Corrie Mitchell

Corrie Mitchell writes for Relgion News Service.

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Memories of the March

Rep. John Lewis. Photo courtesy RNS/the Office of Rep. John Lewis.

Rep. John Lewis. Photo courtesy RNS/the Office of Rep. John Lewis.

Don Cash had graduated from high school in June 1963 and decided on the spur of the moment to join the March on Washington when he finished his work shift at a nearby warehouse. The Baptist layman is the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union’s Minority Coalition and a board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the NAACP. 

“I think we got a long ways to go but I do think that there’s been a lot of changes. I don’t think you’ll ever see what Martin Luther King dreamed in reality, in total. I think we’ll always have to strive for perfection. The dream that he had is a perfect world and I think that in order to be perfect, you have to continue to work at it.”

Study: Evangelical ‘Messy Middle’ More Accepting of Gays

by Corrie Mitchell 08-13-2013
RNS photo by Sally Morrow

Participants celebrate the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling in Kansas City, Mo. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

A new voice is emerging in the evangelical community, and it’s turning away from the church’s vocal opposition to homosexuality in favor of a more tolerant attitude.

Researchers at Baylor University found that 24 percent of evangelicals were “ambivalent,” meaning they support civil unions or legal recognition of gay relationships, despite harboring a moral opposition to homosexuality.

“What you have is this increase in people coming out publicly and saying, ‘I don’t want to be a part of this anti-gay rights movement as an evangelical,’” said Lydia Bean, assistant professor of sociology at Baylor and co-author of the study.

The study, “How the Messy Middle Finds a Voice: Evangelicals and Structured Ambivalence towards Gays and Lesbians,” analyzed national data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey, conducted by Gallup.

Study Shows Minorities Most Likely to Favor Longer Lives

by Corrie Mitchell 08-08-2013
Chart from Pew Research Center's “Living to 120 and Beyond." Photo via RNS.

Chart from Pew Research Center's “Living to 120 and Beyond." Photo via RNS.

Noah’s grandfather Methuselah lived to the ripe old age of 969 and Moses reached 120, but most Americans would be happy to make it into their 90s, according to a new study.

Black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics are the most likely religious groups to say “radical life extension” — living to age 120 or more — would be good for society, according to a new Pew Research Center study, “Living to 120 and Beyond,” released Tuesday.

The speculative “Living to 120 and Beyond” survey comes against the backdrop of U.S. Census Bureau projections that suggest by 2050, one in five Americans will be 65 or older, and more than 400,000 will be 100 or older.

Wives Find Renewed Faith After Husbands ‘Visit’ Heaven

by Corrie Mitchell 08-06-2013
Eva Piper considered herself a "shallow Christian" before the accident that revi

Eva Piper considered herself a "shallow Christian" before the accident that revitalized her faith. Photo via RNS.

Eva Piper considered herself a shallow Christian until the accident that revitalized her faith and turned her Baptist pastor husband, Don Piper, into the best-selling author of “90 Minutes in Heaven.”

“It wasn’t until Don’s accident that I really opened myself up to a really honest relationship with the Lord,” said Eva Piper, who says she’s embarrassed to recall her superficial faith.

Eva Piper writes about life after her husband’s alleged visit to heaven in “A Walk Through the Dark,” released on July 30. Her book comes nine years after the publication of her husband’s book, which spent more than five years on The New York Times’ best-seller list.

Catholics Differ at 'War on Poverty' Hearing

by Corrie Mitchell 08-01-2013
Sr. Simone Campbell talks to the press after meeting with a representative of Re

Sr. Simone Campbell talks to the press after meeting with a representative of Rep. Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. Photo via RNS.



Sister Simone Campbell, the face of the famous “Nuns on the Bus” tours, and Rep. Paul Ryan, the brains behind the House Republicans’ budget-cutting plans, have for more than a year represented diametrically opposed camps on how to apply Catholic social teaching to American fiscal policy.

At a House Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday, the two Catholics had a chance to square off as the sister testified before Ryan’s committee about hardship in America as the nation nears the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s 1964 declaration of the “War on Poverty.”

