Emily McFarlan Miller writes for the Religion News Service.

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How Evangelicals Teamed Up With the White House on Prison Reform

by Emily McFarlan Miller 05-29-2018

Jail cells are seen in the Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit at the Rikers Island Correctional facility in New York March 12, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

“Sparks were flying all around the table, and then Jared had this idea,” Moore said. “He said — it was a brilliant idea, and this was the impetus, the beginning of things — ‘What if we got every church or synagogue to take responsibility for one prisoner re-entering society? You think that could work?’”

Austin Channing Brown: White People Are ‘Exhausting’

by Emily McFarlan Miller 05-10-2018

Image via Emily McFarlan Miller / RNS

"I wanted to make a book that (says), this is how it feels, here is how it’s dangerous for me to talk about race and be a black woman in an organization that thinks it’s made it, but it still has work to do. I hope by naming those things and making those things real, it would open up the eyes of white folks and (give) people of color an opportunity to say, 'This is real.'"

United Methodist Bishops Want to Let Pastors, Conferences Decide on LGBT Clergy, Marriages

by Emily McFarlan Miller 05-07-2018

Image via Emily McFarlan Miller / RNS

But since the 2016 meeting, many of its smaller U.S. jurisdictions and regional bodies, called annual conferences, have made their own decisions regarding LGBT clergy. Last year, the Mountain Sky Conference elected Karen Oliveto, a married lesbian, as the denomination’s first openly LGBT bishop.

‘Nones’ Get Their First Congressional Caucus

by Emily McFarlan Miller 05-01-2018

Aerial view of National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and organizations promoting atheism, agnosticism, and humanism announced the creation this week of the first Congressional Freethought Caucus.

Still Evangelical? Faith Leaders Question Label After Trump, #MeToo

by Emily McFarlan Miller 04-18-2018

Kathy Khang speaks at the session April 13 at the Festival of Faith and Writing. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

The panel of Christian women writers described the night Donald Trump won the presidency as, in the words of one, “a nightmare.”

“As the numbers rolled in, [there was] just this sense of this nightmare is really true – our family, the body of Christ, is actually going to vote in a way that dehumanized our presence here in this country,” said Sandra Maria Van Opstal, a second-generation Latina and the executive pastor of Grace and Peace Community in Chicago.

Evangelical Leaders Gather at Wheaton to Discuss Future of the Movement in Trump Era

by Emily McFarlan Miller 04-17-2018

Blanchard Hall at Wheaton College near Chicago. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

About 50 evangelical Christian leaders gathered early this week to discuss the future of evangelicalism amid concerns their movement has become too closely associated with President Trump’s polarizing politics.

‘Hey Alexa: Who Is Jesus?’

by Emily McFarlan Miller 04-17-2018

Image via Creative Commons

“Fears about the technology might go viral, especially if they’re designed to go viral, but the more lasting effect might be the way this technology is adopted and adapted by creative, mission-driven people,” Silliman said.

‘Rejoice and Be Glad’: Catholics Respond to Pope’s Letter

by Emily McFarlan Miller 04-10-2018

Pope Francis arrives to lead a Holy Mass to mark the feast of Divine Mercy in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican April 8, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

“As with any magisterial document, it will take some time to digest and unfold the gift that Pope Francis has given us.” 

N.T. Wright on the ‘Very Human Character’ of the Apostle Paul

by Emily McFarlan Miller 03-29-2018

Image via HarperCollins / RNS

People have often said to me, “If Paul came back today, what would he be most shocked at in today’s church?” And I say, unhesitatingly, our disunity — not just the fact that we’re not united, but the fact that we don’t care.

Is Criminal Justice Reform Possible?

by Emily McFarlan Miller 03-15-2018

Image via Emily McFarlan Miller / RNS

Another issue that we know: In a number of states, pregnant women, when they give birth in the midst of their sentences, they’re forced to be shackled to a gurney in the midst of their delivery process. We know being born into that stress-induced state has irreversible cognitive impacts on the child, but we still haven’t changed the law in light of that.

