vice president – Helviti Fri, 25 Mar 2022 21:07:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 vice president – Helviti 32 32 Mayor Adams Creates New Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships Thu, 10 Feb 2022 16:15:23 +0000 February 10, 2022 The new office will be led by Pastor Gilford Monrose NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today established the Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnership (OFCP). The office — created with the signing of an executive order by Mayor Adams — will be led by Pastor Gilford Monrose, who […]]]>

February 10, 2022

The new office will be led by Pastor Gilford Monrose

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today established the Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnership (OFCP). The office — created with the signing of an executive order by Mayor Adams — will be led by Pastor Gilford Monrose, who will serve as a liaison between the city government, New York’s faith community and nonprofit organizations. The OFCP will seek to improve the well-being of all New Yorkers and will be housed within the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit (CAU).

“Our faith community has gone above and beyond for the past two years, working tirelessly to keep our people nourished, safe and healthy, mentally and physically,” said Mayor Adams. “It’s long overdue for the city to recognize the vital role it plays in uplifting people across our city. I had the privilege of working alongside Pastor Monrose for several years and saw firsthand his talent for building bridges between diverse communities. I thank him for joining our administration in this newly created office and look forward to working with faith leaders across our city to “get things done.”

“The faith community is a fundamental partner in the work our office does every day,” said CAU Commissioner Fred Kreizman. “I am delighted to work with Pastor Monrose to continue this partnership and work together toward our common goals.”

“I am honored to join the administration at the head of the OFCP,” said Pastor Gilford Monrose, Executive Director, Office of Faith and Community Partnerships. “Mayor Adams has always recognized the important work our city’s faith leaders do to help the most vulnerable New Yorkers, and this new office will engage those communities in addressing issues affecting our city, from gun violence to crimes of hatred, and to uplift people across the five boroughs.

“The Office of Faith and Community Partnerships reminds us that while we may travel separate paths to our respective places of worship, there comes a time when we of many faiths must walk together as one family in strength and support. for each other,” mentioned Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president, Council of Rabbis of New York. “We are a divided country but spiritually we are a united community.”

“I welcome Mayor Adams’ announcement of an Office of Faith and Community Partnerships in his administration,” said Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director, Interfaith Center of New York. “Having witnessed firsthand, for many years, the power of grassroots faith leaders to strengthen New York City communities, I am confident that this Office of Faith and Community Partnerships will help ensure that diverse faith communities contribute to our vibrant democracy in the years to come.”

“The Muslim Community Network proudly endorses the important need for Mayor Adams’ new Office of Faith and Community Partnerships,” said Dr. Debbie Almontaser, CEO and Founder, Bridging Cultures Group Inc. “This office gives voice to New York’s multi-religious communities – an important voice that has not been heard. In partnership, we believers will stand shoulder to shoulder to care for beloved communities in all the neighborhoods of the city.

“I am very pleased to see the creation of the Office of Faith and Community Partnerships,” said Evan R. Bernstein, National Director, Community Safety Service; and co-founder of the New York City Interfaith Security Council. “Thank you, Mayor Eric Adams and New York City, for leading this crucial initiative at a time when we are seeing an increase in hate crimes affecting minority religious groups across the city. Partnership and dialogue are essential in the fight against hate and this office will help foster both.

“As a technical assistance provider for faith-based institutions and nonprofit organizations in New York’s five boroughs for the past 30 years, I am acutely aware of the disparities and lack of support and information needed to the survival and prosperity of these organizations at a time like this,” said Rev. Dr. Valerie Oliver Durrah, Founder and President, Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic. “In his wisdom, Mayor Eric Adams has seen fit to create an office for Faith and Community Partnerships, where there will be a direct line to City Hall. The faith-based and nonprofit community has been talking to town hall on a party line for too long. We now have the direct number and are ready to help these organizations access resources. Thank you, Mayor Adams, for believing in spreading available City Hall resources to every neighborhood in New York City.

