Last Week, Today: The Refugee Issue is a Religious Liberty Issue

Last week's headlines on politics, religion and culture

Blog update: #ThinkerThursdays features Chris Hale, executive director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and contributing writer for Time. He helped lead national Catholic outreach for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. Our interview with him focuses on what faith uniquely contributes to the progressivism, namely how it challenges conventional notions of progressivism.

1. The Refugee Issue is a Religious Liberty Issue

Elizabeth Bruenig highlights at The New Republic how the Texas government's directive to suspend all aid to Syrian refugees may infringe upon the free exercise of religion of many faith-based nonprofits. 

2. GOP candidates snatching up faith advisers

Michelle Boorstein explains at The Washington Post why Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have all picked evangelical millenials to lead their faith outreach. She quotes Michael who explains the complexity of "evangelicalism" and outlines what both parties need to do in order to organize Christians. 

3. A Staggering Moment for Chicago
In light of the Lacquan McDonald's shooting (he was shot by an officer 16 times while walking away from him), The Chicago Tribune's editorial calls out its city's "long-standing failure to deal effectively with rogue police officers." As Michael tweeted, "I cannot recommend to you that you watch the video, you will never unsee it, but read the editorial." In response to this, Thabiti Anyabwile lays out a call in The Gospel Coalition for evangelical pastors to work to end police brutality and mass incarceration.  

4. Back when Americans thought Italians were terrorists... 

In 1891, an editorial appeared in The New York Times defending the lynchings of 50 Italians in New Orleans: "These sneaking and cowardly Sicilians, the descendants of bandits and assassins... are to us a pest without mitigation." Discrimination against Italians eventually slowly died out -- all food for thought as we consider the next wave of migrants. 

5. Saint Fred

Mister Rogers was a Presbyterian minister whose show touched people of all faiths. Jonathan Merritt explains at The Atlantic how Rogers wanted to use television "for the broadcasting of grace through the land.” An exceptional anecdote: As a result of watching Mister Rogers, a child who was abused by his parents "began to hope that there were kind people in the world and became convinced that he too should be treated with respect. The child called an abuse hotline and was rescued. If the story doesn’t seem exceptional enough, consider that the hotline operator who answered the phone adopted the boy."

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