Yet there were few fireworks nor much in the way of theological debate, as Ryan, R-Wis., did not go out of his way to champion the GOP budget plan that bears his name. That plan focuses on cutting social programs that Campbell says are key to supporting struggling Americans and also boosting the economy.



Camp Quest Provides Summer Fun for Atheist Kids

by Corrie Mitchell 07-31-2013
Photo courtesy RNS.

Camp Quest Chesapeake, a secular summer camp in Upper Marlboro, Md. Photo courtesy RNS.

Beneath the shade of a pavilion, a group of children discuss the difference between atheism and agnosticism.

Most campers participating in this woodsy Socrates Cafe identify as atheists — one was raised Mormon, another said she would feel comfortable changing her views if she found reason to believe in God.

And then, the voice of a teenage boy: “I feel as if I’m too young to decide,” he said, adding that he’s still exploring his options, evaluating the evidence.

Nuns on the Bus Push Congress to Pass Immigration Reform

by Corrie Mitchell 07-25-2013
Photo courtesy Richard Thornton/

Sister Simone Campbell before a march in support of a new immigration law in June. Photo courtesy Richard Thornton/Shutterstock.

The “Nuns on the Bus” are back from their 6,800-mile trek across the U.S., but their hardest job may be yet to come: convincing the Republican-led House to pass immigration reform.

The cross-country tour, a project of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, was the nuns’ second cross-country trip after last year’s push to protest proposed budget cuts that the sisters said would hurt the poor.

When it comes to lobbying for comprehensive immigration reform, Sister Simone Campbell said even the Catholic bishops are on board with the Nuns on the Bus.

Conservatives Say Religious Freedom is 'Under Attack’ in Military

by Corrie Mitchell 07-11-2013

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) seeks support during a Capitol Hill press conference on July 9. Photo courtesy RNS.

Republican lawmakers and conservative activists concerned that religious expression in the military is “under attack” are rallying behind a measure to provide greater protection for religious “actions and speech” in the armed forces.

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. John Fleming, R-La., would specify in the military spending bill that, “Except in cases of military necessity, the Armed Forces shall accommodate the beliefs, actions, and speech” of service members.

Previous spending bills protected the “beliefs” of service members and chaplains, but the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act would expand protections to include religious “actions and speech.”

White House Says It Can’t List Westboro Baptist as ‘Hate Group’

by Corrie Mitchell 07-05-2013
Photo courtesy cometstarmoon via Flickr

Westboro Baptist Church members protest at a Presbyterian church in Madison, Wis. Photo courtesy cometstarmoon via Flickr

WASHINGTON — In response to five “We the People” petitions, the White House condemned the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church but said it is powerless to list the Kansas church as a hate group and remove its tax-exempt status.

The White House response on Tuesday said the federal government does not maintain a list of hate groups, instead leaving that task to private organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. Both have called Westboro a hate group.

‘Princesses’ Embraces a Stereotype, Leaving Some Jews Uncomfortable

by Corrie Mitchell 06-24-2013
Photo by Alex Martinez/Bravo / courtesy NBC

Long Island: Princesses, Season 1 cast, Photo by Alex Martinez/Bravo / courtesy NBC

Meet Amanda, Casey, Ashlee, Chanel, Joey, and Erica. They spend their time and their parents’ money shopping for designer labels, searching for rich husbands, and lounging by the pool with a glass of wine in hand.

They’re self-admitted “Jewish American Princesses,” and Bravo’s built a whole reality series, "Princesses: Long Island" around their exploits. The show follows six unmarried 20-something Jewish women living with their parents on New York’s Long Island. The first two episodes were titled “You Had Me at Shalom” and “Shabbocalypse Now.”

“Everybody has a stereotype of a Long Island Jewish girl,” cast member Ashlee White said on the show’s June 2 premiere. “People get so offended! I’m like, ‘Bring it.’ I’m Jewish, I’m American, and I’m a princess.”

And that’s where some Jews — and even some Long Islanders — have a problem.