“President Joe Biden announced Friday plans to nominate Khizr Khan, who famously criticized Donald Trump for his disparaging remarks on Muslim-Americans during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, to a post with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom,” Politico reports.
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Michelle Goldberg: “White evangelicals once saw themselves ‘as the owners of mainstream American culture and morality and values.’ Now they are just another subculture.”
Said pollster Robert Jones: “It’s hard to overstate the strength of this feeling, among white evangelicals in particular, of America being a white Christian country. This sense of ownership of America just runs so deep in white evangelical circles The feeling that it’s slipping away has created an atmosphere of rage, resentment and paranoia.”
Aaron Blake: “Even within the GOP, White evangelicals are on the decline: White evangelicals have gone from 37% of the GOP in 2006 to 29% in 2020.”
“Just as important is the age disparity. While 22% of Americans 65 and over are White evangelicals, the number is just 7% for those between 18 and 29 years of age.”
Just released: The 2020 Census of American Religion, including interactive maps that detail the religious makeup for every county in America.
“Catholic bishops Friday voted to create guidelines on the meaning of communion, a move that could be an early step towards limiting the serving of the eucharist to President Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights,” the Washington Post reports.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “cloaked himself in religion Monday while signing a bill into law that would require public schools in his state to set aside at least one minute of silence for children to meditate or pray,” the AP reports.
“The Southern Baptist Convention elected Ed Litton as its president on Tuesday, signaling a defeat for the hard right within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination,” the Washington Post reports.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) told Steve Bannon on his podcast that she does not believe in evolution, preferably accepting the teaching of the Bible instead.
Said Greene: “I don’t believe in evolution… I don’t believe in that type of so-called science. I don’t believe in evolution. I believe in God.”
Salt Lake Tribune: “If almost half of U.S. members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the ‘big lie’ about the 2020 presidential election and almost a quarter of them subscribe to the QAnon conspiracy theory, what does that say about their ability to discern truth? In these cases, it may be about nothing more than allegiance to partisan politics or agenda-driven sources.”
“For years, there was an adage around Liberty University that if God split Jerry Falwell in half, you would have his sons Jerry and Jonathan. Jerry Jr. inherited his father’s desire to be a force in American politics, and his post as Liberty University president, while Jonathan inherited his father’s gift for evangelical uplift and became pastor of his church,” Politico reports.
“Now, 14 years after Jerry Falwell Sr. died and nine months after Jerry Jr. was ousted in a scandal… the Liberty trustees are considering naming Jonathan Falwell as the university’s chancellor—an important and highly symbolic post—in order to maintain the Falwell family connection but not their political baggage.”
Pope Francis signed into the Code of Canon Law a clause that deals directly with sex abuse by priests — though he never actually mentions it by name, the Vatican News reports.
The AP reports this is the first time Catholic Church law has recognized how sexual predators “groom” their victims based on power imbalances to build relationships that eventually lead to sexual abuse.
CNN: “The Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote on Friday blocked another state Covid-19 restriction on religious services, with another late-night order, over protests from California officials that the limits affecting some Bible study sessions did not impinge on religious rights and were to be lifted within days.”
New York Times: “The deeply held spiritual convictions or counterfactual arguments may vary. But across white evangelical America, reasons not to get vaccinated have spread as quickly as the virus that public health officials are hoping to overcome through herd immunity.”
“The opposition is rooted in a mix of religious faith and a longstanding wariness of mainstream science, and it is fueled by broader cultural distrust of institutions and gravitation to online conspiracy theories. The sheer size of the community poses a major problem for the country’s ability to recover from a pandemic that has resulted in the deaths of half a million Americans. And evangelical ideas and instincts have a way of spreading, even internationally.”
“The study, to be published in The Supreme Court Review, documented a 35-percentage-point increase in the rate of rulings in favor of religion in orally argued cases, culminating in an 81 percent success rate in the court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.”
“Alabama’s decades-old ban on yoga in public schools could stay in place a little longer following push-back from conservative groups,” the AP reports.
“The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday did not advance the bill after a public hearing in which representatives from two conservative groups objected, saying they were worried it could lead to the promotion of Hinduism or guided meditation practices.”
Gallup: “Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend.”
“In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.”