky 2-21-2019

Newly arrived Venezuelans wait to be served at Casa de Paso Divina Providencia, a migrant shelter in Cúcuta, Colombia, along the Venezuela border, on Feb. 8, 2019. Photo by Megan Janetsky for Sojourners.

Around 42,000 Venezuelans cross Cúcuta’s border bridge every day, some fleeing with bags hoisted on their backs and others like Godoy, simply trying to get food and medicine. The exodus has overwhelmed aid organizations like Red Cross and the United Nation’s refugee agency, whose facilities have been filled to the brim in places like the Cúcuta border. More and more migrants flock to the city every day, especially now as political conflicts between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and new opposition leader Juan Guaidó have reached a head.

Rishika Pardikar 2-20-2019

"The thing I'm most worried about is that if [the Taliban] return, I'll not be able to continue playing music," said Maram Atayee, a 16-year-old pianist who attends music school in Kabul.  REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Late last month, it was reported that the U.S. and the Taliban have agreed in principle to the framework of a deal that could potentially end the 17-year war that began in 2001 when the U.S., with the strength of NATO forces, invaded and began occupying Afghanistan. In the lead up to war, leaders cited concerns about human rights, specifically women’s rights.

the Web Editors 2-19-2019


The announcement follows a stunning report on hundreds of sexual abuse and misconduct cases in the Southern Baptist Church.

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Mitch McConnell listens to U.S. President Donald Trump at a meeting at the White House. Sept. 5, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

President Donald Trump vowed on Thursday to declare a national emergency in an attempt to fund his U.S.-Mexico border wall without congressional approval, a step likely to plunge him into a court battle with Congress over constitutional powers.

The initials of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a placard are placed on the fence at Park Trails Elementary School, following a mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlin

One year after the Valentine's Day massacre inside a Florida school, students and families leading a nationwide push for gun safety will pause on Thursday for the anniversary of the deadliest U.S. high school shooting.

Many students were expected to stay home from a shortened class day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a former student with an assault gun killed 17 people on Feb. 14, 2018.

Jessica Floyd 2-12-2019

Image via Jessica Floyd 

“The timing is right,” said Espaillat, noting that a delayed State of the Union ended up being well-timed with this pre-planned event. “Immigration will obviously have a keen interest among the participants because many folks came here undocumented or many folks are still trying to reunite with their families or are in transition with regards to their DACA status.”

the Web Editors 2-08-2019

Light from the setting sun shines on the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

A Muslim man was executed in Alabama on Thursday, as originally scheduled, after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the execution, denying his request for an imam's presence in the execution chamber.

Attorneys for Domineque Ray, 42, had argued that Alabama's execution policy favored Christian inmates because a chaplain is allowed in the room, often kneeling next to the death row prisoner, and praying with the inmate if requested.

the Web Editors 2-06-2019

Image via Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS

He pointed out that this is not a new problem, confirming that the Catholic Church knew about the abuses against nuns even if the public did not.

Pope Francis arrives at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 4, 2019. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis denounced the "logic of armed power" in Yemen, Syria, and other Middle East wars on Monday on a landmark visit to the Arabian peninsula where Islam emerged, telling Christians and Muslims that conflicts brought nothing but misery and death.

Bryan Wood 2-01-2019

Image via Sandor Szmutko/Shutterstock 

“The queer community in Chechnya is small, so if one was reported by their family member, they would be tortured to release the information of other gay people,” said Lyosha Gorshkov, the co-president of the Russian LGBT Network. “Many were kept in a basement for a couple of weeks and subjected to humiliation, torture, rape, electric shock. Some reportedly committed suicide."

Expat worshippers pray at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic church in Jebel Ali, as Catholics are awaiting a historical visit by Pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates, in Dubai, UAE Jan. 18, 2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Pope Francis is hoping to persuade a country enmeshed in a regional war that he has condemned to give Catholics more freedom when he becomes the first pontiff to set foot on the Arabian Peninsula. 

Image via MDay Photography/Shutterstock 

The National Climate Assessment, jointly released by 13 federal agencies in November, affirmed this risk, noting that across all climate risks, “low-income communities, some communities of color, and those experiencing discrimination are disproportionately affected by extreme weather and climate events, partially because they are often excluded in planning processes.”