Jerome Socolovsky, Religion News Service

Jerome Socolovsky is Editor-in-Chief of RNS.

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All the President’s Clergymen: A Close Look at Trump’s ‘Unprecedented’ Ties With Evangelicals

Image via RNS/Johnnie Moore

And while presidents before have consulted with spiritual advisers — evangelist Billy Graham is the best-known example — the current group’s members certainly appear to care not only about Trump’s own spiritual well-being, but also have concrete views about a range of issues and make no secret of wanting policy changes.

But exactly how much influence they wield — and whether they benefit from the association — is a matter of conjecture and debate.

Strong Religious Reaction to Trump Climate Accord Decision

Image via RNS/Jerome Socolovsky

Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Muslims, and others reacted vigorously and emotionally to President Trump’s announcement that he will withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate change agreement.

While leaders of the so-called religious left were overwhelmingly critical of the move, conservatives were somewhat divided.

Trump Vows to Let Tax-Exempt Churches Engage in Politics

Image via RNS/Reuters/Carlos Barria

President Donald Trump vowed to make good on a campaign promise to repeal the law that restricts political speech from the pulpit, speaking at his first National Prayer Breakfast as president.

“I will get rid of, totally destroy, the Johnson Amendment, and allow representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear,” he said on Feb. 2 to a gathering of 3,500 faith leaders, politicians, and other dignitaries from around the world, including King Abdullah of Jordan.

People of All Faiths Reject Refugee Ban

Image via RNS/Jerome Socolovsky

“I’m glad people realize this isn’t about just Muslims, because if you look at the countries that Trump is trying to ban refugees from, it’s not at all in line with their agenda of national security really. So people understand there’s obviously a lot of hate and stereotypes that are being used to further these so-called national security policies. People realize that if you are truly a religious person, you would understand that these laws are not in line with your religious beliefs."

Fidel Castro: A Religious Timeline

Pope Francis meets with former Cuban President Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba, on September 20, 2015. REUTERS/Alex Castro-Castro Family/Handout via Reuters

Fidel Castro, the Marxist revolutionary who later in life acknowledged that he was deeply influenced by Catholic teaching and welcomed a succession of popes to Cuba, has died at the age of 90.

Despite carrying out repressive measures against the church in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, and then being excommunicated, Castro saw himself as leading a struggle with some of the same noble aims as those of Christianity — including humility and concern for the poor.

Are Evangelicals Expecting Too Much From a Trump Presidency?

Image via RNS/Reuters/Mike Segar

As it is, white evangelicals made up a little more than a quarter of those who turned out to cast their ballots. And by winning 81 percent of their vote, Trump was assured the presidency.

Now, evangelicals are expecting much in return from a president-elect who did not mention God in his victory speech, who was “strongly” in favor of abortion rights until he was against them, who has said he does not believe in repentance, who has made lewd comments admitting to sexual assault.

'Tis the Season: For Bright, Colorful Holiday Festivals

Image via RNS/Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini

Late October is a time of colorful festivals around the world. Some mark the harvest, others are festivals of lights. Now, and in the coming weeks, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, and Yoruba are celebrating different holidays, explained here and shown in the photo essay below.

Two Nuns Found Stabbed to Death in Mississippi

Sister Paula Merrill was found stabbed to death on Aug. 25 along with another Catholic nun, Sister Margaret Held, at their home in central Mississippi.  Courtesy of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Two Catholic nuns were found stabbed to death at their home in central Mississippi. Police are investigating the case as a robbery that escalated into murder.

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCN) confirmed the deaths on Thursday of the two women, who worked at a medical clinic in the town of Durant. They were identified as Sister Paula Merrill, of the SCN in Kentucky, and Sister Margaret Held, with the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee.

Caught Between Two Cultures

A memorial outside The Stonewall Inn. Image via REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/RNS

Growing up in the seventies, I never questioned my parents’ love for their adopted homeland.

And yet as immigrants from Argentina, there were things they did not love: rock and roll music, and teenagers having sex.

Belgian Religious Groups Condemn Brussels Attacks

Image via REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/RNS

Belgian Muslim and Catholic organizations are condemning the terrorist bombings in Brussels. A statement issued by the Belgian Muslim Executive (EMB) committee, an umbrella group, said the organization “condemns with force and without reservation” what it called “acts of extreme cruelty against innocent civilians.”

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