“Mayor Adams has always been a leader who has approached issues with a holistic perspective. The expansion of the Office of Faith and Community Partnerships further illustrates the Mayor’s leadership approach,” said the Reverend Charles O. Galbreath, Ph.D., Senior Pastor, Clarendon Road Church; and Associate Dean, Alliance Theological Seminary. “Our city faces historic challenges that demand an extraordinary response. The expanded role of the Office of Faith and Community Partnerships is one such response needed to galvanize New York City’s religious and cultural diversity. The challenges are great, but with faith nothing is impossible.

“As a rabbi in New York City, I am thrilled to see a vision of active engagement with the faith community through the Mayor’s Office of Faith and Community Partnerships,” said Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, SAJ-Judaism which represents all. “This office will positively impact all citizens of our city and increase faith communities’ access to needed services and programs, thereby increasing equity and advancing civic engagement. My community and I look forward to being a part of these efforts and helping New Yorkers of all backgrounds thrive.

“The Buddhist Council of New York and the multi-ethnic communities it represents are extremely pleased to support Mayor Adams’ new Office of Faith and Community Partnerships,” said James A. Lynch, President, Buddhist Council of New York. “In this time of unprecedented uncertainty, change and challenge, the importance of the participation of all New Yorkers in the life of the city is more necessary than ever. Indeed, the religious communities and denominations that “they represent have always played an important role in the overall health and continued growth of the city. Mayor Adams’ bold and imaginative decision to establish this office is a clear recognition of the city’s ongoing partnership with various faith communities, as well a real way forward for those on the margins of our society, who too often feel silenced and forgotten. Thank you, Mayor Adams.

“As believers in the Supreme Universal Being, we all have a place in the community and a role in uplifting, caring for and protecting one another,” said Acharya Vijah Ramjattan, Founder and President, Madrassi Association Inc. “Although we rely on our individual faith traditions to guide us in our daily lives, collectively as residents of one city we cling to one truth, that we are each other’s custodians and trust that God is working through us.I commend and congratulate Mayor Adams on the establishment of the Office of Faith and Community Partnerships, as this office, among other things, will serve to ensure that we, a city of faith, lead with faith.

“A society is only as healthy as the people who compose it and the institutions created by the people,” said Pastor Warner A. Richards, Psy.D., MHC-LP., assistant to the president, Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “The Seventh-day Adventist Churches of New York fully supports the Mayor’s expansion of the Office of Faith and Community Partnership. Because we believe that a healthy society is made up of individuals who enjoy a harmonious interface between their physical, mental, interpersonal and spiritual health. Therefore, an initiative like this will foster this seamless interface.

“In the year 2022, faith will be the force needed to free us from fear and encourage all to coexist in peace. This is the true path to happiness and peace,” said Venerable Youwang Shih, President, International Buddhist Progress Society.

About Pastor Gilford Monrose

Rev. Gilford Monrose is executive director of the Office of Faith and Community Partnerships. This office builds bridges between the city government, various faith communities, and nonprofit organizations to better serve all New Yorkers. He previously served as religious director in the Brooklyn Borough President’s office. He is the senior pastor of Mt. Zion Church of God 7th Day and founding president of two Brooklyn-based nonprofit organizations, the 67th Precinct Clergy Council Inc. (“The God Squad”) and the Brooklyn Center for Quality Life.


Sierra Stinson and Dane Sherman // The Observer Tue, 01 Feb 2022 05:04:02 +0000 Junior Student Body Presidential candidate Sierra Stinson and sophomore Vice Presidential candidate Dane Sherman have created a broad platform based on equitable improvements to Notre Dame’s student body through policy change and creation in partnership with the University and groups of students. Their 26-page platform is divided into three thematic sections, which also specify the […]]]>

Junior Student Body Presidential candidate Sierra Stinson and sophomore Vice Presidential candidate Dane Sherman have created a broad platform based on equitable improvements to Notre Dame’s student body through policy change and creation in partnership with the University and groups of students.

Their 26-page platform is divided into three thematic sections, which also specify the slogan of the post: accompany, implement, mobilize.

