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New York Church Provides Sanctuary for Undocumented Immigrants
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
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.
“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
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?
In one weekend, the swastika appeared in public places in three U.S. cities — Houston, Chicago, 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.”
Free Speech Fairness Act Would Enable Tax-Exempt Churches to Endorse Political Candidates
The day before President Trump used his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast to promise a repeal of the Johnson Amendment, a bill was introduced in Congress to effectively do that. It has not yet been scheduled for debate or a vote.
The Free Speech Fairness Act is being touted as a “fix” to the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law that prohibits nonprofits from engaging in politics. But how much of a fix would the act be? Would it offer a First Amendment right of free speech to clergy — or trample the same First Amendment’s guarantee of a separation between church and state?
Trump Vows to Let Tax-Exempt Churches Engage in Politics
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.
Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court
President Donald Trump announced his Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last February: Judge Neil Gorsuch. Here are five faith facts about the nominee.
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