Religious Leaders Call for Prayer and Action Following Florida School Shooting

by Emily McFarlan Miller 02-16-2018

Crosses for the victims of yesterday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hang on a fence a short distance from the school in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

In all, 17 people were killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., making it one of the deadliest school shootings in modern American history.

First Black Female Speedskater Maame Biney Smiles Because ‘God Has Blessed Me’

by Emily McFarlan Miller 02-15-2018

Dec 16, 2017; Kerns, UT, USA; Maame Biney (1) reacts to winning the A Final of the 500-meter race qualifying her for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team at Utah Olympic Oval. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

U.S. speedskater Maame Biney, just-turned 18, has a smile that can light up any room, a giggle that has charmed Olympic audiences and a joy that her coaches say has carried her so far in her athletic career at such a young age.

Former Olympic Curling Hopeful Now Cheering Team USA From the Priesthood

by Emily McFarlan Miller 02-13-2018

Image via Rev. Andrew Roza/RNS

The priest said before the opening ceremony that he’d tune in to watch the Olympics, but he didn’t have any “extravagant big watch party plans” with others in the diocese or with students at the St. John Paul II Newman Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he lives. If Team USA does well, he said, he may flip on a game for the students.

‘Our Bible’ App Looks to Expand Diversity in Online Christian Communities

by Emily McFarlan Miller 02-05-2018

Image via Oru Bible / RNS

After three developers, 18 months, a successful Indiegogo campaign and late nights raising funds as a Lyft driver, Cheatham recently released “Our Bible” — described on its website as a “meditation app for LGBTQ Christians, their friends, family and allies.”

Trump’s First Year: How Did He Do on Issues Important to Evangelicals?

by Emily McFarlan Miller 01-26-2018

Image via RNS/Creative Commons

Supreme Court

In the days before the election, evangelist Franklin Graham told RNS that he wasn’t focused “on his potty mouth or her missing emails,” referring to Trump’s language and his Democratic rival’s trouble over an email server. Rather, Graham said, “It comes down to the Supreme Court, and who do you trust to appoint to the Supreme Court?”

Four Faiths, Four Perspectives: A Year in, How Trump's Presidency Galvanized People into Action

Image via RNS/Jerome Socolovsky


“I really feel like activism is a form of sharing that love that God has given you,” she said. “Realizing that this world is made for all of us is something that’s transcending, and we have to inspire each other.”

Female Evangelical Leaders Call on Church to Speak Out on Violence Against Women

by Emily McFarlan Miller 12-20-2017

Image via RNS / SilenceIsNotSpiritual.com


It’s important for the church to get involved, it says, because Christians believe all people are created in the image of God, meaning violence against women is violence against God.

Founder of Nation’s Largest Christian Music Festival Charged with Child Molestation

by Emily McFarlan Miller 12-08-2017

Image via LNP Media Group / RNS

The former disc jockey-turned-pastor founded Creation Festival in 1979 after he had a vision of “thousands of kids on a hillside,” he told RNS as the festival celebrated its 25th anniversary. It grew from attracting 5,000 people to a park in Lancaster, Pa., that first year, to annual, multi-day events in both Pennsylvania and Washington state.

Trump Drastically Cuts National Monument Sacred to Native Americans

by Emily McFarlan Miller 12-05-2017

Image via New Mexico Wildlife Federation / RNS

“However, we are resilient and refuse to allow President Trump’s unlawful decision to discourage us. We will continue to fight in honor of our ancestral warriors who fought for our way of life, for our culture and for our land too.

Conservatives Defend Roy Moore — Invoking Joseph, Mary, and the Ten Commandments

by Emily McFarlan Miller 11-10-2017

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, file photo, U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a rally, in Fairhope, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

Conservative Christian supporters of Roy Moore are defending the U.S. Senate candidate against charges of sexually assaulting a teenager decades ago — and one of them used the biblical story of Mary and Joseph to rationalize sex between an adult and a minor.