Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national correspondent at RNS.
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Russell Moore to Southern Baptist Detractors: To Remain Silent on Trump 'Felt Negligent'
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”
National Cathedral Faces Calls to Remove Windows With Confederate Generals
After quietly removing panes bearing the Confederate flag from its stained-glass windows, leaders of the Washington National Cathedral are now wondering what to do about remaining images of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
"How can you justify having those windows in a house of God?" challenged Riley Temple, a former board member of the Washington National Cathedral's foundation.
Religious Leaders Mark Centennial of S.C. Lynching
Black faith leaders and social justice advocates are commemorating the lynching of Anthony Crawford, a man who owned 427 acres in Abbeville, S.C., when he was killed on Oct. 21, 1916.
He had been jailed after a dispute with a white store owner over the price of cottonseed. He was released, but was abducted by a large mob of white men and lynched, his body riddled with bullets.
Conservative Christians Urge Progressive Faithful to 'Repent' of 'Destructive Agenda'
The letter writers, who say they “are not here endorsing or denouncing a political candidate,” cite what they believe are consequences of a progressive agenda. The results, they say, include a “growth industry trafficking in human baby organs and body parts,” a “Transgender agenda imposed by Obama-government edict,” and “(h)ostility towards Judeo-Christian religious liberty in our courts.”
Confederate Flag Images Quietly Removed From National Cathedral
The two panes bearing the image of the flag were replaced last month with red and blue panes to match surrounding glass, said Kevin Eckstrom, chief communications officer for the cathedral. Adjoining panes honoring Confederate generals remain in place but “their long-term future is really very much up in the air,” he said.
Eckstrom said on Sept. 28 that he learned of the change in the windows the day it occurred — Aug. 26 — when an architect met with members of a cathedral committee who quickly decided on the specific replacement glass.
Obama Names Last Adviser to His Final Faith-Based Council
President Obama has announced plans to appoint the leader of a Chicago Muslim organization as the final member of his corps of faith-based advisers.
Rami Nashashibi co-founded the Inner-City Muslim Action Network in 1997.
Here is the list of the members of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships:
This Evangelical Seminary Will Require Sex Abuse Awareness Training
“This is the first I know of an evangelical seminary with a free-standing requirement for graduation to participate in this kind of discrete training. There are other seminaries where sexual boundary, sexual abuse issues are part of another course or class. But it would not be a free-standing event, as Dallas is doing.”
Can Congregations Train to Be Helpers in Disaster?
In August 2016, as the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks loomed, religious leaders tuned into a webinar to prepare themselves for a possible future disaster.
“Who was the first official casualty of 9/11?” asked Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, a Catholic priest and psychologist who led the webinar on “Shepherding in Tragic Times.”
“Father Mychal Judge,” he said, answering his own question, and referring to the priest who was fatally injured while ministering amid the chaos of the North Tower lobby.
New Smithsonian Museum Features Stories of African-American Faith
The National Museum of African American History and Culture, set to open Sept. 24, tells many stories of African-Americans of diverse faiths who have shaped U.S. history. Close to 10 percent of the 2,586 artifacts in its inaugural exhibitions are related to faith and religious history.
Rex Ellis, associate director for curatorial affairs, said the museum is essentially an intersection of uplift, spirituality and resilience.
“There is no way you can discuss, talk about or understand the African-American journey without understanding the very real role faith played in its history,” said Ellis, an ordained Baptist minister.
Religious Freedom Seriously Lacking for Three-Fourths of World’s Population, Ambassador Says
The U.S. State Department warned that religion-based terrorists as well as some governments across the globe are threatening the liberties of religious minorities.
“One of the best ways to deny these murderers their victory is by ensuring that those they have sought to destroy not only survive, but thrive,” said Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, announcing the 2015 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom on Aug. 10.
Voter Registration on Faith Groups' To-Do List
Religious groups ranging from black Protestants to Latino evangelicals to Reform Jews are gearing up for massive voter registration activities to boost turnout on Election Day.
PICO National Network, a faith-based organizing network, announced its “Together We Vote” plan to work with allies to seek new voters who are especially concerned about racial justice.
John Lewis on His New Graphic Novel, Faith, and Civil Rights
Q: Representative Lewis, in an earlier book of this series we read that you were asked by church leaders to tone down your speech at the 1963 March on Washington. How does March: Book Three deal with issues of faith?
Lewis: Book Three tells a story how people kept going, how people never gave up or gave in, in spite of the bombing of a church, the beating on the bridge as we had left church to march all the way from Selma to Montgomery. We kept going, we never gave up, we never gave in, we never became bitter or hostile. We kept the faith. It was the music of the church that lifted us, that carried us. … We felt like God Almighty was on our side.
Tim LaHaye, Evangelical Leader and 'Left Behind' Co-Author, Dead at 90
Tim LaHaye, the evangelical leader known for his conservative politics as well as the best-selling Left Behind series, has died at age 90, his ministry announced.
LaHaye died July 25 at a hospital in the San Diego area after recently suffering a stroke, his ministry said.
Evangelicals Gather for Prayer Rally in Washington
Evangelical Christians converged on the nation’s capital for a prayer rally on one of the hottest days of the summer.
With the nation reeling from recent shootings and shocked by news of a terrorist attack in France and an attempted coup in Turkey, speakers at “Together 2016” cited the global events from the stage and spoke of the challenges facing Americans.