the Web Editors 7-21-2017

1. When To Trust A Story That Uses Unnamed Sources

When are unnamed sources valuable, and when do they undermine credibility? FiveThirtyEight presents a five-step graphic to how to weigh your daily news.

2. Why Is the U.S. Handcuffing Incarcerated Women In Childbirth?

Just five percent of women in the world live in the U.S., but the U.S. accounts for nearly 30 percent of the world's incarcerated women.

Jenna Barnett 7-20-2017

Image via Seth Drum/Flickr

The vast majority of incarcerated women have a history of trauma. According to the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, 75 percent of incarcerated women have suffered severe physical abuse by an intimate partner during adulthood, and 82 percent have endured serious physical or sexual abuse as children.

Alex Awad 7-20-2017

A Palestinian resident of Aida Refugee Camp gives Mennonite Church USA leaders a tour of the Israeli separation wall that divides the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/MCC

Early this month, the Mennonite Church USA succeeded overwhelmingly in passing a resolution in support of peace and justice in Israel/Palestine — and it was no easy feat. As an eyewitness and active participant to the activities leading up to this landslide vote, I can tell you the road there was tough, agonizing, and expensive.

Joe Kay 7-19-2017

Self-care is important. If we lose our enthusiasm and start going through the motions, we’re not much good to anyone — including ourselves. Our love is diminished when we lose our sense of connectedness to the source of love, awe, and wonder. Our lives are diminished, too.

President Trump, flanked by evangelical leaders Paula White, right, and Jack Graham, in blue suit, speaks during the National Day of Prayer on May 4, 2017. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Carlos Barria

Squeezed among two dozen other evangelical supporters of the president, Southern Baptist Richard Land added his hand to the others reaching to pray for President Trump. The July 10 Oval Office prayer session, which has been panned and praised, is just one example of the access Trump and his key aides have given to conservative Christian leaders — from an hourslong May dinner in the Blue Room to an all-day meeting earlier this month in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door.

Chad Zuber / Shutterstock.com

Late last month, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) proposed legislation that would tax remittances primarily to Latin American nations to prevent undocumented immigrants from sending money to those countries — and those revenues would help build a border wall. Now, the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Financing is considering the idea of imposing a similar 2 percent fee on money transfers to any country to clamp down on terrorism.

Art and Christianity give our lives import and meaning, irrespective of power, race, gender or class. Jesus did this when he overturned the Greek and Roman way of viewing the world, in which one’s social status was everything, and introduced the notion of the equal worth and dignity of all human beings. “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all (Col. 3:11),” wrote Paul. All people made in the image and likeness of God, “lovely in limbs."

Image via Madeleine Buckley/ RNS 

“Since all of these folk make a big deal about putting their hand on the Bible and swearing themselves into office, we’ve come to let them know what’s in the Bible,” said the Rev. William J. Barber II, a North Carolina pastor at the forefront of state and national protests focused on poverty and civil rights.

Michael Mershon 7-19-2017

Health care activists protest to stop the Republican health care bill at Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
 

As people of faith who believe that concern for the health of our fellow children of God is mandated by our Savior Jesus (“I was sick and you took care of me” – Matthew 25:36) this is a time to give thanks to God. We are grateful that wisdom and compassion have, at least temporarily, triumphed over cynicism and greed.

Image via Reuters/Carlos Barria.

A U.S. official who was briefed by some of his counterparts about the encounter said some of the leaders who attended the dinner were surprised to see Trump leave his seat and engage Putin in an extended private conversation with no one else from the U.S. side present.

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