In the years prior to the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide, pro-life activists came from across the political spectrum. Following the ruling, abortion did not immediately become a defining issue for religiously motivated voters as a group. It took the emergence of the Moral Majority in the 1980s to transform Protestant Christians, in particular, into voters who used abortion as a litmus test for judging which political candidates would be likely to support “family values.” This litmus test phenomenon has also contributed to deepening cleavages between co-religionists and members of the same political party, as ideological purity on the issue of abortion along party lines has become expected. Simultaneously, it has encouraged members of some faith traditions - for example, conservative Catholics and Protestants - to unite behind a common cause. Abortion continues to be one of the most deeply partisan issues in American politics.
The emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement as a reaction to police brutality, the explicit racism of white supremacist movements, and greater awareness of more covert systemic racial bias has helped bring racial inequality to the forefront of public discussion with such impact that commentators often draw parallels to the activism of the mid-twentieth century Civil Rights Movement in America (which at the time also faced widespread resistance and ambivalence). The work and speech of Martin Luther King, Jr., is often referenced, with some encouraging activists to pursue nonviolent protest and to work through existing institutions. Others view this stance as a "sanitized" version of King's activism and seek to follow a path of radical resistance inspired by King’s approach. Most Americans are familiar with the call for freedom and equality in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, but in his later address “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” King advocates for a very active, physically engaged form of nonviolence that insists on the right to seek justice through protest marches and economic boycotts, as well as through the court system.
Hanoi is a city very much caught in the past. History is a powerful tool used to demonstrate municipal power. This is done particularly in the built environment through statues, monuments, and signage. For decades, public signage has placed an important role in legitimizing Hanoi's ideal city.
“What is the biggest problem here in Cape Town?”
My Uber driver looked up at me through the rearview mirror as if to verify that I was still talking to him. He did not comment on the lack of transportation or the water shortage or the precarious state of housing as I would have expected. Instead, with his eyes fixed on me through the clouded mirror, he said one word: equality.
During his presidential campaign in 2016, Donald Trump promised to move the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in an effort to appeal to pro-Israel Jewish and evangelical voters. Almost two years later, President Trump has announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to continue with plans to move the American embassy there. Jerusalem is a sacred city for three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Moreover, it has been a source of controversy for decades, as a result of a conflict between Israel and Palestine, who both lay claim to the city. Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967, territory which Palestinians want to make the capital of an independent Palestinian state, resulting in an ongoing cycle of violence. To many experts, Jerusalem is therefore the key to achieving peace for Israel and Palestine in the form of a two-state solution, where the territories in question, including Jerusalem, would be divided between Israel and Palestine, allowing both of them to be sovereign states. Although Trump has previously stated that he can live with "the [solution] that both parties like," many people view his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the “kiss of death” to any prospect of peacemaking or solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
If you were to choose a topic for cordial, evidence-based dialogue, it probably would not be religious approaches to family planning. Yet that was on the agenda at the Ouagadougou Partnership (OP) meeting in Conakry, Guinea last week. Some 19 religious actors and leaders were among the 350 participants at the sixth annual meeting of the Partnership. It brings together the governments and civil society representatives of nine francophone West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo) with key donors, USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation among them, and various “partners” (mainly nongovernmental organizations and firms). The religious actors are slowly coming to be recognized as important players in this critically important effort to make family planning services available in the region.
Five hundred years ago this year, Martin Luther published his 95 Theses, sparking a religious revolution that changed the Catholic Church forever. Today, attitudes toward and the practice of Catholicism in the United States have also been continuously changing. In the past few decades, 25 million people have stopped identifying with the Catholic Church. Young Catholic Americans are increasingly hesitant to accept the Church’s views on same-sex marriage and on contraception and abortion. These changes are accompanied by a demographic shift: young Catholics are primarily Hispanic, and Hispanics account for a third of U.S. Catholics in general, which has prompted a corresponding shift in the geographic center of U.S. Catholicism towards the Southwest. However, only 3 percent of U.S. Catholic priests identify as Latino, and many of the Latin American countries from which immigrants come have increasing numbers of Catholics switching to Protestant churches. At the same time, since Pope Francis was elected pope, the popularity of the Church has seen a significant boost, partially in response to reforms to the Roman Curia and liturgical language which emphasize Pope Francis' belief in the importance of dialogue, accompaniment, and pastoral discernment for a multicultural Church.
These past five days, I had the opportunity to take a short trip to the Chubu and Kansai regions of central Japan. I visited both Nagoya, Japan’s third-largest city, and Kyoto, the ancient Japanese capital. I had not been to Nagoya before, so it was definitely exciting to explore a new city. I was glad that I had the chance to understand another part of Japan better. However, despite all the fun that I had in Nagoya, the most meaningful part of my trip was when I went to Kyoto to see the autumn leaves.
I stood up and closed up my eyes, blissfully content as the voices of those around me soared in harmony towards the heavens. A piece of me was home at last.
In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins went to Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, soliciting the owner Jack C. Phillips’ services to design and create a cake for their wedding. Phillips refused, claiming that creating wedding cakes for same-sex couples violated his religious beliefs. He argued that decorating cakes is a form of art: it is a medium which he uses to honor God, and creating cakes for same-sex marriages would displease his God. Craig and Mullins filed charges of discrimination with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, alleging that Masterpiece was discriminating against them based on sexual orientation in a place of public accommodation, which is in violation of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. When the Colorado state courts rejected the bakery’s arguments, the bakery’s lawyers requested a review of the ruling by the Supreme Court, which will hear the case on December 5.