Texas

Any anti-sanctuary city measure may face a tough road after a federal judge this week blocked Trump's executive order seeking to withhold funds from local authorities that do not use their resources to advance federal immigration laws.

Casey Jones 4-17-2017

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The world around me was constructed to, more or less, accommodate my faith.

But many Muslim students cannot take for granted what I, as a Christian, was able to take for granted.

Recently, in a letter to the Frisco Independent School District, the Texas attorney general’s office raised concerns about the constitutionality of a Muslim prayer room at Frisco’s Liberty High Schoo,l based on the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

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For Russell Moore, whose sharp criticisms of Donald Trump voters nearly cost him his job as the public voice for America’s largest Protestant denomination, the path to regaining a prophetic platform is just beginning.

Moore started down that trail this week. After apologizing for being “unnecessarily harsh” during the campaign, he received a vote of confidence from the executive committee of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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As the seminary said in announcing the award, Keller “is widely known as an innovative theologian and church leader, well-published author, and catalyst for urban mission in major cities around the world.”

But Keller is also a leader in the Presbyterian Church in America, or PCA, which is the more conservative wing of U.S. Presbyterianism and does not permit the ordination of women or LGBTQ people.

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Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission have affirmed ethicist Russell Moore, despite his criticism of President Trump that caused some to consider withholding funds from the denomination.

“For us not to stand in affirmation of the principles that Dr. Moore has espoused would be unfaithful to the mission entrusted to us by the Convention,” wrote the Executive Committee of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in a statement posted on March 20, on the website of the agency that Moore leads.

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“It is a thinly-veiled reference to stereotypes about Islam and Muslims,” said Daniel Mach, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “This reference to honor killings is part of a broader effort to smear an entire faith by the extreme acts of a few and its inclusion in this order bolsters the argument that this is simply another attempt at a Muslim ban.”

Kim Hjelmgaard 2-21-2017

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“Dutch values are based on Christianity, on Judaism, on humanism. Islam and freedom are not compatible,” populist politician Geert Wilders, 53, said in an interview with USA Today. “You see it in almost every country where it dominates. There is a total lack of freedom, civil society, rule of law, middle class; journalists, gays, apostates — they are all in trouble in those places. And we import it.”

the Web Editors 2-13-2017

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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.

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President Trump is reportedly considering naming former Baylor University President Ken Starr to head the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

The ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom monitors religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, and develops programs to promote religious freedom, according to the State Department website.

the Web Editors 2-10-2017

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In recent days more than 100 undocumented immigrants have reportedly been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents. Texas Observer reports that as many as five immigrants were detained on Feb. 9. According to the Los Angeles Times, immigration activists claim that about 100 people have been taken into custody by ICE this week, resulting in a protest in downtown Los Angeles. And news of the arrest and deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos — a mother who was previously convicted for using false papers to gain employment and afterward obeyed an order to report to ICE every six months — have circulated through social media and news outlets.

the Web Editors 2-02-2017

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made good this week on his threats to restrict funding from any cities offering protection to immigrants who are undocumented, reports CBS News. On Wednesday, Abbott witheld $1.5 million in grant funds from Travis County, which includes Texas' capital city of Austin. The reason for Abbott's action was apparently Travis County sheriff Sally Hernandez' refusal to enforce federal immigration orders. 

John Gehring 1-09-2017

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Sessions has long been, in the words of one prominent immigration advocate, the “most anti-immigrant senator in the chamber.” When George W. Bush, a self-styled “compassionate conservative” and born-again Christian, pushed a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007 that was supported by many business and law-enforcement officials, Sessions railed against what he called the “no illegal alien left behind bill” and led the charge against the failed effort. “Good fences make good neighbors,” he said at a press conference the year before.

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Science and education professionals are increasingly alarmed about the impact Donald Trump’s cabinet picks — many of them evangelical Christians — could have on science standards in public schools.

Candidate Trump repeatedly pledged to end the existing Common Core curricula standards for math and English. Critics worry that could open the door to rethinking science standards, and lead to the teaching of creationism and Intelligent Design, pseudo-scientific notions about Earth’s origins with little or no support from scientists.

the Web Editors 12-02-2016

Currently there are an estimated 300 sanctuary states, counties, and cities across the U.S., but no model for sanctuary campuses. Calls for sanctuary campuses began in the wake of Donald Trump’s campaign pledges to repeal DACA and escalate deportations.

the Web Editors 11-29-2016
A man in a cowboy hat holds a sign of support outside of a mosque in Irving, Tx

Normand stood outside the mosque for several hours, his message of support and solidarity offering a striking counter to the more than 800 incidents of harrassment and hate crimes that have reportedly occured since Election Day.

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 9-21-2016

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On Sept. 21, Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement claiming that refugees “pose grave danger, like the Iraqi refugee with ties to ISIS who was arrested…after he plotted to set off bombs at two malls in Houston.”

This announcement comes months after Texas lost a court battle in June, in which the state attempted to keep Syrian refugees out entirely.

the Web Editors 9-15-2016

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A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Sandra Bland’s family was settled for $1.9 million, a family attorney announced on Sept. 15. 

Sandra Bland was pulled over by a state trooper in Waller County, Texas for failing to signal before she changed lanes. 

When Bland made an attempt to record the state trooper’s interaction with her, she was arrested. Three days later she was found dead in her cell by hanging.

Shane Claiborne 9-14-2016

Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, Texas has had 537 executions — that’s over 400 more than any other state. But it has been more than five months since Texas has had an execution — 161 days to be exact. And that’s a record worthy of news. There’s only one other time in the past two decades that the death chamber has been that quiet in Texas.

But what’s happening in Texas reveals something deeper that’s happening all over the country. The death penalty is dying.

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