Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national correspondent at RNS.
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Boy Scouts Drop Ban on Adult Gay Leaders
The Boy Scouts of America ended its national ban on openly gay adult leaders and employees on July 27 while allowing local religious units to continue to exclude gay adults.
Meeting by conference call, 79 percent of the BSA’s national executive board members favored the resolution ratified earlier this month by its executive committee.
The policy change represents the end of a long and bitter struggle over whether to accept gay members that began more than two years ago when it allowed gay youths to participate, but not adults.
White House Honors 12 Faith Leaders as Climate Change ‘Champions’
From a zero-waste synagogue to global development work after natural disasters, environmental projects by faith leaders are being hailed by the Obama administration as examples of exemplary leadership on climate change.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy highlighted initiatives by a dozen leaders from a range of faiths, who were recognized July 20 in Washington, D.C., as “Champions of Change” for their environmental initiatives.
“As faith leaders, no voice is really more important than yours in this,” said McCarthy.
Black Clergy Walk a Fine Line Between Religious Liberty, Discrimination
Since the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is constitutional, the Rev. Jerry Young has been in a quandary.
As the president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, a predominantly black denomination, he is grappling with a new reality: how to respond to the specter of discrimination against gays. While he doesn’t support gay marriage, the refusal of some religious bakers and florists to provide services to gays prompts memories of racially segregated hotels and restaurants.
“On the one hand, you have to be sensitive to the fact that you do not want people to be victims of discrimination — that’s just an absolute fact — you just do not want that to happen,” said Young, who grew up in Mississippi in the civil rights era and is developing a position paper to guide NBCUSA congregations on these issues.
“And on the other hand, there is this tension between what, as Christians, we believe God has called us to do, and what it appears to be, in some sense, what the culture seems to be doing.”
Church-State Separationist James Dunn Dead at 83
The Rev. James M. Dunn, a religious liberty advocate who worked the corridors of Washington power for two decades to defend the separation of church and state, died on July 4.
He was 83, and died of a heart attack at his Winston-Salem, N.C., home, said Cherilyn Crowe, spokeswoman for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
After retiring from leading the committee in 1999, Dunn taught at Wake Forest University’s divinity school in Winston-Salem, serving as a professor of Christianity and public policy until 2014.
Will Southern Baptists Back Russell Moore’s Call to Remove Confederate Flag?
Does a Southern Baptist leader’s call for the Confederate battle flag to come down mark a sea change in the views of evangelicals about a symbol long wrapped in both support for slavery and regional pride?
Or will conservative white Christians in the South resist change even as a growing number of Republican leaders — including S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley — from the region call for the flag to go?
Reality TV’s ‘The Briefcase’ Looks at Line Between Need, Greed
If a briefcase of money fell in your lap, would you keep it, share it, or give it all away?
The new reality show The Briefcase is asking that question. But viewers and ethicists are asking more:
How could CBS put this on the air? Are there better ways to address the financial challenges of the middle class?
The hourlong show, which airs its fourth episode June 17, introduces two families each episode with the struggles of bills and not enough money coming in to achieve all their goals — whether dealing with a lost job, medical bills, or the potential costs of in vitro fertilization.
Solitary Confinement: Immoral, Ineffective
They’re small spaces — sometimes 7 feet wide, 12 feet long. And they’re where some inmates are held, sometimes for days, sometimes for decades.
Religious leaders across the country are speaking out against solitary confinement cells that they say should never be used by juveniles or the mentally ill and rarely by the general prison population.
The debate is taking on new resonance as a Boston jury weighs the death penalty — or a life sentence with 23 hours a day in solitary confinement — for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the convicted Boston Marathon bomber.
Rev. Gil Caldwell, a ‘Foot Soldier’ for Civil Rights, Turns His Eye to LGBT Rights
Caldwell was a “foot soldier” in King’s civil rights army, and he finally made it to Durham, where he closed out a social justice conference focused on a newer movement — the effort to secure full inclusion of LGBT people in the United Methodist Church.
“In some ways there is a possibility that on gay rights and marriage equality, God is speaking more through the judiciary than God is speaking through the United Methodist Church,” Caldwell said in his sermon at a gay-friendly United Methodist church just three miles away from the seminary he said denied him admission.
5 Faith Facts about Mike Huckabee, Southern Baptist Pastor-Turned-Politician
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is no stranger to the pulpit — or politics. The former Fox News Channel host announced May 5 his bid for the GOP nomination for the White House. Here are five facts about this Southern Baptist’s perspectives on faith.
5 Faith Facts about Ben Carson: Retired Neurosurgeon, Seventh-Day Adventist
Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon once best known for separating conjoined baby twins, is expected to announce May 4 that he will pursue a GOP candidacy for U.S. president. Carson is now known as a culture warrior whose criticisms of President Obama have made him a favorite of conservatives.
Here are five faith facts about him.
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