Thursday's News & Ideas - 6/1/2017

  • Trump reverses birth control mandate
  • Rowan Williams on Benedict Option
  • Manuel Noriega born again in prison
  • Church offers sanctuary to woman facing deportation
  • How clergy can help the dying
  • Georgia town welcomes refugees

Trump administration reversing Obamacare's birth control mandate
USA Today: True to its word, the Trump administration is moving to reverse Obamacare's requirement that most employers provide free coverage of birth control to their employees.

The Benedict Option: a new monasticism for the 21st century
New Statesman: In a review of the book “The Benedict Option,” former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams writes, “It puts a solid and appealing case for religious communities to be more serious about the disciplines that sustain prayer, compassion and integrity; but it is also a jeremiad against the decline of a certain sort of American public piety, and the sinister plans of relativists and revisionists.”

For two evangelical Christians, Manuel Noriega became the ultimate jailhouse convert
Washington Post: Former Panamanian dictator Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, who died Monday, underwent a full-fledged conversion to evangelical Christianity in prison, purportedly being baptized in a portable fiberglass tub in the atrium of a federal courthouse, surrounded by a dozen guards.

Guatemalan woman facing deportation receives sanctuary at North Carolina Episcopal church
Episcopal News Service: Working with a Quaker group called the American Friends Service Committee, St. Barnabas in Greensboro agreed to serve as a sanctuary church and take in Juana Luz Tobar Ortega while she fights deportation.
Northern Westchester Examiner: Local clergy show unity in support of immigrants

Science: How clergy can help believers die a ‘good death’
Huffington Post: Two new studies find that many clergy are both ill-prepared and reluctant to fully engage in end-of-life conversations with terminally ill congregation members and their families. The research raises three critical areas of concern: too much faith in miracles; lack of knowledge; and fear of overstepping boundaries.

The Spark

This small town in America's Deep South welcomes 1,500 refugees a year

How does a dusty, working-class town in Georgia not only manage to rehome thousands of refugees, but make them integral to the town’s sense of identity?