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Republican Tax Law Hits Churches – Some nonprofits could start paying taxes for the first time. https://www.politico.com

DOJ Initiative Tells Religious Right: The Law Does Not Apply to You – The Center for Inquiry condemned a new initiative announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to encourage religious institutions to seek special exemptions from local zoning laws, sending the signal that the U.S. government sees religious belief as above the law. https://centerforinquiry.org

14 Hilarious Apocalypse Predictions – As New Year’s Eve 1999 began hitting other parts of the world, I sat in my apartment with my roommate (also my cousin) and watched, with morbid fascination, midnight strike in New Zealand. There had been so much hype leading up to that night about Y2K that it was hard not to be curious about it. http://www.patheos.com

Over 300 Religion Scholars Release Letter Condemning Trump’s Mass Detention of Families; Pledge to Resist – The “All Rights for All, Without Borders”  statement has been signed by faculty from a wide range of academic institutions from evangelical institutions like Baylor University and Fuller Seminary to Harvard and Yale Divinity Schools. https://religionnews.com

Ancient Egyptian Incantations Tell of Biblical Human Sacrifice – Scientists have deciphered what they describe as a 1,500-year-old ‘magical papyrus’ that was discovered near the pyramid of the Pharaoh Senwosret I. The text dates to a time when Christianity was widely practiced in Egypt. https://www.livescience.com

Walgreens and the Nationwide Epidemic of Sincerely-Held Beliefs – Last week Nicole Arteaga went into a Walgreens to fill a prescription. The man behind the counter refused to fill it because of his sincerely-held beliefs. Nicole was already in deep emotional distress, she had wanted to have a baby. http://www.patheos.com

Trump’s Religion Test for Immigrants is Standard Practice in Israel – The widespread political condemnation of Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and for surveillance of mosques was pretty great. http://mondoweiss.net

US Presbyterian Church Votes Unanimously to Support BDS – The Presbyterian Church (USA), which represents 1.5 million Americans, has voted overwhelmingly in support of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign (BDS). Members took part in a vote last Friday on a slate of resolutions put forth by one of its member groups, the Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN). http://www.palestinechronicle.com

How Trump Could Make Church Cool Again for Millennials – The family separation issue united all denominations in opposition. And even the Southern Baptists are trying to signal they’re changing. Something positive is in the air. https://www.thedailybeast.com

Priest Slaps Baby in Face for Crying Too Much During Baptism, Sparks Outrage – A video of a Catholic priest slapping a baby in the face because he wouldn’t stop crying during a baptism ceremony is now sparking widespread outrage. https://www.christianpost.com

Key Findings on the Global Rise in Religious Restrictions – Restrictions on religion increased around the world in 2016, according to Pew Research Center’s ninth annual study on global restrictions on religion. http://www.pewresearch.org

Global Uptick in Government Restrictions on Religion in 2016 – Nationalist parties and organizations played an increasing role in harassment of religious minorities, especially in Europe – http://www.pewforum.org

El Al Vows to End Practice of Moving Women to Accommodate Ultra-Orthodox – For years a small but vocal minority of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men have demanded that airlines not seat them next to female passengers, citing religious modesty. And for years El Al, Israel’s national airline, has accommodated them by asking women to relocate to another seat on the plane. No longer, according to an airline official. https://religionnews.com

 

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