Immigration is the word of the day.
Roman Catholic bishops and priests from major dioceses across the country will preach a coordinated message on Sept. 8, backing changes in immigration policy that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The idea is to influence Republican fence sitters in the U.S. House.
Protestants are getting in the game, too. The Evangelical Immigration Table launched a new round of ads in 56 congressional districts across 14 states with a clear message that they want to see immigration reform. But you probably won’t hear the ads unless you tune into Christian radio stations.
Meanwhile, the ACLU of Southern California says a government program to screen immigrants for national security concerns has blacklisted some Muslims and put their U.S. citizenship applications on hold for years.
And in other news:
The American Bible Society said it’s just a matter of time before it takes control of a new .Bible domain to join the .com, .org, and .edu family.
The leader of a Wisconsin group of nonbelievers suing over her tax-free housing allowance says she’s not a minister. The government, however, says atheists can be ministers, too.
Al-Jazeera America began broadcasting this week but will have to overcome U.S. viewers’ negative perceptions about Arabs, Muslims and the Middle East.
In another example of the sad state of religious freedom abroad: The government of Malaysia expelled a group of tourists for chanting Buddhist prayers inside an Islamic prayer room — the latest in a series of crackdowns on behavior deemed disrespectful of Islamic traditions and beliefs.
And while we’re on the subject: An international human rights group has a new report out on Egypt, and it ain’t pretty. The report chronicle attacks on 42 churches, dozens of Christian institutions and schools as well as homes and business owned by Christians amid an intimidation campaign waged by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.
The United States has placed unprecedented sanctions on an Islamic school in northwest Pakistan for allegedly training and financing fighters from al-Qaida and other militant groups.
From the “check it out” department: Buzzfeed has a cool map of the religious affiliation of the 435 members of the U.S. House. Catholics make up the largest group with 136 members. Look for the color red.
And one more: The Ignatian News Network has a series of YouTube videos entitled: “Who are we to judge: Gay Catholics.” Pretty rad.
NPR has a profile of Israeli parliament member Ruth Calderon, a scholar and teacher of Jewish religious texts. She is apparently giving Israel’s Orthodox Jewish community heartburn because she can interpret Jewish texts as well as they can. And she arrives at different conclusions.
The Nixon Presidential Library released the last set of Nixon White House tapes on Wednesday, and, no surprise, it’s chock full of bigotry:
- “They put the Jewish interest above America’s interest and it’s about goddamn time that the Jew in America realizes he’s an American first and a Jew second,” Nixon tells Kissinger (who is Jewish).
- In reference to Nixon aide and lawyer Leonard Garment, Nixon tells press secretary Ronald Ziegler “Goddamn his Jewish soul!”
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, on the other hand, is showing her PC bona fides. Merkel paid a visit to the former Dachau concentration camp near Munich on Tuesday, where she spoke to a group of Holocaust survivors and emphasized the importance of learning from Germany’s past.
On the subject of learning from the past, check out our totally cool and fabulous set of interviews and historic photos of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the march on Washington.
And if you want to learn about the future, click the blue button below.