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A U.S. federal judge in Virginia ruled on March 24 that President Donald Trump's travel ban was justified, increasing the likelihood the measure will go before the Supreme Court, as the decision took an opposing view to courts in Maryland and Hawaii that have halted the order.

U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga rejected arguments by Muslim plaintiffs, who claimed Trump's March 6 executive order temporarily banning the entry of all refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries was discriminatory.

the Web Editors 02-17-2017

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On Feb. 17, by a 52-46 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt’s nomination by President Donald Trump to head the agency was decried by many as soon as it was announced, due to Pruitt’s history of opposition to the standards of the agency he now leads; Pruitt even sued the EPA 14 times.

Matthew Schmalz 02-13-2017

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The world seems to be witnessing increasing levels of violence, fear, and hatred that challenge us each day. There are ongoing debates about how or whether to welcome immigrants and refugees to the United States; news headlines remind us about the plight of Syria and about the horrors of the Islamic State.

In such times, talk about mercy may seem more like wishful thinking. But mercy matters – now more than ever.

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The position for which Betsy DeVos has been nominated — secretary of education — is one of the least powerful in the Cabinet, in terms of its budget and position in the line of succession to the presidency.

And yet, after a confirmation hearing in which she struggled to answer questions, some Senate offices have received more calls opposing DeVos than any other nominee.

All 48 Democratic senators and two Republicans — Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins – opposed her when her nomination came to a vote on Feb. 7. Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote.

Stephen Mattson 02-06-2017

Instead of classifying people as refugees, immigrants, “illegal” immigrants, Muslims, Iranians, or whatever other association we use to judge people, God wants us to see humanity as fellow loved ones, children of God.

the Web Editors 01-19-2017

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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.

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Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will be a rare woman on Donald Trump’s Cabinet-level team, and one of the few persons of color.

Knowing little about her foreign policy positions, given that she has little to no international experience, what should we expect from Haley once she is confirmed to be ambassador to the United Nations?

the Web Editors 12-12-2016

On Dec. 11, a bipartisan group of senators — including Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed — released a joint statement announcing their intent to investigate whether Russia swayed, or attempted to sway, the 2016 U.S. presidential election to elect Donald Trump. 

On Dec. 12, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his support for their efforts and stated that the Senate intelligence committee should lead the investigation, reports Politico.

the Web Editors 11-29-2016

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On Nov. 29 the Dutch Parliament’s House of Representatives voted for a ban on burqas and niqabs, making it illegal for face-covering clothes to be worn in some Dutch public places by Muslim women, reports Reuters. The House's vote, if supported by a vote of the Dutch Parliament's Senate, would make the Netherlands the latest country to institute some sort of ban on burqas.

the Web Editors 11-28-2016

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On Nov. 26, Art Sisneros, a Texas presidential elector and Republican, announced in a blog post his resignation from the Electoral College and the reason behind his decision. “I do not see how Donald Trump is biblically qualified to serve in the office of the Presidency,” Sisneros wrote.

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“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 11-17-2016

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bill has been introduced to the Georgia state legislature that, if passed, would ban women from wearing burqas and Muslim veils while driving, walking in public, and taking a driver’s license photo, according to The Hill. The legislation was introduced by Jason Spencer, a Republican state representative of the Georgia state legislature.

the Web Editors 11-16-2016

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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.

Gay Clark Jennings 11-15-2016

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I fear now, as I have feared for months, the impact of his presidency on vulnerable people — including the white and working-class voters in places like my home state of Ohio who lent him their support.

Christians always have disagreements about policy proposals or party platforms during election seasons. But this year, I wonder how white Christians who read the same Scriptures and hold many of the same beliefs that I do could support a man who in word and deed has flaunted the core teachings of our faith.

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Americans voted largely along the lines of race, education, and party identification. Nonwhites strongly preferred Clinton, while whites decisively chose Trump. Compared with past Republicans, the businessman received a stunning surge of votes from non-college-educated white voters.

None of this is surprising.

And yet the result upends so much conventional wisdom. 

David Gushee 11-07-2016

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People need to believe in something, or someone, or Someone.

This human need to believe is a very powerful force. It can overcome a great deal of countervailing evidence. One place this is obvious is in politics.

the Web Editors 11-01-2016

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You should call the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law hotline 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) if you, or someone you know, are notified that you can’t vote, or can vote only under certain circumstances, and you suspect that unlawful practices are to blame for the difficulty.

Likewise, you should call the hotline if you notice at the poll any of the following eight possible signs of voter suppression, or if you notice blatant voter intimidation.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

For some, the choice is not clear. Clinton-Kaine may be the more personally religious ticket, but Trump-Pence is more cozy with the religious right, aka the evil empire among atheists. Then there’s Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who has no chance of victory, but is the only candidate who reached out to nonbelievers and asked for their vote.

So what’s an atheist to do?

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Behind the scenes, for example, the two candidates – who couldn’t bring themselves to shake hands at the third and final presidential debate a night earlier – were brought together by the cardinal during a brief pre-dinner prayer.

“They were both icy from the beginning, you could tell,” Dolan said. “They’re not on each other’s Christmas card list, I can tell you that. You could tell those two had a rather, I’d say, frigid relationship, more than icy.”

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The incident seems like a straightforward hate crime: Swastikas sprayed in and around the New Jersey home of an Indian-American running for Congress earlier this month.

But the vandalism is steeped in religious and ethnic irony.

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