1. A White Supremacist By Any Other Name
“… it quite literally took [Richard] Spencer and other members of the alt-right ending a meeting with Nazi salutes and cries of ‘Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!’ for supporters and outlets to understand that the alt-right is just the new face of white supremacy.”
2. The Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar
This gorgeous Advent calendar has us all .
3. How to Stay Safe Online: A Cybersecurity Guide for Political Activists
An essential 8-step guide.
This week the National Center for Transgender Equality released the findings from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey — the largest survey examining the experience of transgender people in the United States ever completed. The survey examined the experiences of nearly 28,000 people who identify as transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, agender, or who use another term beneath the transgender umbrella.
The people who chose to take part in this landmark survey answered questions about everything from experience with harassment in bathrooms, to level of acceptance from family members, to interactions with law enforcement, to party affiliation and employment status. Although only seven questions on the survey directly address religion and engagement with faith communities, the data presented in the final report can help America’s churches live into their calling as true sanctuaries. People of God, are you listening?
It’s the middle of Advent. As a pastor, that’s like saying it’s college basketball’s March Madness (go Buckeyes, by the way). Our church in Portland, Ore., is busy prepping our Christmas Eve worship service and organizing our Christmas Day homeless service project — so why am I in Washington, D.C., to talk about LGBTQ?
Because my faith compels me.
“Pope Francis has a lot of explaining to do by approving the newest Vatican instruction,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, which campaigns for LGBT rights in the church.
“Francis’ famous ‘Who am I to judge?’ statement in 2013 was made in response to a question about gay men in the priesthood,” DeBernardo said. “That response indicated very plainly that he did not have a problem with a gay priest’s sexual orientation.
A good friend of mine, a well-respected black Christian leader, called it a lynching. But with a gun, and not a rope. I agree.
I’m talking about the shooting of Walter Scott, a black man in North Charleston, S.C., who was shot and killed by white police officer Michael Slager. Black citizen Walter Scott — who was pulled over for a malfunctioning brake light — was shot several times in the back as he fled Slager after a brief tussle. Scott was unarmed, running away, and at least 17 feet away from Slager when Slager opened fire and shot him in the back. After killing him, Slager dropped his Taser next to Scott’s body, which the prosecutors allege was an effort to make the case that he acted in self-defense.
Around them, the air cracked with gunfire, Sanders told a jury on Dec. 7.
“There was so many shots,” Sanders testified in the federal government’s case against Dylann Roof, on trial for killing nine congregants at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015. “There was so many shots.”
Veora Layton-Robinson, a student in her final year at New York Theological Seminary, had signed up for a full load of courses when she decided to add one more: a class on Black Lives Matter.
The minister and elementary school teacher was inspired by the class to start developing a Black Lives Matter chapter with members of her Mount Vernon, N.Y., church and community, convinced that more needed to be done to address police brutality, address concerns about violent crime and help people understand the power of voting.
On Dec. 6, protests ensued at Texas A&M University during an on-campus speech from Richard Spencer, a white nationalist and the self-proclaimed head of the so-called "alt-right" movement, reports the Houston Chronicle. Protesters were met with — and pushed by — law enforcement officials in riot gear and riding on horseback.
If it is “leftist propaganda” to talk about the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant, to talk about justice and love for God and neighbor, to talk about humility and grace — in short, to talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ, then let us do it all the louder. Otherwise, we trade the truth for power. We trade our witness for the respect of the empire.
The Vatican has launched a website as part of its efforts to protect children from clerical sexual abuse and promote healing and reconciliation.
It’s the first time that the Vatican has published resources and documents on the issue, and the site is sponsored by the commission set up by Pope Francis to protect minors.
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