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Mark I. Pinsky 6-12-2017

Image via RNS/Sarah M. Brown

King is no latecomer on this issue. His views and his deep commitment to the LGBTQ community were shaped by his gay older brother’s suicide in the 1990s, an event that shook his family.

King’s sentiments were not unique, even for straight white believers like himself. What is unique is that they came from a candidate for governor of Florida who is running as both an evangelical Christian and a progressive Democrat.

Joel C. Hunter 6-09-2017

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jim Young

Our natural tendency after a horrific event is to rush too quickly into blame and explanation.

After the Pulse nightclub shooting here in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, which targeted the LGBTQ community and left 50 people dead including the shooter, I was probably not alone in asking, “Who did this and why?”

Bobby Ross Jr. 5-26-2017

Image via RNS/Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

“If I’ve got money, and it’s easy for me to get over and give them money, I do,” Thun said. “What the Lord taught me is, I have a responsibility to give. What they choose to do with the money is between them and the Lord, and he can work with them in regards to stewardship.”

Image via RNS 

The sanctuary, designed by Newman Architects of New Haven, Conn., provides a space for sharing, a place for those from different faith traditions, values, and cultures to meet and engage in dialogue, and to nurture the Lynn University community.

Brian McLaren 4-07-2017

Image via RNS 

Indeed, a comprehensive analysis of deterrence studies by the National Academy of Sciences found no evidence that the death penalty impacts murder rates in either direction. Ayala emphasized that her office pursues evidence-based practices, not policies such as the death penalty whose deterrent effect rests on faith alone.

the Web Editors 4-05-2017

Screenshot via Tampa Bay Times

Black motorists in Florida are twice more likely to be shot by police after being pulled over for a traffic violation than white motorists in Florida, reports the Tampa Bay Times in an online interactive, “If You’re Black.”

This statistic is part of a new investigative study by the paper of every police shooting that occurred in Florida from 2009-2014. The newspaper gathered data from autopsies, news articles, police reports, and subsequent lawsuits.

the Web Editors 2-13-2017

Image via ndlon/flickr.com

A recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute reveals there aren’t any states in the U.S. in which 50 percent or more of its residents support deportation as adequate reform of the immigration system. Even in California, Texas, and Florida, states that respectively have the highest, second-highest, and third-highest number of undocumented immigrants in the country, this holds true.

Image via ana m./flickr.com

Twenty-seven Jewish community centers in 17 states reported receiving false telephone bomb threats on Jan. 18, prompting evacuations and an FBI probe into the second wave of hoax attacks to target American Jewish facilities this month.

The JCC Association of North America, a network of health and education centers, said the threatened organizations were working with police and many had resumed operations, after no bombs were found nor injuries reported, as was the case after the earlier series of threats on Jan. 9.

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.

Da'Shawn Mosley 12-21-2016

Image via Disney - ABC Television Group/flickr.com

Let us not forget the impact that D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation had on America when it was released in 1915. An adaptation of the novel The Clansman: A Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan, there’s little doubt in my mind that the film’s racist depictions of African Americans and affirming depictions of Klansmen formed and hardened the discriminatory beliefs of many white people in the U.S., making them further believe that black people were undeserving of fairness, respect, and freedom. The Birth of a Nation is a prime example of why we need new stories, told from the perspective of identities that are generally ignored and denigrated.

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.”

the Web Editors 11-16-2016

Image via mdgn/Shutterstock.com

The dismantling of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by the Supreme Court and conservative state elected officials may be a major reason behind Donald Trump's 2016 U.S. presidential election win, reports ThinkProgress. This was the nation’s first presidential election since the Voting Rights Act's implementation 50 years ago in which the act didn’t provide full protection to voters of color.

Michael Schulson 11-11-2016

Image via Philip Meyer/Shutterstock.com

“You are in a year of greatness. You are in a year of restoration,” White preached to a group of some 100 worshippers, almost all of them African-Americans. They had gathered in a large, windowless room at Faith Assembly Christian Center, a simple building in a predominantly black neighborhood of Durham.

Asked afterward about her ties with the president-elect, she declined to be interviewed “out of respect for the church.”

Image via RNS/[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Black faith leaders and social justice advocates are commemorating the lynching of Anthony Crawford, a man who owned 427 acres in Abbeville, S.C., when he was killed on Oct. 21, 1916.

He had been jailed after a dispute with a white store owner over the price of cottonseed. He was released, but was abducted by a large mob of white men and lynched, his body riddled with bullets.

the Web Editors 9-07-2016

Screenshot from Sia's 'The Greatest' music video.

Singer and songwriter Sia recently released a stunning music video for her song “The Greatest,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, that appears to be a tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla. in June.

In the video, dancer Maddie Ziegler leads a group of 49 dancers in an energetic dance routine, 49 also being the number of people killed in the shooting at the gay nightclub.

Image via Miguel Discart/Flickr

The LGBTQ community continues to fight to be recognizably human, and attacks like the one here in Orlando remind us why that fight is so important and still so necessary.

At the vigil downtown on June 13, an evangelical Hispanic preacher spoke. He said, “Not all evangelicals hate you. Some of us love you and we welcome you in our congregations!” And when he prayed, many prayed with him.

Rick Herron 3-07-2016

Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Image via CWMc/Flickr

The boycott stems from Wendy’s refusal to CIW’s Fair Food Program, a workplace-monitoring program that the group designed to prevent worker abuse and exploitation, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Wendy’s has moved some operations out of Florida — where tomato growers had begun implementing the Fair Food Program — to Mexico, where worker abuse in the industry has been widely documented.

Dotti Groover-Skipper

Florida is a target state for traffickers, with the Tampa Bay area as a top destination for this monstrous activity. Tampa Bay has a lethal combination of tourism, world famous beaches, hospitality and agricultural industries, sports arenas, a military base, international seaports and airports, as well as a destination spot for one of thelargest adult entertainment industries in the nation. This combination attracts all forms of human trafficking which has become a larger money maker than selling drugs, as the human "product" can be used and re-used over and over again.

Brad Heath 10-07-2014

Participants celebrate the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling in Kansas City, Mo. on June 26. Photo by Sally Morrow/RNS.

The Supreme Court’s decision to sit out the legal battle over same-sex marriage will — for now, at least — leave the future of laws prohibiting gays and lesbians from marrying in the hands of lower state and federal court judges. But it also almost certainly means the couples challenging those laws are more likely to win in the end.

The court said Oct. 6 that it would not hear appeals from five states whose same-sex marriage bans had been invalidated by lower federal courts. The decision, issued without explanation, will likely lead to recognition of gay marriages in 11 more states. It also allows an avalanche of legal challenges to the remaining bans to keep going forward in state and federal courts, where gay and lesbian couples have overwhelmingly prevailed.

The court’s decision leaves unchanged 20 state laws blocking same-sex unions. Each is already under legal attack, facing challenges in state or federal court, and sometimes both. Challenges to marriage bans already have reached a handful of state appeals courts and the federal appeals courts for the 5th, 6th, 9th and 11th circuits.

Some of those judges had been waiting to see what the Supreme Court would do. The court’s instruction Oct 6. was: Proceed.

The Gullah/Geechee Nation, extending from North Carolina to Florida, battles against corporate encroachment, environmental racism, and climate change.

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