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Pope Francis to Spread His Message on Instagram

Pope Francis registers for World Youth Day with an iPad. Image via REUTERS/Max Rossi/RNS

The pope of the digital age is set to attract even more followers with the posting of his first Instagram photo. Having already claimed the title of the world’s most influential leader on Twitter—with over 27 million followers across his nine accounts—Pope Francis has a new social media platform in his sights.

Twitter Just Told Bible History With Memes and It’s Hilarious

Henry_IX / Twitter
Photo via Henry_IX / Twitter

Every now and then Twitter just nails a hashtag, and defends the fundamental value of the Internet. This time, with #MemeHistory, people are pairing a contemporary “meme” with a famous event from history. Although the theme of #MemeHistory isn’t explicitly religious, many Twitter users couldn’t resist turning to the good book for inspiration. 

All the greatest pieces of biblical drama are there: Jesus' resurrection, the Garden of Eden, Satan tempting of Jesus.

Tweets from the Town Hall

JP Keenan / Sojourners
JP Keenan / Sojourners

TRAVELING AROUND the country this winter has given me a tremendous opportunity to promote multiracial truth-telling in many local communities as well as to foster multiracial commitments to action in service of racial justice.

During the first two weeks of the “town hall” tour around my new book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, we engaged an audience of tremendous diversity—multiracial, intergenerational, interfaith, secular, and intersectional. The audience and panelists at these forums have been baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials, and again and again we’re seeing new insights and directions as a wide variety of people and perspectives are brought into the dialogue.

In Baltimore, leaders who were in the streets with their congregants following the death of Freddie Gray, such as Revs. Heber Brown III and Brad Braxton, talked about the lessons they learned from the protests and how those lessons must be applied across the country in the days to come.

In New York, Heather McGhee, president of the public policy organization Demos, said that successfully navigating our country into the new demographic reality—in a way that removes both privilege and punishment based on skin color—could be the first opportunity to truly realize our “American exceptionalism.” I often speak against the notion of American exceptionalism, but I wholeheartedly agree with McGhee’s assessment.

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Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay Mckesson Is Running for Mayor of Baltimore

YouTube / CNN
DeRay Mckesson discussing protests in Baltimore on April 28, 2015. Photo via YouTube / CNN

Minutes before the deadline to file for the Democratic primary in Baltimore on February 3, DeRay Mckesson completed the paperwork and entered the race.

With nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter, DeRay, as he's often known on Twitter, has gained widespread notoriety for his role organizing and documenting the Black Lives Matter movement. A former school administrator and Teach for America alum, DeRay first caught the public eye during protests in Ferguson and Baltimore. He is the 13th candidate to enter the Democratic primary in his hometown.

White House to Talk Terrorism With Apple, Facebook

Image via /Shutterstock.com

The meeting comes as nations around the world fight a sometimes losing battle against the highly-skilled online outreach of the Islamic State, which has done a remarkable job of using social media to create recruitment and public relations materials to promote its efforts. Apple, Facebook, and Twitter said Thursday they will have representatives at the meeting.

#PopeBars: What Happens When Francis Picks Up a Mic

Image via Twitter/Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

Anyone who’s ever read Pope Francis’ writings knows his flair for lyricism. Take the following passage from his “Laudato Si’”:

“Through our worship of God, we are invited to embrace the world on a different plane. Water, oil, fire, and colors are taken up in all their symbolic power and incorporated in our act of praise.”

This week, the Internet decided to help the Holy Father with his lyrics, just in case he ever decides to drop a rap album (and honestly, who knows with Pope Francis? He’s full of surprises. He did release a prog-rock album recently — truly.)

The inspiration for the Internet’s collective creativity was the below picture, in which Pope Francis looks like he’s about to spit holy fire.

The Student Behind Viral #IStandWithAhmed: 'I Had To'

Image via WFAA-TV/RNS

Fort Worth, Texas, native Amneh Jafari never expected to help spark an international movement.

But when the senior University of Texas Arlington psychology major saw a picture on the news showing Irving teen Ahmed Mohamed in handcuffs for bringing a homemade clock to MacArthur High School, it felt personal.

“It really saddened me,” Jafari said.

“I have younger siblings, and I felt like I was looking at them.”

Group Prods Fellow Mormons to Get Behind Family-Friendly Immigration Reform

Image via @Kate_Kelly_Esq / Twitter / RNS

Mormons teach, preach, and sing about families being together forever in heaven, but some members of the Utah-based faith want to exclude one group from that promise, at least on Earth.

Undocumented immigrants.

And, while the LDS Church supports immigration reform that keeps families together, its leaders have not pushed that idea in worship settings where Mormons are gathered. Nor has it called out those who disagree. In other words, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has gone largely silent on the issue.

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