Image via RNS/Emily McFarlan Miller

Does Pope Francis have a position on the Dakota Access Pipeline?

That’s one question he hasn’t been asked, and he might demur if pressed on such a specific issue. But in his landmark encyclical on the environment published last year, and in other statements, Francis has strongly supported arguments of the Native American-led resistance movement on three core issues: indigenous rights, water rights and protection of creation.

Image via RNS/Rev. Tuhina Verma Rasche and the Rev. Jason Chestnut

For many Christians who observe the liturgical season of Advent, leading up to Christmas, an Advent devotional is a beloved companion.

Such devotionals typically include a short Scripture reading and reflection on the birth of Jesus.

But most are “crap,” according to the Rev. Jason Chesnut of Baltimore.

Image via RNS/Doctors of the World

Don’t expect a peaceful scene of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus when you open a Christmas card from Doctors of the World.

The British branch of the humanitarian group has opted to set the characters of the creche in the midst of Mideast crises. On one card, Mary and Joseph are leaning over the baby Jesus, as a missile traverses a starry night.

“Christmas is a time people contemplate the world,” the group said in its online introduction to the cards. “Doctors of the World’s cards seek to remind the public that this year war has forced millions from their homes, and they really need our help.”

the Web Editors 12-02-2016

1. Civil Rights Group Documents Nearly 900 Hate Incidents Post-Election

More than 300 included direct references to the president-elect.

2. New Sanctuary Cities in Texas Vow to Resist Donald Trump’s Deportations

“My message to the people who fear, justifiably, in their hearts what is to come, is that before they come for you, they have to come through me.” —Austin city council member Greg Cesar

3. Advent, Explained

All the things you didn’t know you didn’t know about this season of waiting.

the Web Editors 12-02-2016

Currently there are an estimated 300 sanctuary states, counties, and cities across the U.S., but no model for sanctuary campuses. Calls for sanctuary campuses began in the wake of Donald Trump’s campaign pledges to repeal DACA and escalate deportations.

Jim Wallis 12-01-2016

Now that the election is resolved, both the media and politicians have moved to “normalize” the president-elect, even if his personality and practices are far from normal. Let’s call this the great Washington “suck up” to power which goes far beyond the peaceful transition of power, which is an invaluable American democratic tradition.

But this is not normal. None of this is normal. 

the Web Editors 12-01-2016

By not hiding her HIV-positive status, Princess Kasune—an opposition MP in Zambia—is subverting the stigma of HIV/AIDS in her country, reports BBC News.

In 1997 Kasune tested positive for HIV and defied her husband’s desire to keep her status a secret. For this her church excommunicated her and her family disagreed with her decision.

“I long to see an HIV-free generation and hopefully a day without stigma,” said Kasune.

Da'Shawn Mosley 12-01-2016

It’s safe to say that no Christian community I've been a part of has ever brought up the U.S. domestic crisis of HIV/AIDS. In fact, I can’t recall ever hearing an American Christian even utter the words. 

And in conversation with others, I know that too many have only heard about it from pastors who preach that homosexuality is an unforgiveable sin and that HIV/AIDS is God’s wrath at work — despite the fact that HIV/AIDS affects people of many ethnicities and sexual orientations, and that the infection is often transmitted in ways other than sexual intercourse. Hearing Christians speak seriously and nonjudgmentally about HIV/AIDS, with the intent of acting to help eradicate the illness and protect the lives of those whom the illness has affected, is too rare.

Standing with Standing Rock

Standing with Standing Rock, Nov. 15. by Leslie Peterson / Flickr.com

“The police are highly militarized.”

This recent text sent by a close relative at Standing Rock confirms the images we’ve been seeing from the #NoDAPL #StandingRock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. On the evening of Nov. 20, local police with armored vehicles fired at water protectors and their allies with water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and percussion grenades; hundreds were injured, and several taken to the hospital. Because of the frigid overnight temperatures in the region, medics at the scene were concerned that the use of water cannons would result in severe medical emergencies or even deaths among the members of the encampment.

the Web Editors 12-01-2016

Maj. Gen. Munir Muniruzzaman, the chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on climate change, said that climate change "is the greatest security threat of the 21st century,” reports the Guardian. He and other military leaders are warning the world that action must be done now to combat climate change’s effects. 

“We’re going to see refugee problems on an unimaginable scale, potentially above 30 million people,” said Maj. Gen. Muniruzzaman.

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