Yonat Shimron, Religion News Service

Yonat Shimron is the managing editor of Religion News Service.

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Texas Church to Be Demolished, Like Other Mass Killing Sites Before It

The playground at the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

“I have said sometimes there is a fierceness for survivors who say, ‘We have survived this and we have a faith that survives even in the face of something like this,'” Walsh said. “It is a reclaiming and it is a marking of a place as not just a place of death, not just a place of loss, but of life.”

Report Confirms Surge in Anti-Semitism in 2017

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The report shows that anti-Semitic incidents spiked during and immediately following the Charlottesville protests that left one woman dead. President Trump ignited a political firestorm in the wake of the violence when he attributed “blame on both sides” — white supremacists, as well as those who marched against them.

One Effort to Combat Anti-Semitism in the Tech World

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Amid revelations that extremist groups have exploited social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to influence voters and steer readers toward fake-news, the nation’s premier anti-Semitism watchdog is training its eye on the tech world to combat hate speech online.

The Anti-Defamation League will hold a summit in San Francisco on Nov. 13 featuring Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, along with executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit to discuss ways of fighting the growing menace of cyber hate.

Lutheran Church: Celebrating 500 Years, Amid Decline

Image via RNS/Yonat Shimron

“A lot of times churches are trying to preserve the legacy of who founded the congregations founded long ago,” said Elizabeth Eaton, the presiding bishop of the ELCA. “When you try to hold on to something so tightly, you strangle it. Taking a risk while being faithful to the core message of grace is my advice.”

Denied Admission Because He’s Black, Civil Rights Leader Urges Duke Divinity to Confront its Past

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More than 60 years ago, the divinity school denied him admission because he is black. Speaking at a service in Goodson Chapel, he asked: “What is it that God would have Duke Divinity School do in light of that history? For if one is not honest about that history, one can’t be fully present.”

Meet the Only Imam to Pray Before Congress Twice

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In 2010, when he first gave the opening prayer, the U.S. religious scene was far from idyllic.

Evangelical Leaders Call on Trump to Condemn the ‘Alt-Right’

Image via RNS/AP Photo/Steve Helber

“We request upon you to join with many other political and religious leaders to proclaim with one voice that the ‘alt-right’ is racist, evil, and antithetical to a well-ordered, peaceful society,” reads the letter first published by CNN.

The signers — including Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines, former SBC President Fred Luter, and prominent African-American evangelical leaders T.D. Jakes and Tony Evans — reproach Trump for failing to speak out against the so-called alt-right.

“This movement has escaped your disapproval,” the letter reads.

Without naming names, it further states: “It concerned many of us when three people associated with the alt-right movement were given jobs in the White House.”

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.

Muslim Disaster Relief Teams Aids the South

Image via RNS / Yonat Shimron

At a time when the far right often cites the inability — or refusal — of Muslims to assimilate, these young volunteers are ready, willing, and able to do what other religious groups in this country have been doing for decades: providing emergency aid, labor, and comfort to people suffering the effects of natural disasters

Catholic Priest Goes Public About KKK Past, Takes Leave of Absence

Image via RNS / Catholic Diocese of Arlington

In his 20s, while a student at the University of Maryland, Aitcheson was charged with making bomb threats, manufacturing pipe bombs, and threatening to kill Coretta Scott King in a letter.

Aitcheson pleaded guilty to several cross burnings, including one in the front yard of an African-American couple in 1977.

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