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Charles Camosy 9-25-2017

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What is Star Wars? For the first decade or so after George Lucas made what would come to be known as Episode IV, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, the answer to that question was easy: Star Wars was whatever Lucas said it was.

Bobby Ross Jr. 9-25-2017

Image via RNS/Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

In an apostolic letter read in Latin by Amato and English by Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Francis praised Rother as a priest and martyr “who was driven by a deeply rooted faith and a profound union with God, and by the arduous duty to spread the Word of God in missionary lands.”

Engy Abdelkader 9-21-2017

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Today, the Rohingya are the single largest “stateless” community in the world. Their “statelessness” or lack of citizenship increases their vulnerability because they are not entitled to any legal protection from the government.

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Who can forget Harold Camping, the Christian radio media mogul who picked two dates in 2011, hit the airwaves, put up billboards, solicited money — and nada. He joined some rather famous names — Edgar Cayce, Sun Myung Moon, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson [at least twice, but before he had access to the White House], and John Hagee among them — of failed futurists. Heck, Sir Isaac Newton himself, great astronomer and mathematician, bet that Jesus would return in the year 2000.

Image via RNS/AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The band’s songs of love and faith have earned over a million YouTube views and led to the release of two CDs, and now the nuns are waiting to see if they are among the honorees when Latin Grammy nominations are announced Sept. 20.

Siervas recently traveled to Southern California and drew 4,000 people when the band headlined a Spanish-language Catholic music festival.

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More than half of Americans surveyed — 53 percent — believe undocumented persons have no constitutional rights when, in actuality, they do.

Thomas Reese 9-13-2017

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“It is preposterous to claim that justice for immigrants isn’t central to Catholic teaching,” wrote Rogers. “It comes directly from Jesus Himself in Matthew 25, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food … a stranger and you welcomed me.’ Immigrants and refugees are precisely the strangers we must welcome. This isn’t Catholic partisanship. The Bible is clear: welcoming immigrants is indispensable to our faith.”

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In France’s highly secularized society, anyone who talks about religion and politics risks being written off as a closet demagogue, a Catholic traditionalist, or a potential radical Islamist. Officially, the twain should never meet.

9-12-2017

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The United Methodist Committee on Relief is known for its expertise in “case management.” After the initial cleanup — where the Methodists have work crews helping pull mud out of houses — the church sends trained volunteers into the wreckage to help families navigate the maze of FEMA assistance, state aid programs, and private insurance to help them rebuild their lives. UMCOR also trains other non-profits to send their own case managers into the disaster zone.

Image via RNS/Baylor Religion Survey

Almost three-quarters of Trump voters said Islam is a threat, compared with 18 percent of those who voted for Hillary Clinton. An even higher percentage — 81 percent — of Trump voters strongly agreed that Middle East refugees are a terror threat, compared with 12 percent of Clinton voters.

“Today, divisions in the American public are stark,” said Paul Froese, a Baylor University sociology professor and director of Baylor Religion Surveys. “We can trace many of our deep differences to how people understand traditional morality, theology, and the purpose of our nation.”

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But the officials said their decision-making process concerning the windows sped up after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month, when neo-Nazis clashed with counterprotesters. But they also acknowledged that the windows’ removal is not sufficient for addressing racial injustice.

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Almost every Christian denomination in the U.S. shows signs of growing diversity as white Christians, once the majority in most mainline Protestant and Catholic denominations, give way to younger members, who tend to be of different races, according to a study released Sept. 6 by the Public Religion Research Institute.

And American evangelicals — once seemingly immune to the decline experienced by their Catholic and mainline Protestant neighbors — are losing numbers and losing them quickly.

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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.

A mother and child evacuate from the rising waters of Buffalo Bayou following tropical storm Harvey in a neighborhood west of Houston. Aug. 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
 

How does faith speak to the storms of life that are literal? This question comes into sharp focus as a massive tropical storm inundates a populous coastal area with endless rain and epic flooding. Before, during, and after dangerous weather events, dearly held beliefs face profound challenges.

Shane Claiborne 8-30-2017

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Just as the cross has inspired millions of Christians to stand up for life, to fight for freedom and to come alongside victims of oppression, there have also been times when the cross has been twisted. And a twisted cross becomes a swastika.

A symbol of love can become a weapon. The icon of redemption can become an instrument of terror.

From left, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, White House chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Vice President Mike Pence, Aug. 28, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The State Department will retain its special envoy on anti-Semitism, a position some Jewish groups feared the Trump administration would eliminate. The envoy handling HIV/AIDS will also be retained, but many others will not survive cuts at the department, which plans to scrap 30 of the 66 current “special envoy” positions, including one that handles climate change issues.

FILE PHOTO: Clergy and people of faith counter-protest a white supremacist rally Aug. 12 in Charlottesville. Photo by Heather Wilson (@aNomadPhotog) / Dust & Light Photo.
 

The “One Thousand Ministers March for Justice,” expected to proceed Monday from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to the Justice Department, originally was planned to protest increased hate crimes, mass incarceration and discrimination and to call on the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to address those issues.

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

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.

Image via  Nicole S Glass / Shutterstock.com

“Responsibility for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, including the death of Heather Heyer, does not lie with many sides but with one side: the Nazis, alt-right and white supremacists who brought their hate to a peaceful community. They must be roundly condemned at all levels.”

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