Image via Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened on March 27 to cut off U.S. Justice Department grants to cities that fail to assist federal immigration authorities, moving the Trump administration closer to a potential clash with leaders of America's largest urban centers.

Sessions' statements were aimed at a dozens of cities and other local governments, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, that have joined a growing "sanctuary" movement aimed at shielding illegal immigrants from stepped-up deportation efforts.

Image via RNS/Emily McFarlan Miller

It was her desire to hear the stories of real people — “not just faceless refugees or immigrants” — that brought the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton to a refugee resettlement agency that provides a range of services to refugees in the Chicago area.

“Especially now, when there’s this fear that’s been stirred up, and anti-refugee sentiment, it’s really critical to say, ‘No, these people are our grandparents, our aunts and uncles,” said the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination.

Image via Reuters/Max Rossi

Pope Francis urged the United Nations on March 28 to seek the "total elimination" of nuclear weapons, speaking as the United States and some other major powers boycotted a conference considering a global ban.

In a message to the conference that started in New York on March 27, Francis called on nations to "go beyond nuclear deterrence" and have the courage to overcome the "fear and isolationism" he said was prevalent in many countries today.

Jera Brown 3-28-2017

Image via lobstar28/Flickr

In the wake of these threats, faith groups in Chicago have grown more intentional about coming together in solidarity — something many Jewish and Christian leaders alike credit to their religious teachings and their understanding of what it means to care for one's neighbor.

Kaitlin Curtice 3-28-2017

I began writing letters. One hand-written letter a week, delivered to the White House door, so that he’ll know we are here, so that he’ll know our story exists and that we are not to be ignored. I’m not saying that as a liberal I feel ignored; I’m saying that I don’t want to be ignored as a human being, as a citizen, as a woman, as a mother, as a Native American, as a Christian.

A suspect is shown in this still photo taken from surveillance video March 26, 2017 in Fort Collins, Colo. Courtesy Fort Collins Police Services/Handout via REUTERS

Investigators in Colorado searched on Monday for a man suspected of hurling a “biblical text” inside a mosque after smashing windows and a glass door of the Islamic center and overturning furniture inside, police said.

 

Image via RNS/Reuters/Tony Gentile

Collins, who was sexually abused by a priest at age 13, resigned on March 1, citing what she called “shameful” resistance to commission proposals from the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office, which is responsible for pursuing cases against abusive priests and bishops.

Saunders stepped aside after publicly calling for Australian Cardinal George Pell to be dismissed, after news reports surfaced that he had protected pedophile priests in Australia. Pell serves as the Vatican’s finance chief.

Image via RNS/Screenshot from Vimeo

For Russell Moore, whose sharp criticisms of Donald Trump voters nearly cost him his job as the public voice for America’s largest Protestant denomination, the path to regaining a prophetic platform is just beginning.

Moore started down that trail this week. After apologizing for being “unnecessarily harsh” during the campaign, he received a vote of confidence from the executive committee of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Lucy Hadley 3-27-2017

The statue will live on Wall Street for a year, after popular support pressured to city to allow the statue beyond its one-week permit. The extension is a small victory. But her removal next year will be a quieter, yet no less important visual: Wall Street’s unwillingness to feature women in a public space without an end date.

Image via RNS/Creative Commons

Legally, the federal civil suit the mother and the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation recently filed against Mercer County schools is clear-cut: It is unconstitutional to preach the Bible to students in school. But there’s another pressing reason to keep these classes out of public schools: to prevent ostracizing of religious minorities and atheists. 

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