White House

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The Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, will be part of a planned task force on higher education, the White House confirmed. According to Falwell, who spoke to the Chronicle of Higher Education, he will be one of 15 college presidents who will participate. Falwell told Politico, “We haven’t had any substantive discussions on the issues yet.”

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A federal appeals court in Richmond has delivered yet another blow to President Trump’s effort to institute a travel ban targeting six majority-Muslim countries, making a final Supreme Court showdown more likely.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled 10-3 on May 25 to uphold a lower court’s decision that barred the Trump administration from implementing its second attempt at the travel ban.

Image via RNS/The Potter's House of Dallas

The June 28-July 1 event he calls “a bit of a vacation in a spiritual atmosphere” drew 90,000 when it was last held in 2015 — a predominantly black crowd that also included whites, Hispanics, and people from 40 other countries.

Jakes, an author, media producer, and pastor of The Potter’s House talked to Religion News Service about bridging racial and political divides, coping with terrorist threats, and his approaching 60th birthday.

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President Trump will deliver an “inspiring yet direct” speech on the need to confront radical ideologies during his upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia.

The speech will come during an afternoon lunch with leaders of more than 50 countries with mostly Muslim populations, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster announced on May 16.

FILE PHOTO: President Donald Trump (L) in the House of Representatives on Feb. 28, 2017 and FBI Director James Comey in Washington U.S. on July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool, Gary Cameron/File Photo

The anger behind Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday had been building for months, but a turning point came when Comey refused to preview for top Trump aides his planned testimony to a Senate panel, White House officials said. Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had wanted a heads-up from Comey about what he would say at a May 3 hearing about his handling of an investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

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Anti-Semitic incidents, from bomb threats and cemetery desecration to assaults and bullying, have surged in the United States since the election of President Donald Trump, and a "heightened political atmosphere" played a role in the rise, the Anti-Defamation League said on April 24.

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In Trump’s first nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, abortion foes were convinced they had the jurist who would fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to appoint justices who would deliver the reversal they have worked decades to achieve. But now, after last week’s hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, some are voicing concern that Gorsuch might not be such a reliable anti-Roe vote after all.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened on March 27 to cut off U.S. Justice Department grants to cities that fail to assist federal immigration authorities, moving the Trump administration closer to a potential clash with leaders of America's largest urban centers.

Sessions' statements were aimed at a dozens of cities and other local governments, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, that have joined a growing "sanctuary" movement aimed at shielding illegal immigrants from stepped-up deportation efforts.

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The May 13 speech at Liberty’s football stadium in Lynchburg, Va., will be Trump’s first commencement address as president, but it won’t be his first at Liberty, which describes itself as the largest Christian university in the world.

The then-presidential candidate spoke last year at the university’s Convocation, promising, “I will protect Christians,” and famously stumbling over a reference to “Two Corinthians.”

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The pro-Trump evangelicals suffer from a spiritual crisis, not a political one.

Moore has challenged the foundations of conservative evangelical political engagement because they desperately needed to be shaken. For 35 years, the old-guard religious right has uncritically coddled, defended, and promoted the Republican Party.

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The condemnation came too little, too late, Jewish groups said.

On Feb. 21, President Trump condemned anti-Semitism, as Jewish leaders had been asking him to do for months.

“The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Anti-Semitism that has infected his own Administration,” said Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, in a statement on Feb. 21 after Trump called anti-Semitism “horrible.”

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The reporter asked President Trump about the rise of anti-Semitism in America. His answer — or seeming lack of one — angered many prominent Jewish Americans.

“Donald Trump’s inability to simply condemn antisemitism boggles the mind,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action.

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A Catholic priest who fled to the U.S. from war-torn Vietnam as a youth has written to President Trump, offering to surrender his American citizenship so that the president could confer it on a Syrian refugee, who would be barred under Trump’s controversial order banning travelers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries.

The Rev. Chuong Hoai Nguyen, a member of the Salesian order, also told Trump he would ask his religious superiors for permission to go live and work in one of the seven countries on the banned list.

the Web Editors 1-17-2017

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On Jan. 17 the White House announced that President Obama commuted much of Chelsea Manning’s remaining prison sentence, reports the New York Times. Ms. Manning was slated to be released from prison in the year 2045. She will now be released on May 17. As of Jan. 17, President Obama has granted more commutations than any U.S. president in history.

Chelsea Manning was given a 35-year prison sentence after she was convicted for a 2010 U.S. intelligence leak that involved WikiLeaks and exposed information concerning the nation’s global diplomacy and its military. Much attention of the media came Ms. Manning’s way due to her trial and conviction, as well as the fact that, after her sentencing, Ms. Manning announced she was transgender and began to identify as Chelsea.

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Melissa Grajek was subjected to all kinds of taunts for wearing the hijab, but an incident at San Marcos’ (Calif.) Discovery Lake sealed the deal.

Her 1-year-old son was playing with another boy when an irate father saw her and whisked his son away, telling Grajek: “I can’t wait until Trump is president, because he’ll send you back to where you came from.”

The man then scooped up a handful of wood chips and threw them at Grajek’s son.

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The American Civil Liberties Union collected more than $11 million and 150,000 new members. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Twitter account gained 9,000 followers. And the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism and other bigotries, saw donations increase fiftyfold.

In the days since Donald Trump won the presidency, these spikes, in support for groups that defend religious and other minorities, speak to a fear that the president-elect will trample on their rights — or at least empower those who would.

the Web Editors 11-14-2016

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On Nov. 14, in a press conference at the White House, President Obama spoke about the possibility that President-elect Donald Trump may get rid of his executive action "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA)DACA enables undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before their sixteenth birthday, before June 15, 2007, to remain in the country without fear of deportation and receive a two-year work permit that can be renewed.

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They are many, shift between parties, and typically side with the candidate who ends up winning the White House.

That’s what makes Catholics the ultimate swing voters in the U.S. And this year they are going to throw their weight behind Democrat Hillary Clinton, a panel of political analysts said on Oct. 31.

10-19-2016

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The Utah Republican is on 11 state ballots. He has no major-party backing, and he’s little known outside of the Beehive State.

But Mormon disaffection with Donald Trump is offering the Provo-born graduate of Brigham Young University a chance to disrupt the outcome in this reliably red state, which has not gone to the Democrats since 1964.

the Web Editors 7-14-2016

Obama with Mick McHale, President of the National Association of Police Organizations. Image via Pete Souza / White House

Thirty-three people filed into a White House conference room on July 13 for a meeting with President Obama on race and policing, and at times, it got tense,The Washington Post reports.

Based on the seating arrangements, that’s probably not a surprise — activists sat between police chiefs and mayors, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police sat between the NAACP president and a Harvard professor. But eventually, it paid off.

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