Common Good News 1/9/17

Our glorious diversity—our diversities of faiths and colors and creeds—that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are. … If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition: the infusion of new cultures, talents and ideas, generation after generation, that has made us the greatest country on earth.
— First Lady Michelle Obama, in what was billed as her last formal speech before President Barack Obama leaves office. (Religion News Service)

If Sessions won't defend Muslims, he's the wrong AG for religious freedom

By Jennifer Butler and John L. McCullough, The Hill

The United States attorney general must uphold the basic value of religious freedom for all Americans. We do not tell people how to pray in America, and we do not ban people from entering our country based on their religion.

 

Jeff Sessions needs a Sunday school lesson on immigration

By John Gehring, Religion News Service

While Donald Trump thrilled crowds during the election campaign with his pledge to build a “great wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to make a Judeo-Christian defense of the president-elect’s plans.

 

In black Charleston, a struggle to find both justice and mercy

By Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor

With the sentencing of Dylann Roof near, black Charlestonians weigh the punishment for his appalling crime against a deep-seated desire to find grace in the darkest moments. 

 

Immigrant Rights Groups Gear Up For Fight Of Their Lives With Nationwide Protest Plan

By Roque Planas, Huffington Post

Immigrant rights groups plan to hold rallies and marches in more than 40 cities across the United States next week, aimed at pressing President-elect Donald Trump to back away from the hardline policies he trumpeted during his campaign.

 

Evangelical Climate Scientist Explains Why Christians Should Care About The Environment

By Antonia Blumberg, Huffington Post

White evangelicals are more likely than any other group of Christians in America to deny that climate change is occurring. But for Texas Tech climate scientist and evangelical Christian Katharine Hayhoe, faith is at the heart of her work.

 

Pope throws down gauntlet to religions: No killing in God’s name

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux

In his annual address on Monday to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, Pope Francis signaled that 2017 will be a year in which his press for peace gathers steam, and laid down a clear challenge to all religions to reject killing in the name of God.

 

Where are our bishops? The racism of ‘alt-right’ nationalism

By Stephen Schneck, U.S. Catholic

It is long past time for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to speak out against the evil of today’s racism. The “alt-right” white nationalist racism that surged alongside the political campaigns of 2016 is an evil that the church in America cannot ignore. 

 

Religious Makeup of the New Congress Overwhelmingly Christian

By Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News Service

The United States Congress is about as Christian today as it was in the early 1960s, according to a new analysis by Pew Research Center.

 

Republicans don’t want to hurt ‘real America.’ By repealing Obamacare, they will.

By E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post

This needs to be made very clear as their throw-people-over-the-side juggernaut rolls forward. Any vote to repeal Obamacare before there is a comprehensive alternative on the table that all can study, understand and debate is a vote to deprive many of their health insurance. It is a vote to make the lives of millions of Americans demonstrably worse.

 

Here’s what we think will be the major religion stories of 2017

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post

Several hot-button issues — including immigration, abortion, poverty, health care, gay rights and education — will put religion near the center of public life and debate. But the issue that could especially flare up? In a Trump administration, “religious freedom” is expected to either flourish — or come under attack — depending on who defines religious freedom.