Mar 25: Politicians and morality, neo-Nazi Republican candidate, and more

Executive Branch

A Washington Post Op-Ed argues that Donald Trump deserves the loyal support he’s gotten from Christian evangelicals.

Legislative Branch

A Holocaust denier with ties to neo-Nazis won the congressional Republican nomination in an Illinois district after running unopposed. Rather than funding his campaign, the Illinois Republican party will be providing money to an independent candidate.

Judicial Branch

The 7th Circuit ruled that changes to a high school nativity made it compliant with the Constitution.

50 States

Alabama passed a state constitutional amendment to allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed on public buildings. Voters will decide whether to ratify it in November.

Other reads

A new YouGov poll finds that more Democrats than Republicans say that they wouldn’t vote for candidates who had cheated on their spouses – the exact inverse of the poll when the Monica Lewinsky scandal occurred.

Mar 18: South Carolina gives religious exemption to foster agencies, the history of evangelical politics, and more

50 States

The governor of South Carolina issued an executive order allowing faith-based foster agencies to only place children with families who meet their religious standards. The impetus was an agency facing the loss of its license because it only placed children with Christian families.

Massachusetts lost a challenge to the newly expanded religious exemptions in the Affordable Care Act. The court ruled that the state has no standing for its challenge.

Community

The Mennonite woman who was in jail for refusing to testify in a capital punishment case has been released after agreeing to give testimony. She learned that the defense also wanted her to testify, and that her statement might decrease the chance that the defendant would receive the death penalty.

A New Jersey town approved a permit for a mosque after a multi-year zoning dispute and an investigation by the Justice Department. The city said financial considerations over a potential lawsuit with the federal government forced their hand.

A group of Muslim women filed a class action lawsuit against New York City for a policy requiring them to remove headscarves for mugshots. This comes on the heels of a settlement the city reached to pay three women for their experiences under the policy.

Other reads

The Atlantic published a fascinating, in-depth look at the evolving politics of evangelical Christianity – from abolitionists and social justice crusaders in the 19th century to modern culture warriors and Trump supporters. It is an opinion article, and is not shy about its opinion.

Mar 11: Transsexual civil rights protection overrides religious claims, violent Buddhists, and more

Judicial Branch

The Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of a transgender woman who was fired by a funeral home after transitioning. They held that the action violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, while the funeral home lost its argument that the termination was justified by religious freedom.

Executive Branch

The Justice Department took the case of a woman denied a religious exemption for a work-mandated flu shot. Her employer required written affidavit from clergy, and she did not belong to a specific church or congregation.

50 States

The ACLU and Council on American-Islamic Relations complained that a series of police trainings in Georgia about extremism are anti-Islamic and portray the religion as inherently violent.

Community

A Mennonite woman continued her refusal to give testimony in a court case that could result in capital punishment. She is in jail for contempt of court while she appeals to the Colorado Supreme Court.

New York City settled with three Muslim women who were forced to remove their hijabs for mugshots.

Other reads

With Buddhist riots causing a state of emergency in Sri Lanka this week, and the ongoing genocide of the Muslim Rohingya in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, a New York Times op-ed proposes answers to a question that’s been on my mind: why are we surprised when Buddhists are violent?

Mar 4: A Peace Cross, Billy Graham at the Capitol, and more

Judicial Branch

A federal appeals court upheld a ruling to remove the Peace Cross, a 40-foot war memorial in Maryland.

Executive Branch

Billy Graham has not evaded controversy in death, as he is one of four civilians to lie in honor at the US Capitol, and the only religious leader. The AP examined the relationship between the Grahams and Trump.

Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, made theological arguments for how he runs the organization and sets its priorities. His approach is in contrast to that taken by the Pope in his encyclical on the environment.

Mike Pence spoke at the 75th Annual Convention of National Religious Broadcasters.

Community

McKinney, Texas, one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, has faced criticism over religious activities in the school system.

Other reads

Slate ran an in-depth piece on Newsweek’s ties to a Christian University that prompted legal investigations and the resignations or threatened resignations of multiple employees.