Emily McFarlan Miller writes for the Religion News Service.
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Lutheran Refugee Agency Is ‘Cautiously Hopeful’ Following Blocked Immigration Order
It was her desire to hear the stories of real people — “not just faceless refugees or immigrants” — that brought the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton to a refugee resettlement agency that provides a range of services to refugees in the Chicago area.
“Especially now, when there’s this fear that’s been stirred up, and anti-refugee sentiment, it’s really critical to say, ‘No, these people are our grandparents, our aunts and uncles,” said the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination.
Trump to Speak at Liberty University Commencement
The May 13 speech at Liberty’s football stadium in Lynchburg, Va., will be Trump’s first commencement address as president, but it won’t be his first at Liberty, which describes itself as the largest Christian university in the world.
The then-presidential candidate spoke last year at the university’s Convocation, promising, “I will protect Christians,” and famously stumbling over a reference to “Two Corinthians.”
A Battle with Islamophobia
This wave of Islamophobia has hit hard. Anti-Muslim sentiment was never absent from America. From the time Muslims first came as slaves in the 1600s, there have been times when anti-Muslim attitudes have bubbled over. This is one of those times.
Are We Alone In the Universe?
Throughout the history of theology, Mix said, Christians have swung between the idea that Earth can be the only inhabited planet because God favors humans, and its counterpart, that to assume Earth is the only inhabited planet is the height of human pride because God is limitless and all-powerful.
Christians in the Pew and Pulpit Diverge Over Trump Policies on Refugees
A survey released last week by the Pew Research Center suggested a very different view of the presidential actions, especially among white Protestant Christians.
There was strong support among white evangelical Protestants, with more than three-quarters (76 percent) saying they approve of the policies outlined in Trump’s order. Among white mainline Protestants, 50 percent approved.
Many Christians now are asking the question Helena Leffingwell of Arlington, Texas – not a pastor or ministry leader, just a regular member of Gateway Church, a nondenominational megachurch – put into words: “How can we see things so differently?”
Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper, A Tribe Called Quest Bring Religion to Grammys
From the depiction of the divine mother in Beyonce’s imagery to Busta Rhymes’s jab at President Trump’s “Muslim ban,” religion took center stage at the 2017 Grammy Awards.
As he accepted the first award – for best new artist – of the televised broadcast on Feb. 12, Chance the Rapper declared:
“Glory be to God. I claim this victory in the name of the Lord.”
Ken Starr on Shortlist to Head Office of International Religious Freedom
President Trump is reportedly considering naming former Baylor University President Ken Starr to head the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.
The ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom monitors religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, and develops programs to promote religious freedom, according to the State Department website.
500 Prominent Evangelicals Take Out Full-Page Ad Supporting Refugees
More than 500 prominent evangelical Christians from every state have signed on to a letter addressed to President Trump and Vice President Pence, expressing their support for refugees. The “Still We Stand” petition, coordinated by World Relief, ran on Feb. 8 as a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post.
United Methodist Pastor, Placed on Leave After Coming Out, Moves to UCC Church
In January 2016, the Rev. Cynthia Meyer told her United Methodist Church congregation she felt “called by God to be open and honest” about who she is: “a woman who loves, and shares her life with, another woman.”
5 Faith Facts about Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
The position for which Betsy DeVos has been nominated — secretary of education — is one of the least powerful in the Cabinet, in terms of its budget and position in the line of succession to the presidency.
And yet, after a confirmation hearing in which she struggled to answer questions, some Senate offices have received more calls opposing DeVos than any other nominee.
All 48 Democratic senators and two Republicans — Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins – opposed her when her nomination came to a vote on Feb. 7. Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote.
Religious Leaders Weigh In on President Trump's Supreme Court Pick
President Donald Trump had promised last week evangelical Christians would “love” his nominee for the Supreme Court.
And in fact, said evangelical author and president of The KAIROS Company Johnnie Moore, a member of Trump’s evangelical advisory board, “Evangelicals are ecstatic.”
On Jan. 31, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court left by the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia nearly a year ago.
Standing Rock Sioux: 'Nothing Will Deter Us from Our Fight for Clean Water'
President Trump’s executive orders advancing the construction of pipelines are drawing condemnation from the Native American and religious groups that have opposed them.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a statement on Facebook saying the president’s order Jan. 24 regarding the Dakota Access pipeline, to extend from the oil fields of North Dakota to Illinois, violated both U.S. law and tribal treaties.
In Farewell, Obama Urges Faith and Political Engagement
The outgoing president encouraged Americans to listen better and try harder, to realize that “science and reason matter,” to assume the best of others. That’s important in a time, he said, when it’s “become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions.”
Religious Makeup of the New Congress Overwhelmingly Christian
The United States Congress is about as Christian today as it was in the early 1960s, according to a new analysis by Pew Research Center.
Nearly 91 percent of members of the 115th Congress convening on Jan. 3 describe themselves as Christian, compared to 95 percent of Congress members serving from 1961 to 1962, according to congressional data compiled by CQ Roll Call and analyzed by Pew.
Inauguration Speaker Franklin Graham: Trump's Win Was 'the Hand of God'
“You want it to be meaningful not only to your president-elect, but you want it to be meaningful also to the nation,” Graham said.
“I’m taking time just to pray and ask God to give me wisdom and guidance because it’s a responsibility that I take very seriously.”
This is the third inauguration Graham will have attended, he noted. The first was to assist his father Billy Graham at the second inaugural of President Bill Clinton in 1997; the second, to offer the invocation at the first inaugural of President George W. Bush in 2001.
This Advent Devotional Uses Language You Won't Find In Scriptures
For many Christians who observe the liturgical season of Advent, leading up to Christmas, an Advent devotional is a beloved companion.
Such devotionals typically include a short Scripture reading and reflection on the birth of Jesus.
But most are “crap,” according to the Rev. Jason Chesnut of Baltimore.
Trump's Advisers: The Faith Factor
President-elect Donald Trump will spend much of the time until his inauguration on Jan. 20 composing his new administration. That means naming Cabinet appointees, and government department or agency heads, as well as selecting advisers.
Many of Trump’s appointments so far are people of faith; some are supported or opposed by different faith groups; others have made public statements, or taken actions, regarding different faith groups.
Here is a list of Trump’s picks to date and a description of their relationship to religion.
Study Finds Churches With Conservative Theology Still Growing
Canadian researchers are revisiting a hotly debated sociological question: Why do some churches decline while others succeed?
Since the 1960s, overall membership in mainline Protestant Christian churches has been dropping in both the U.S. and Canada.
But some congregations have continued to grow, and a team of researchers believes it now knows why. It’s the conservative theological beliefs of their members and clergy, according to researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University and Redeemer University College in Ontario.
Can Evangelicals Unite After the 2016 Election?
The day after the election, Lisa Sharon Harper nearly gave up the name “evangelical.”
That’s because 81 percent of white evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump for president, a candidate she described as “representing all of the things Jesus stood against — lust for money, sex, and power.” And their vote propelled the Republican nominee to victory.
Jerry Falwell Jr. on Twitter: 'Pope Francis Lost All Credibility'
The alliance between Roman Catholics and evangelical Protestants on a range of issues dear to social conservatives has been one of the biggest storylines in religion and politics in recent decades.
But in the Age of Pope Francis and the Era of President Trump that union may be fraying.
In a tweet posted Nov. 14, Jerry Falwell Jr. — a Baptist and leader of the religious right who was one of Trump’s chief promoters — delivered a pithy and pointed critique of the pontiff.