Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national correspondent at RNS.

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Constitutionality of Leaked Executive Order on Religious Freedom Called Into Question

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The former U.S. religious freedom ambassador told a congressional subcommittee that leaked language of a proposed presidential executive order on religious liberty could cause “constitutional problems.”

“I think it raises very serious equal protection issues,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, who recently ended his tenure at the U.S. State Department.

Yazidi Lawmaker Receives Human Rights Prize, Calls Travel Ban 'Unfair'

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Receiving a prestigious human rights prize, an Iraqi lawmaker, who gained international attention for her oppressed Yazidi religious minority, decried the Trump administration’s “unfair” executive order on immigration.

'Life Is Winning in America Today,' Pence Tells March for Life Crowd

The March for Life crowd smiles as man holds up a child at the rally on Jan. 27, 2017, in Washington, D.C. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

A week after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, throngs of anti-abortion marchers gathered near the White House to applaud his administration’s actions and his plans to support their cause.

'We Shall Not Be Moved' Marchers Honor King, Fight Fear of Trump

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Crying out “no justice, no peace,” crowds joined the Rev. Al Sharpton in a weekend march towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, vowing not to let President-elect Donald Trump turn back strides made by the civil rights leader.

The mostly African-American throng — smaller than the thousands expected, due to the steady rain — heard from civic and religious leaders about key areas of concern: health care, voting rights, economic equality, and police brutality and reform.

President Obama Designates Historic Civil Rights Sites Including Black Churches

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In one of his last official acts, President Obama has designated Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and other civil rights landmarks in Birmingham, Ala., as the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument.

The designation protects the historic A.G. Gaston Motel in that city, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders had their 1963 campaign headquarters, as well as Kelly Ingram Park, where police turned hoses and dogs on civil rights protesters. And it includes the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where four girls died in 1963, after the Ku Klux Klan detonated 19 sticks of dynamite outside the church basement.

In His Own Words: President Obama on Faith

Image via RNS/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

“This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this ‘Amazing Grace’ calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness, for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short.”

Army: Soldiers Can Wear Turbans, Beards, Hijabs

West Point graduate stands in dress uniform with beard and turban

West Point graduate, Bronze Star Medal recipient and Sikh soldier Capt. Simratpal Singh in his military uniform with the approved religious accommodations of turban and beard. Photo courtesy of Becket Law

New Army regulations will allow soldiers to wear turbans, beards and hijabs under most circumstances, reflecting a change Sikhs have sought for years.

“Based on the successful examples of Soldiers currently serving with these accommodations, I have determined that brigade-level commanders may approve requests for these accommodations,” wrote Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning in a Tuesday (Jan. 3) memo.

In March, the Army concluded that permitting beards for medical reasons but banning them for religious reasons is a discriminatory bar to service for Sikhs, who are forbidden by their faith to cut their hair and beards.

Russell Moore to Southern Baptist Detractors: To Remain Silent on Trump 'Felt Negligent'

(left) Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Charleston, W.Va., on May 5, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Chris Tilley (right) Russell Moore leads a June 9, 2014 panel discussion. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore, who has drawn praise and pans for his critiques of President-elect Donald Trump, has apologized to Southern Baptists who think he was critical of anyone who voted for the Republican candidate.

“There’s a massive difference between someone who enthusiastically excused immorality and someone who felt conflicted, weighed the options based on biblical convictions, and voted their conscience,” he said in a column published Dec. 19

Seminaries Across the Country Now Offering Black Lives Matter Courses

People take part in a protest against police brutality and in support of Black Lives Matter during a march in New York City on July 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

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.

British Humanitarian Group Offers War-Torn Christmas Cards

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.”

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