Bills criminalizing peaceful protest have been introduced to state legislatures in five U.S. states, reports The Intercept. The five states are Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Washington. The bills have been proposed by Republican lawmakers.
The bills proposed in Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota aim to effect highway protests. The bill introduced in North Dakota, if passed, would give motorists the legal right to kill with their vehicles any protesters standing in the road, if the protester is struck accidentally.
Wesley Clark Jr., the head of Veterans for Standing Rock — a group of more than two thousand U.S. military veterans who went to Standing Rock to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline — announced last week that the organization is headed to Flint, Mich., reports ABC News. There, the veterans will assist in dealing with the town’s dire water situation.
“We don’t know when we are going to be there, but we will be heading to Flint,” said Clark Jr.
“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.”
On the day after the election, Mervat Aqqad’s 7-year-old son woke up and asked who got elected president.
When Aqqad broke the news to Ibrahim, a second-grader at the Al-Iman School in Raleigh, his first question was, “Do we have to move now?”
The family of a Muslim recruit who died during Marine Corps training is pushing back against claims by military officials that he committed suicide.
Raheel Siddiqui, 20, was in basic training with the Marines on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died March 7 after falling 40 feet in a stairwell. Marine officials have said that Siddiqui killed himself, but in a statement released Sept. 13 through their attorney, Shiraz Khan, the family said “they do not believe the story of Raheel committing suicide.”
“We believe there is a lack of material evidence needed to support ‘suicide’ as the most probable cause of death in this case,” the family said through Khan.
Long before national outlets covered water shutoffs in Detroit or toxic water in Flint, Monica Lewis-Patrick, Debra Taylor, Nayyirah Shariff, and Claire McClinton were protesting, marching, and going door-to-door to inform citizens of the problem. Their efforts helped inspire the first investigative reporting on the crisis — and since then, these four women have become de facto leaders in a movement that went on to have massive implications for race, public health, and city governance in America today.
President Obama came to Flint, Mich. on May 4 to address the ongoing water crisis in the city, where he gave a rousing speech to an auditorium full of residents.
“Flint’s recovery is everybody’s responsibility,” Obama said in his speech. “And I’m going to make sure that responsibility is met.”
While Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has admitted that mistakes have been made and takes full responsibility, the residents of Flint to this day have not found remedy. His initial action was to have city fire stations serve as bottled water and water filter distribution points. Michigan National Guard personnel provided water to residents there.
And the nation knows the crisis — high lead levels in children’s blood tests and a spike in Legionnaires disease.
The crisis in Flint, Mich., has sparked outrage and condemnation, hitting covers and front pages of national media outlets, and pointing to yet another example of our country's original sin of systemic racism. Photographer Heather Wilson shares with us this image from Flint: the old water pipes — blamed for high levels of lead in the city's water, leading to neurological damage in infants and children — v. the new pipes in the background.
I recoiled harshly when I heard suggested that white supremacy was at the core of the issues Flint had been dealing with for decades and continues to struggle with now. I knew what white supremacy was. Lynching, KKK, police dogs, etc. I didn’t think there was any way that my good intentions to help Flint had any white supremacist motivations. But that's where I, and to a large degree most white Christians, are wrong.
By the end of June — and as early as next week — the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of gay marriage nationwide. In a pre-emptive move to refocus narrative and legislative control at the state level, two states this week enacted laws designed to protect religious objection to same-sex couples. Here's how.
The same-sex marriage movement lost its first major case in a federal appeals court Thursday after a lengthy string of victories, creating a split among the nation’s circuit courts that virtually guarantees review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 2-1 ruling from the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed lower court rulings that had struck down gay marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
More important, it gives Supreme Court justices an appellate ruling that runs counter to four others from the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th circuits. Those rulings struck down same-sex marriage bans in Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, Idaho and Nevada, leading to similar action in neighboring states.
Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton, one of the Republican Party’s most esteemed legal thinkers and writers, issued the 42-page decision precisely three months after hearing oral arguments in the cases, with fellow GOP nominee Deborah Cook concurring. He delivered a rare defeat for proponents of same-sex marriage, who had won nearly all the cases decided from Florida to Alaska since the Supreme Court ruled against the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013.
Sutton argued that appellate judges’ hands are tied by a one-sentence Supreme Court ruling from 1972, which “upheld the
right of the people of a state to define marriage as they see it.” Last year’s high court decision requiring the federal government to recognize legal same-sex marriages does not negate the earlier ruling as it applies to states where gay marriage is not legal, he said.
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.
It didn’t take long to erase the gun.
Greg Bokor’s ArtPrize drawing of an assault rifle at Grand Rapids’ Fountain Street Church was rubbed out Sept. 21 after the public was invited to wield erasers imprinted with sorrow.
Normally festive art lovers obliterated the killing machine with erasers bearing the names of 83 massacred children and adults. They included Jesse Lewis, age 6, one of 20 children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December; Veronica Moser-Sullivan, also 6, youngest of 12 people killed in the 2012 Aurora, Colo. movie-theater slaughter; and the 45 victims of the Columbine High School and Virginia Tech shootings.
Within hours, the public had rendered the AR-15 just a faintly visible image. It was a powerful symbol of what many of us would like to see happen to these weapons of death so easily available to mentally deranged people seeking sick revenge.
Tragically, in real life, it is the children and other victims who have been so easily erased from our consciousness.
“We firmly oppose organized efforts, such as those regrettably now seen in this country, to break existing unions and prevent workers for organizing.”
My brother bishops and I wrote that more than a quarter-century ago in our 1986 letter Economic Justice for All. Regrettably, it rings true still today.
The right-to-work legislation that was passed by the House and the Senate in Michigan just this month is designed to break unions. It is designed to prevent workers from organizing. And we must oppose it as firmly as we did during the 1980s.
Mars Hill Bible Church has appointed a new teaching pastor, months after founding pastor and well-known author Rob Bell departed for California.
In an email sent on Wednesday to members of the Grandville, Mich., church, leaders announced Kent Dobson had accepted the lead position.
Dobson served as a worship director in the church’s early days and has preached as a guest speaker in the months since Bell left. He is the son of Ed Dobson, pastor emeritus at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids.