Gina Ciliberto is a writer who lives in Minneapolis, Minn., by way of the Bronx. She writes about religion, social justice, food and travel. Her work has been published in Bon Appétit , National Catholic Reporter , HuffPost, ThinkProgress and YES Magazine , among others. She also works as the online communications and programming specialist for the Dominican Sisters of Hope.

In her free time, Gina enjoys fostering bulldogs and companioning small groups of Catholic Sisters and millennial seekers via Nuns and Nones. Follow her on Twitter @ginaciliberto.

 

 

Posts By This Author

Minnesota Churches Building Together in Year After Floyd's Murder

by Gina Ciliberto 06-03-2021

A view of George Floyd Square on the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, May 25, 2021. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

“This solidarity has the potential and the power to propel us into a new future as a community,” Rev. Ingrid Rasmussen, pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, told Sojourners.

Do the New CDC Guidelines Mean a Return to In-person Worship?

by Gina Ciliberto 05-14-2021

Image via Shutterstock / Redaktion93

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines telling people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine that they can now attend a full-capacity worship service and sing in an indoor chorus, among other activities.

While people “will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation” the CDC guidelines now say that if “you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic...without wearing a mask or physically distancing.”

Biden Promised to Admit More Refugees. So Why Hasn’t He?

by Gina Ciliberto 05-03-2021

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks speaks during a brief appearance at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Throughout his presidential campaign, Joe Biden said he would restore America’s role as a “leader” in refugee resettlement. And despite a discouraging start on fulfilling that promise, faith leaders and other advocates for refugees are determined to hold him to his commitment.

Will Bishops Tell Biden Not to Take Communion Over Abortion?

by Gina Ciliberto 04-28-2021

Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington, D.C., has said that he would not deny Biden Communion; Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie, pastor of Biden’s home parish in Washington, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, agreed with that decision.

When Conspiracy Theories Come To Church

by Gina Ciliberto 04-28-2021
How to deprogram followers of Trumpism and other extremist cults.
Abstract illustrations of ears, hands, and a church building in a sinister red.

Illustration by Ibrahim Rayintakath

BEFORE 2020, REV. JOSH GELATT did not know much about QAnon. Gelatt had been lead pastor at Cascades Baptist Church in Jackson, Mich., since 2016. On occasion, he had heard congregants allege that “Democrats, liberals, and socialists are evil,” and that “they’re out to close churches and take away guns in the United States.” He had heard Christian nationalistic claims, such as “we are God’s chosen country.”

Gelatt, who does not identify as a Democrat or a Republican, was reasonably concerned. Then in spring 2020, Gelatt noticed what he called an “alarming twist” in his congregation.

After the murder of George Floyd in May, Cascades Baptist Church erupted with QAnon’s apocalyptic conspiracy theories, which the FBI has warned may lead some adherents to domestic terrorism. In the church and on social media, Gelatt witnessed members share false allegations that then-presidential candidate Joe Biden had “an island with an underground submarine where he receives his pedophile orders” and that there were “underground railroads between various cities run by Hollywood elites.” Congregants claimed that then-President Donald Trump was going to “seize power, execute the liberals, and expose pedophile rings.”

Despite Hate From Evangelicals, Katharine Hayhoe Sees Climate Hope

by Gina Ciliberto 04-20-2021

Katharine Hayhoe poses for a portrait. Courtesy photo. (Ashley Rodgers/Texas Tech University)

Hayhoe’s passion for climate science is based in her Christian faith. Hayhoe is an evangelical, which she defines as “someone who takes the Bible seriously.” For her, faith and science go hand in hand: The more that she learns about science, the more her “awe” and faith in God increases.

Christians Counter the Rise of Anti-Trans Legislation

by Gina Ciliberto 04-14-2021
Trans Christians and their allies see affirming gender expression as a “holy endeavor.”

A person holds up a flag to protest a proposal to narrow the definition of gender during a 2018 rally at City Hall in New York City. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

On April 6, the Arkansas State Legislature passed a bill that will make it a felony to provide gender-affirming healthcare to transgender people under the age of 18.

The legislature overrode a veto from Gov. Asa Hutchinson to pass HB 1570, also known as the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act. The bill criminalizes prescribing puberty blockers, hormones, and gender-affirming surgery, and prohibits medical providers from referring patients to other providers for such treatment.

Biden Proclaims César Chávez Day to Honor the Labor Activist

by Gina Ciliberto 04-01-2021

A child looks at a photograph of César Chávez. Photo: lunita lu / CC BY-NC 2.0

In a White House proclamation, President Joe Biden declared March 31, 2021 as César Chávez Day. Biden called upon “all Americans to observe this day as a day of service and learning, with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor César Chávez’s enduring legacy.”

