Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

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

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Most Americans Pray for Healing

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The vast majority of Americans have prayed for the healing of others and more than 1 in 4 have practiced the laying on of hands, a Baylor University expert reports. “Outside of belief in God, there may be no more ubiquitous religious expression in the U.S. than use of healing prayer,” said Jeff Levin of the university’s Institute for Studies of Religion in an announcement of his findings.

Meet the Religious Faces in the 'Time 100’ Rankings

Image via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/RNS.

Ibtihaj Muhammad: Fencer extraordinaire

Muhammad will wear her hijab as she represents the U.S. in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “The sport let her express her athletic talent, and the uniform allowed her to stay true to her faith,” writes U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress.

Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards Gets Standing Ovation at Georgetown

Image via Adelle M. Banks / RNS

The debate that began when students learned that Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards would speak at the nation’s oldest Catholic university continued when she received a standing ovation at Georgetown’s Lohrfink Auditorium. The media was not permitted inside, but students who heard her said she defended her organization’s stances and urged abortion opponents to respect those who think women should have choice in their reproductive decisions.

Churches Examine White Privilege

Image via Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Bourg/RNS

A year ago, when the death of Freddie Gray and resulting unrest in Baltimore filled the news, the Rev. Kathy Dwyer felt she had to do something.

“Every time I turned on the TV, I just felt like I was getting punched in the gut from watching the issue of racism just escalate in our country,” said the white pastor of a predominantly white United Church of Christ congregation in Arlington, Va.

White House Joins Faith Leaders in Call to Rein in Payday Lenders

White House officials have joined faith leaders in endorsing an end to payday lending abuses that often charge triple-digit interest rates. Valerie Jarrett, Cecilia Munoz, and Jeff Zients, all top aides to President Obama, met April 14 with religious leaders from across the country who described “heart-wrenching stories” of congregants whose lives had been ravaged by payday loans.

Faith Leaders Ask Candidates to Give Poor 'Living Wage'

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On the anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., dozens of faith leaders are calling for the U.S. presidential candidates to include a “living wage” for low-income workers in their political agendas.

 

'Moral Mondays' Leader Starts 'Moral Revolution' Tour

Rev. William J. Barber II. Image via twbuckner / Wikimedia Commons 

The leader of the “Moral Mondays” movement and a prominent New York minister are joining forces for a 15-state “moral revolution” tour to counter the nation’s conservative voices.

“Way too much of our national discourse has been poisoned by hateful language and policies,” said the Rev. William J. Barber II, who brought thousands to weekly protests at the North Carolina General Assembly, in an announcement.

Boy Scouts, Unitarian Universalists Renew Agreement

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The Boy Scouts of America and the Unitarian Universalist Association signed a new agreement March 24 after the two organizations had previously been divided over gay rights.

“BSA Scout Law defines a Scout by qualities that Unitarian Universalists also lift up,” reads the memorandum of understanding signed by Scouting and Unitarian Universalist officials at the BSA headquarters in Irving, Texas.

Knight of Columbus Report: ISIS Committing 'Genocide' Against Christians

A Yazidi volunteer with the Kurdish peshmerga. Image via REUTERS/Azad Lashkari/RNS

The Knights of Columbus has issued a 280-page report declaring that the Islamic State group is committing “genocide” against Christians and other religious groups in the Middle East and urging the U.S. State Department to use that term to describe its actions. Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson said his Catholic fraternal organization, working in partnership with the group In Defense of Christians, does not contend Christians alone are facing genocide from the group known as ISIS but it believes the State Department must include them.

Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards to Speak at Georgetown University

Image via RNS/Georgetown/Richards.

As word of the planned event circulated on social media it was even criticized by South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, who tweeted that it reflects “the disjuncture” between the call to teach the gospel and the “obsession” to be fair about moral issues. “Georgetown’s hosting Cecile Richards is an obvious case!” he said.

The Lecture Fund noted on its website that the event will be for members of the university community. “The event is not open to the public and only those with a Georgetown University ID will be allowed to attend,” it said.

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