Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

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

Posts By This Author

President Obama Designates Historic Civil Rights Sites Including Black Churches

Image via RNS/Nigel Morris via Creative Commons

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.”

End-of-Life Care Finally Gets Discussion in Churches

Image via RNS/The Conversation Project

Congregants who’ve heard the sermons — often accompanied by workshops and step-by-step guides — say they are verbal permission slips to discuss a topic few want to talk about. Slightly more than a third of the general public — 37 percent — say they have given a great deal of, or some thought, to their end-of-life wishes, according to Pew Research.

A Conversation Project survey found that while 90 percent of people say it’s important to talk to loved ones about those wishes, only 27 percent have actually done that.

African-American Faith Leaders Mourn Trump's Election But Remain Resolute

Image via RNS/Reuters/Joshua Roberts

Back when so many thought Hillary Clinton would be the next president, two dozen African-American leaders wrote to the Democratic nominee, asking her to explain her policies related to the poor and the police.

African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Frank M. Reid III said black clergy will make some of the same demands of President-elect Donald Trump.

The Down-Ballot Issues People of Faith Are Watching

Fast-food workers and their supporters march along Eighth Avenue in New York City, calling for an increase in the minimum wage, on Sept. 4, 2014. Image via RNS/a katz/Shutterstock.

The nation’s attention may be on the presidential election, but there are a number of down-ballot issues of interest to religious and nonreligious voters. Here’s a sampling of what’s being considered and how people of faith are weighing them.

More Than $180,000 Raised for Church Burned and Marked With ‘Vote Trump’ Graffiti

Image via GoFundMe campaign.

Thousands of people pledged to raise money for Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville by the afternoon of Nov. 3, far exceeding the original goal of $10,000.

“When I ginned up this page before my first meeting at work today, I had no earthly clue it would get so big,” writes J. Blair Reeves Jr., who organized the GoFundMe fundraising initiative on Nov. 2. “Responses have been pouring in from all over the world, and they’re truly extraordinary. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, atheists and many more, from all over the United States and many other countries.”

Subscribe