Why Do Chaplains Have To Pay for Their Internships?

by Gina Ciliberto 03-30-2021

Earlier this month, after a tweet reignited a debate about the inequity of unpaid internships, one corner of the internet pointed out that clinical pastoral education, an unpaid internship that often costs tuition, is an overlooked part of the work-for-free problem.

Sr. Dianna Ortiz, Torture Survivor and Activist, Dies at 62

by Gina Ciliberto 02-19-2021

Sr. Dianna Ortiz. Photo: Johnny Zokovitch

On Feb. 19, Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU died of cancer at age 62. Ortiz is known for her international anti-torture activism following her own kidnapping and torture in Guatemala in 1989.

A Love Letter to the Black Church

by Gina Ciliberto 02-16-2021

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song airs on PBS on Feb. 16 & 17. Image via screengrab.

On Feb. 16, PBS will air the first episode of a new, four-hour, two-part series, The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song. Hosted and written by Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is also the documentary’s executive producer, the series traces the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, beginning with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and culminating in the present day.

Virginia to Become First Southern State to Abolish Death Penalty

by Gina Ciliberto 02-05-2021

The Virginia State Capitol, the seat of state government of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is pictured in Richmond, Va., Feb. 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jay Paul

Lawmakers in Virginia voted on Friday to abolish the death penalty. The Democratic-led House of Delegates voted 57-41 Friday, after the Senate passed the measure earlier this week. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said he would sign the repeal into law.

We’re Perfecting Our Capacity for Human Destruction

by Gina Ciliberto 02-01-2021

A sign advocating nuclear disarmament outside the White House on July 4, 2009. Image: Frontpage / Shutterstock.com

On Jan. 27, former California Gov. Jerry Brown — now executive chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — spoke passionately to fellow global leaders, scientists, and public figures at the Doomsday Clock virtual news conference. “It’s time to eliminate nuclear weapons, not build more of them,” he said.

After 1,300 Days, Pastor José Chicas Leaves Sanctuary

by Gina Ciliberto 01-22-2021

Pastor José Chicas, right, leaves sanctuary on Jan. 22, 2021 in Durham, N.C. Photo: Pilar Timpane.

Today, Pastor José Chicas — an undocumented immigrant who has been in sanctuary in Durham, N.C., since June 27, 2017 — is returning home. His departure from sanctuary comes as a result of President Joe Biden’s 100-day moratorium on some deportations.

Presidents ‘Are Not Supreme Authority,’ Inaugural Prayers Remind Us

by Gina Ciliberto 01-20-2021

The U.S. Capitol during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

At President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Rev. Leo O’Donovan, SJ, invoked the “Holy Mystery of Love” to be with us “as we dream together.”

TRANSCRIPT: The Prayer Offered at Biden's Inauguration By Rev. O'Donovan

by Gina Ciliberto 01-20-2021

Shortly before Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, Rev. Leo O’Donovan, SJ, a longtime friend and mentor of President Biden's, delivered this prayer. 

Biden Promises Dramatic Change to Trump's Anti-Immigrant Agenda

by Gina Ciliberto 01-19-2021

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks at The Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Dec., Jan. 14, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File photo

On Sunday, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he will unveil an immigration bill — which includes an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. — on Day One of his administration. The proposed bill includes an option for undocumented agricultural workers, people under temporary protective status, and immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children to qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school, or meet other requirements.

Here's Where to Pray (Virtually) During Inauguration Week

by Gina Ciliberto 01-15-2021

A woman holds a sign at the ‘Get Off Our Necks’ Commitment March on Washington in August 2020 in Washington, D.C. Jelani Photography / Shutterstock.com

As the Inauguration Day nears, one thing is clear: The U.S. needs as many prayers as possible. Here are places where you can pray virtually, both before and after new elected officials take office.

Resist a White, Male Way of Leading, Trailblazing Women Faith Leaders Advise Harris

by Gina Ciliberto 01-13-2021

Across different faith traditions, a number of women faith leaders in the U.S. broke their own glass ceilings, each marking a historic first within their communities. Amid their diversity, all of the women interviewed here have one common piece of advice for Harris as she becomes the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history: Be fully yourself.

They Invaded the Capitol Saying ‘Jesus Is My Savior. Trump Is My President’

A man holds a sign reading “In God We Trust” during a march to the Capitol that would later descend into chaos when a mob stormed the building forcing Congress to take recess from its Electoral College vote, Jan. 6, 2021. Photo by Madison Muller for Sojourners

When a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday afternoon, many carried weapons, wore red MAGA hats, and draped themselves in the candidate’s flag. After legislators and their staff had been evacuated, Trump supporters entered the Senate floor. With them came a Christian flag.