Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service

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Hashtag About Christian Women Highlights Misogyny in the Church

Image via RNS/Creative Commons/Jason Howie

What a Christian author started on a whim rapidly turned into a whirlwind. Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Review the Bible’s View of Women, created a Twitter hashtag on April 18 called #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear. She kicked it off with a couple things that have been addressed to her.

New Study Reveals Growth in Population of American Atheists

Image via RNS/Tyrone Turner

A new study shows there may be more than twice as many atheists in the U.S. than previous studies have found.

The report by two University of Kentucky scholars suggests that because people may be embarrassed to admit they don’t believe in God, the number of Americans who say they are non-believers may be artificially low. Polls from Gallup, Pew, and Barna have reported that number between 3 and 10 percent.

Why Won’t Mike Pence Eat Alone with a Woman Who Is Not His Wife?

Image via RNS/Reuters/David Becker

A recent Washington Post profile of Karen Pence mentioned that her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, never eats alone with another woman or goes without her to events where alcohol is being served.

Twitter erupted with outrage and ridicule.

But the Indiana Republican’s practice is not unusual in many conservative Christian circles. As Emma Green pointed out in The Atlantic, it likely stems from something called “the Billy Graham Rule,” named for the 98-year-old international evangelist. Nor is it that much different in intention from the practices of conservative Jews and Muslims.

New York Church Provides Sanctuary for Undocumented Immigrants

Image via RNS/Rev. Justo Gonzalez II

The Trump administration’s hard-line stance on undocumented immigrants is polarizing: People have responded with either “throw the bums out” or “have a heart.” But the question of whether faith communities can legally offer the undocumented physical sanctuary — sheltering them in churches, synagogues, and mosques to keep them from immigration authorities — is not so cut and dry. 

A Battle with Islamophobia

3 Muslim Americans on Their Lives Today

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Nancy Wiechec/ RNS

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.

Trump Travel Ban Orders a Report on Honor Killings in U.S.

Image via Windover Way Photography

“It is a thinly-veiled reference to stereotypes about Islam and Muslims,” said Daniel Mach, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “This reference to honor killings is part of a broader effort to smear an entire faith by the extreme acts of a few and its inclusion in this order bolsters the argument that this is simply another attempt at a Muslim ban.”

Reza Aslan Might Make a ‘Believer’ Out of You

And that is the point of Believer — to use Aslan’s hip-deep immersion in some obscure corner of the faith world to show that people of different religious persuasions — even the ones generally considered marginal, dangerous, or just plain “out there” — have more in common than they know.

Mahershala Ali Becomes First Muslim to Win Acting Oscar

Image via RNS/Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

With his win for portraying a drug dealer with a father’s heart in the film Moonlight, Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim to take home an acting Oscar.

Ali, 43, won in the Best Supporting Actor category on Feb. 26, topping much bigger names, including Jeff Bridges, nominated for Hell or High Water, and Dev Patel, nominated for Lion.

Where Are God's Borders?

“Are we going to have to worry about ICE agents swooping down on our clients on distribution day?” he said. “What if my congregation chose to offer sanctuary to an immigrant facing deportation? Would we have to worry about immigration officers and sheriff’s deputies kicking down our front door?”

Bishop Mark Beckwith, who heads the Episcopal Diocese of Newark in New Jersey, says at least 10 of the 100 congregations in his diocese have parishioners who are affected by the new policies. He described a heightened sense of urgency as his diocese investigates what its collective response should be.

“What is so upsetting about this is we don’t know what a safe space is,” he said, citing uncertainty about whether the traditional status of churches as sanctuaries will be respected. “We need to move as fast as these executive orders are moving. That’s the challenge. We are grounded in our biblical faith and we need to respond.”

Swastikas Began as Symbols of Peace. Can They Ever Be Redeemed?

Image via RNS/Reuters/Amit Dave

In one weekend, the swastika appeared in public places in three U.S. cities — HoustonChicago, and New York. The sight was so offensive, average New Yorkers pulled out hand sanitizer and tissues to wipe the graffiti from the walls of the subway where it had been scrawled.

“Within about two minutes, all the Nazi symbolism was gone,” one subway rider who was there said. He added, “Everyone kind of just did their jobs of being decent human beings.”

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