Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service

Lauren Markoe covered government and features as a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years before joining the Religion News Service staff as a national correspondent in 2011.

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Scientists Ponder How to Talk to the Faithful About Climate Change

After sessions on gravitational waves, nuclear forensics, and artificial intelligence, one of the world’s largest general science conferences invited attendees to hear from an Episcopal priest.

The Rev. Fletcher Harper preached on climate change, and how to get a vast segment of the world’s population to pay better attention to what scientists know but many others doubt: that the problem is worsening and portends disaster.

“My entreaty for scientists is to be able to speak publicly about why you care,” said Harper, executive director of GreenFaith, an interfaith nonprofit that aims to galvanize religious people to safeguard the environment.

Jewish Groups Dismayed by Trump’s Response to Anti-Semitism Question

Image via RNS/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

The reporter asked President Trump about the rise of anti-Semitism in America. His answer — or seeming lack of one — angered many prominent Jewish Americans.

“Donald Trump’s inability to simply condemn antisemitism boggles the mind,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action.

Trump Retains LGBT State Department Official, Frustrating Christian Conservatives

Image via RNS/U.S. State Department

Conservative Christians in particular cheered [Trump's] nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and his promised “fix” for the Johnson Amendment, which restricts pastors' ability to politick in the pulpit.

But, for the second time since his inauguration, Trump has decided to retain an Obama-era initiative to protect sexual minorities.

Does Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ Disregard the Law?

Image via Jerome Socolovsky/ RNS 

True, the executive order, which includes a restriction on travel to the U.S. for nationals of seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days, does not directly refer to followers of Islam. But that doesn’t mean it’s not aimed at them, critics say. 

 

At the Women's March, People of Faith Among Those Resisting Trump

Image via RNS/Jerome Socolovsky

Their signs spoke of support for abortion rights, immigrants, Black Lives Matter, and science — and of their disgust with newly inaugurated President Donald Trump.

Politics drew hundreds of thousands to the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21. But many said they were also compelled by their faith.

Sanctuary Congregations Have Doubled Since Trump Election, Say Faith Leaders

Image via Ken Rowland/flickr.com

More than 800 congregations have declared themselves sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants, about double the number since Election Day.

Leaders of the sanctuary movement say the pace of churches, and other houses of worship, declaring themselves sanctuaries has quickened, in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Jan. 20.

Did God Choose Trump? What It Means to Believe in Divine Intervention

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

“God raised up, I believe, Donald Trump,” said former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann after he won the GOP nomination. “God showed up,” the Rev. Franklin Graham said to cheers at a post-election rally. “God came to me, in a dream last night, and said that Trump is his chosen candidate,” said the televangelist Creflo Dollar.

For those who share this view, Trump’s victory was nothing short of miraculous, especially given that he beat out 16 other in the Republican primaries — some of them evangelical Christians with long political resumes.

Bomb Threats Called Into 16 Jewish Community Centers in One Day

Image via RNS/Anti-Defamation League

At least 16 Jewish community centers received bomb threats on Jan. 9, in an apparent attempt to rattle American Jews, who have seen a spike in anti-Semitism incidents in the past year.

The threats — some by live callers, some by robocall — were made to JCCs in Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, South Carolina, and at least four other states.

Gay Couple Will Pastor Historic Baptist Church in Washington

Image via StreetsofWashington/flickr.com

Calvary Baptist Church, a progressive Baptist landmark in the heart of downtown Washington, has named a gay couple as co-pastors.

Sally Sarratt and Maria Swearingen were presented to the congregation during worship services on Jan. 8 and will begin their new jobs on Feb. 26.

Many Muslim Voters Don't Appear in Results of Exit Polls

Image via RNS/Reuters/Darren Ornitz

“The picture is mixed,” said Besheer Mohamed, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center who specializes in religion.

“On the one hand, its seems clear that Muslims are a pretty small part of the population. On the other hand, they are concentrated in some states and metro areas that might increase their voting powers in those specific areas.”

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