Last week, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter his intent to bar transgender from people serving in the military — a move reportedly heavily influenced by the Family Research Council, a conservative evangelical lobbying organization. The Public Religion Research Institute reports that more than one in five Americans have a close friend or family member who is transgender and more than six in ten Americans say transgender people face a lot of discrimination in the country today. This snapshot captures the dynamics of the Trump era: the anxieties and reactionary measures of religious conservatives within a cultural and religious landscape that is dramatically shifting.
Jakarta's Christian governor has been sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy, a harsher-than-expected ruling critics fear will embolden hardline Islamist forces to challenge secularism in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation. The April 9 guilty verdict for Basuki Tjahaja Purnama comes amid concern about the growing influence of Islamist groups, who organized mass rallies during a tumultuous election campaign that ended with Purnama losing his bid for another term as governor.
A day after his first speech to Congress, President Trump was still basking in unexpected praise from the public and some pundits, who saw in his delivery a man who finally came across as measured in tone and downright “presidential,” as some put it, even if his few policy prescriptions reiterated the hard line, nationalist agenda that propelled him to office.
But there is one key constituency that might not be as enamored with the address: social conservatives, whose support was arguably most critical to Trump’s election.
These are turbulent times. 2016 was a turbulent year. But the waters of baptism invite us to hope. We hold our breath, the water splashing against our skin. We hold our breath, anticipating what is to come. We hold our breath, we remember our baptism, and we have hope.
Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, has come under fire for his friendship with Russian president Vladimir Putin – who is suspected of trying to tip the election to Trump – his lack of diplomatic experience, and the fact that he is a corporate bigwig who champions fossil fuels, even as the threat of global warming grows.
But Tillerson, whose nomination was announced on Dec. 13, may also face criticism from an unexpected quarter – social conservatives whose support was critical to Trump’s unexpected election last month.
By not hiding her HIV-positive status, Princess Kasune—an opposition MP in Zambia—is subverting the stigma of HIV/AIDS in her country, reports BBC News.
In 1997 Kasune tested positive for HIV and defied her husband’s desire to keep her status a secret. For this her church excommunicated her and her family disagreed with her decision.
“I long to see an HIV-free generation and hopefully a day without stigma,” said Kasune.
Arrival is an intricate, beautifully-realized story reminding us that, especially at a moment of great clamor in our society, it’s important not just to talk, but to listen to each other — and not just to listen, but to listen with intentionality and compassion.
A week after Donald Trump’s stunning election as president sent the country’s governance lurching to the right, the nation’s Catholic bishops sent a message of their own — at least on immigration — by putting Mexican-born Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles in line to become the first Latino to lead the American hierarchy.
But the vote at their annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 15 also suggested that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is still hesitant to fully endorse the more progressive and pastoral approach to ministry that Pope Francis has been championing since his election in 2013.
Trump's campaign sues over polling location that allegedly stayed open late for voters.
While I was in Germany last week, watching the American election from afar, the Lutheran lectionary called for Micah 6:6-8 as text. That last verse plays a central role in America’s self-perception. It leads back to the year 1630, when a group of pious Calvinists sailed from England to North America. Boxed in between state church and English monarchy, they longed for more space to follow their religion. They wanted to build a society centered on the word of the God of the Bible. The Pilgrims decided to leave Europe and its institutions to become American immigrants. No walls could have stopped them.
Now, more than ever, we need political candidates and elected officials on both sides of the aisle who value the rich and diverse tapestry of this nation and seek to build bridges instead of walls. And while we deserve candidates who exhibit civility and respect in their campaigns and governance, this has never been a guaranteed right. We must be committed and courageous enough to speak out for mutual respect and decency. We must challenge all leaders and hold them accountable to the values presented throughout the gospel.
As Christians, our actions and our words represent our faith. I don’t need a bumper sticker to tell you that. Let’s make sure the loudest voices are the ones for equity and transformative love across difference. Because each day as a Christian, you cast your ballot.
I’m a Christian, and each day, I vote.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”-Martin Luther King Jr.
This week at Liberty University, Donald Trump was given a platform to address evangelicals. Much has been written on why Donald Trump is patently unqualified to be speaking on a day where we celebrate the lasting impact of Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight against oppression. His racist and xenophobic policy proposals include mass deportations, barring Muslims from travelling to the United States, and creating a registry to monitor Muslims in America. Lending legitimacy to him is entirely contradictory to the life and mission of Martin Luther King Jr.
The GOP leadership really doesn’t want refugees to come to the United States. And Stephen Colbert has a few things to say about that.
Republican leaders in Congress approved a bill Nov. 19 requiring “our nation’s top security officials” to certify that each refugee poses no threat, despite the United States’ already stringent immigration guidelines. Under the guise of “security,” the bill practically functions to severely restrict the number of Syrian refugees able to enter the United States.
After long deliberation about whether he would run, the Catholic Vice President Joe Biden announced Oct. 21 at the White House Rose Garden that he will not seek the Democratic Party's nomination for president.
"I've concluded, [the window for running for president] has closed," Biden said, with President Obama and his wife, Jill Biden, beside him.
"I believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign."
AS ONE OF the few white males who has not declared his candidacy for president, I’m actually enjoying the relative calm before the upcoming election season. Our television shows are still punctuated by soothingly predictable commercials about luxury cars and erectile dysfunction. In a few months they’ll be railing against job-killing gay marriage and the evils of climate science, also job-killing, followed by the reassuring voice of a man who says “I apologize for this message.” (Kidding. But wouldn’t that be great?!)
At this point, with little at stake, the legions of Republican candidates are of interest only for their entertainment value, their speeches lacking in substance but their repetitive talking points ripe with possibility for drinking games. (Caution: When listening to Ted Cruz, don’t choose the words “constitution” or “unadulterated judicial activism” if you’re the designated driver.)
We’re at that sweet spot in time when Iowa is just a state known for its agricultural products (corn, I think), and when Hillary Clinton has not yet been compared to Hitler. If we think about politics at all, it’s to come up with reasons not to support Bernie Sanders. Because, if you set aside the oddity of a Vermont senator who still sounds like the Flatbush of his youth, there’s only one reason: his age. He’s 73, six years older than Hillary Clinton and decades older than Donald Trump, who is, like, 12, right?