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Weekly Wrap 1.15.16: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. What Americans Believe About Sex
A new Barna study shows the generational disparities in people's attitides about sex. “The big story here is how little everyone agrees on when it comes to the purpose of sex,” said editor-in-chief Roxanne Stone …“It’s important for Christian leaders to notice this shift in the framing of sex and to adjust their own conversations accordingly.”

2. White Christians Need to Act More Christian Than White
Jim Wallis writes in Washington Post on the need for white evangelicals to repent for how they’ve enabled racism.

Detroit Archbishop Denounces Proposals to Bar Muslims From U.S.

Image via REUTERS / Lucas Jackson / RNS

Without mentioning Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump by name, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron has blasted proposals like Trump’s that would specifically bar Muslims from the U.S., saying the idea “fractures the very foundation of morality on which we stand.”

Vigneron’s denunciation, in a letter he sent on Dec. 10 to his priests, is significant because Catholic leaders have been strong defenders of religious freedom in recent years but have been largely quiet in the wake of Trump’s controversial pitch earlier this week to bar all Muslims from the U.S.

“While the Catholic Church refrains from weighing in for or against individual candidates for a particular political office, the Church does and should speak to the morality of this important and far-reaching issue of religious liberty,” Vigneron wrote in the letter, which he also sent to imams in his state.

Rally Outside New Trump Hotel in D.C. Denounces ‘The Donald’ and Racism

Image via Ryan Hammill/Sojourners.

Speakers at the rally included representatives of the Islamic and Christian communities, the National Organization for Women, Code Pink, and Ghada Mukhdad, a Syrian refugee and member of the Syrian Civil Coalition which, according to their website, is a “lobby of Syrian civil society organizations, activists, and initiatives” that seeks to address “the increasing gap between the needs and priorities of the Syrian society on one hand and those making decisions concerning Syria.” 

Muhammad Ali to Trump: You Don't Know Islam

Image via RNS

Muhammad Ali aimed a powerful and impassioned message at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Dec. 9, saying that the recent global terrorism crisis has “perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”

Ali became a Muslim and changed his name from Cassius Clay during the height of his career as one of the greatest boxers in history. His message came in a statement following a week in which Trump cast doubt on President Barack Obama’s assertion that several American “sporting heroes” practiced Islam.

“I am a Muslim, and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world,” Ali said.

Here's What Political Leaders Are Saying About the California Shooting. Now Tell Them to Actually Do Something.

The mass shooting in San Bernardino is the 3rd worst mass killing since 1992, just after Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook. This epidemic must end.

But unfortunately, too many of our political leaders are simply lifting up their "thoughts and prayers." Such platitudes may be nice, but what we really need is for politicians to do their job. We had only just begun talking and writing about motives for the last mass shooting when we had to stop and watch today's unfold. There have been 355 mass shootings in 336 days. Thoughts and prayers for victims and families are empty sentiments when you have to say it every day. 

Lots of God Talk as GOP Contenders Prep for Debate

Image via Lucy Nicholson / REUTERS / RNS

Oct. 28 is the third debate for the Republicans, and since their last stage appearance, several have been ringing the religious liberty bell from one primary state to the next.

CNBC, which is hosting this debate, says the focus will be on economic issues when the mikes turn on at Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

But that doesn’t mean God talk will be muted. Didn’t Pope Francis just sweep through, telling U.S. leaders about the moral dimensions of public policy?

Some Evangelicals Aren't Happy About Trump's Meeting With Faith Leaders

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Some evangelical leaders are disappointed by Donald Trump’s meeting with various faith leaders earlier this month. 

Several prominent pastors met with the businessman and presidential candidate, who remains popular with evangelical voters, in Trump Tower in New York City, N.Y. 

According to Christian Today, a number of evangelicals are critical of Trump’s attempt to get in touch with the evangelical constituency because they say that the faith leaders invited to the meeting are those who endorse prosperity gospel theology. 

"The people that Trump has so far identified as his evangelical outreach are mostly prosperity gospel types, which are considered by mainstream evangelicals to be heretics," Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention said.

Countdown to Destiny

Hrumphs.jpg
Illustrated by Ken Davis

AS ONE OF the few white males who has not declared his candidacy for president, I’m actually enjoying the relative calm before the upcoming election season. Our television shows are still punctuated by soothingly predictable commercials about luxury cars and erectile dysfunction. In a few months they’ll be railing against job-killing gay marriage and the evils of climate science, also job-killing, followed by the reassuring voice of a man who says “I apologize for this message.” (Kidding. But wouldn’t that be great?!)

At this point, with little at stake, the legions of Republican candidates are of interest only for their entertainment value, their speeches lacking in substance but their repetitive talking points ripe with possibility for drinking games. (Caution: When listening to Ted Cruz, don’t choose the words “constitution” or “unadulterated judicial activism” if you’re the designated driver.)

We’re at that sweet spot in time when Iowa is just a state known for its agricultural products (corn, I think), and when Hillary Clinton has not yet been compared to Hitler. If we think about politics at all, it’s to come up with reasons not to support Bernie Sanders. Because, if you set aside the oddity of a Vermont senator who still sounds like the Flatbush of his youth, there’s only one reason: his age. He’s 73, six years older than Hillary Clinton and decades older than Donald Trump, who is, like, 12, right?

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