Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national correspondent at RNS.
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Christian Refugees Outnumber Muslim Refugees to U.S. in Last 15 Years
As the Trump administration continues to enforce a travel ban affecting six Muslim-majority and other countries, a Pew Research Center report tracking the influx of displaced people finds that 47 percent of refugee arrivals in fiscal 2017 were Christian and 43 percent were Muslim.
Charismatic, Pentecostal Women Gather on National Mall for Day of Prayer
Twenty years ago, men gathered as “Promise Keepers” and filled the National Mall for a prayer rally seeking repentance and spiritual revival. On Oct. 9, it was the women’s turn.
‘We Are Heartbroken:’ Faith Leaders Offer Comfort, Calls for Action After Las Vegas Shooting
“My heart goes out to all those impacted by this senseless act of violence. When tragedies like the Las Vegas massacre occur, the political and religious barriers that too often divide us break down and we come together to mourn as Americans. This moment presents all of us with the opportunity to be there for one another as we try to come to terms with what happened yesterday. As our nation mourns, I hope we continue in the spirit of inclusion, as we are all impacted by this terrible tragedy.”
Texas Officials Urge Trump to Act on FEMA Funding For Houses of Worship
The Texas officials’ letter follows a Sept. 4 lawsuit filed by three churches in the state that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey. They are challenging the current FEMA policy, which “explicitly denies equal access to FEMA disaster relief grants for houses of worship solely because of their religious status,” according to the lawsuit.
Survey: Trump Voters ‘Anti-Islam, Anti-Feminist, Anti-Globalist’
Almost three-quarters of Trump voters said Islam is a threat, compared with 18 percent of those who voted for Hillary Clinton. An even higher percentage — 81 percent — of Trump voters strongly agreed that Middle East refugees are a terror threat, compared with 12 percent of Clinton voters.
“Today, divisions in the American public are stark,” said Paul Froese, a Baylor University sociology professor and director of Baylor Religion Surveys. “We can trace many of our deep differences to how people understand traditional morality, theology, and the purpose of our nation.”
Washington National Cathedral to Remove Windows Honoring Confederate Generals
But the officials said their decision-making process concerning the windows sped up after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month, when neo-Nazis clashed with counterprotesters. But they also acknowledged that the windows’ removal is not sufficient for addressing racial injustice.
All the President’s Clergymen: A Close Look at Trump’s ‘Unprecedented’ Ties With Evangelicals
And while presidents before have consulted with spiritual advisers — evangelist Billy Graham is the best-known example — the current group’s members certainly appear to care not only about Trump’s own spiritual well-being, but also have concrete views about a range of issues and make no secret of wanting policy changes.
But exactly how much influence they wield — and whether they benefit from the association — is a matter of conjecture and debate.
Clergy To March for Racial Justice
The “One Thousand Ministers March for Justice,” expected to proceed Monday from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to the Justice Department, originally was planned to protest increased hate crimes, mass incarceration and discrimination and to call on the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to address those issues.
Thousands of Faith Leaders Ask Congress to Protect Johnson Amendment
“As a leader in my religious community, I am strongly opposed to any effort to repeal or weaken current law that protects houses of worship from becoming centers of partisan politics,” reads the letter faith leaders who support church-state separation delivered to Congress on Wednesday.
Conservative Evangelicals Revel in Their ‘Unprecedented’ Access to the President
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.
Do You Live in a ‘Post-Christian’ City?
Chattanooga, Tenn., was the most churched city, at 59 percent. The California region including San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose was the most unchurched, at 60 percent, and the most dechurched, at 47 percent.
Americans Stand Divided Over Religious Freedom and Sexuality
Researchers also asked about what people think motivates religious believers who oppose sexual freedom. Almost half — 49 percent — said faith is the motivator. A fifth — 20 percent — said the motivator is hate. Another 31 percent were not sure.
Unitarian Universalists Elect First Woman President
An Arizona pastor and immigrant advocate has been elected as the first woman president of the Unitarian Universalist Association. The election of the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray on Saturday follows the resignation of the Rev. Peter Morales, who left office in April three months short of the end of his second term amid controversy about diversity in the UUA.
Evangelical Leaders Push for Criminal Justice Reform
“The Church has both the unique ability and unparalleled capacity to confront the staggering crisis of crime and incarceration in America,” the declaration reads, “and to respond with restorative solutions for communities, victims, and individuals responsible for crime.”
Like Father, Like Son: Black Activists Tag-team Preach on Father’s Day
Father: The necessity of the black church, the African-American church, I think is continuing and compelling. We in my generation depended on the delivery of the Word from the individual but we did not take advantage of all of the technology that was becoming big. I think in this age we must utilize all of the technology plus imagination and all of the equipment that’s available to us to communicate, to involve and to be relevant and liberating both in our word and in our deed.
In Dramatic Turnabout, Southern Baptists Condemn ‘Alt-Right White Supremacy’
After a fierce backlash on social media, Southern Baptists reversed course and adopted a statement denouncing “alt-right white supremacy,” calling it “antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The unusual move on June 14 was a shift from the previous day, when the Southern Baptist Convention’s Resolutions Committee declined to bring to a vote a Texas pastor’s proposed resolution condemning the “alt-right” movement, whose members include white supremacists.
Southern Baptists Decide Not to Bring Forth Resolution Condemning Alt-Right
Southern Baptists, grappling with the country’s political realities, adopted a statement on the importance of public officials who display “consistent moral character.”
But, within minutes of that action at their annual meeting, they agreed with a committee’s decision not to bring forth a proposed resolution condemning the “alt-right movement,” whose members include proponents that call themselves white nationalists.
Faced with Declining Numbers, Southern Baptists Refocus on Conversions
Faced with continuing declines in membership and baptisms, Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines implored delegates to the denomination’s yearly meeting to turn to God and put their emphasis on evangelism.
Nearing 60, Bishop T.D. Jakes Strives to Bridge Racial, Political Divides
The June 28-July 1 event he calls “a bit of a vacation in a spiritual atmosphere” drew 90,000 when it was last held in 2015 — a predominantly black crowd that also included whites, Hispanics, and people from 40 other countries.
Jakes, an author, media producer, and pastor of The Potter’s House talked to Religion News Service about bridging racial and political divides, coping with terrorist threats, and his approaching 60th birthday.
Christian School Denies Pregnant Teen Right to Walk at Graduation
The determination to not let Runkles “walk” when she completes her studies at the Hagerstown school prompted a sharp critique from Students for Life of America, which asked its supporters to urge the school to reverse its decision.
But Hobbs said the school is standing its ground about the June 2 ceremony for Runkles’ class of 15 students.