A resident of Lewis Hall in Spokane, Washington, Stinson majors in political science and the liberal studies curriculum and serves as director of academic affairs in the student government executive cabinet. She said she was running for student body president because in freshman year, she often felt like she didn’t belong at Notre Dame.

“I want to make sure every student knows they deserve to be here,” she said.

Sherman had a similar reasoning, saying he wanted every student to feel the same way they felt watching the Golden Dome move up Notre Dame Avenue after a school break. He said he felt only excitement, “feeling neither fear nor [like] I don’t belong here.

Sherman, an American Studies and Peace Studies student from Seattle, Washington, is the current Director of University Policy in the Student Government Executive Cabinet.

Junior Sierra Stinson, left, is running for Notre Dame student body president alongside vice-presidential candidate Dane Sherman.

Stinson said that in addition to their relationships in student government and administration and their shared experience in leadership and policy development in student government, the couple’s experiences as students who have sometimes rebuffed what Notre Dame might be, qualify them as candidates for the student body. president and vice-president.

“And I think that makes us special in the fact that we understand some of the difficulties that some people have had with Notre Dame, and we’re willing to work on that,” she said.

Policy development and change

Stinson said one of their most achievable goals is to increase support and resources for sexual violence prevention and education and support for survivors of sexual violence, including the continued deployment of Callisto on all three campuses.

The ticket’s most ambitious goal is their change in residential life policy, including the payment of a salary to Resident Assistants (RAs).

Another goal of improving residential life is the ticket’s plan to “Helping students express their gender identity“, part of which aims to increase gender equity in Office of Community processes. Standard (OCS).

“Right now there’s a disparity between male and female dorms,” ​​Stinson explained. “Females seem to be in the dorms more often than the male dorms, and there isn’t much of a party culture in the female dorms.”

Stinson and Sherman said that, from conversations with many students and hall presidents, they came to the conclusion that even when male dorms on campus are the place for more unofficial parties, female students are written with OCS violations – often referred to as “OSC’ed” – at higher rates. However, Stinson said that in meetings with university officials, the administration expressed disbelief that the disparity existed.

“What we need to do is make sure the administration sees there’s a disparity,” Stinson said.

The ticket plans to audit the OCS and compile data on violations and disciplinary processes between the male and female dorms to officially expose this alleged issue. Stinson pointed out that the purpose of this plan is to ensure that female dorms can also participate in typical dorm culture.

“We are not trying to limit SCO male dorms or limit the number of parties,” she said. “What we’re actually trying to do is show the administration that women aren’t allowed to do the same fun events that men’s dorms are allowed to do.”

Sherman noted that the OCS audit plan requires cooperation with the University because the OCS goes beyond the power of student government and deals with student privacy.

However, Sherman said: “It’s actually work that I’ve worked on before, in particular, Erin Oliver and the Office of Institutional Equity, and I had a meeting with Heather Ryan, who is at the head of OCS.”

Other issues that Stinson and Sherman plan to address and modify are the 15-minute limitation on unapproved campus protests and organizational recognition requirements and Student Activities Office (SAO) rules that prevent certain groups from students to organize or discuss certain issues such as LGBTQ+ and reproduction. rights.

Additionally, Stinson and Sherman seek to address national legality issues by advocating for the availability of college health insurance for Medicaid-enrolled students and partnering with student body leaders at Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross to lobbying student issues.

Diversity and Accommodation

When asked what the biggest problem facing Notre Dame students is, Stinson said there aren’t enough resources and attention for the increasingly diverse student body at Our Lady.

“Every year they say it’s the most diverse class we’ve had, whether it’s low income or economic, racial, religious or one of those things,” she said. “There is no representation of these races in teaching or among our teachers. There are not enough resources in OSE [Office of Student Enrichment] for low-income students. There are not enough interfaith conversations for students of different faiths.

To respond to the issue of diversity at Notre Dame, their platform “Accompany Affinity Groups on Campus” offers several solutions. Some include encouraging departments to allow class excuses for students to attend events such as Race Relations Week and Gender Relations Center (GRC) events, working with administration to ensure having the Potawatomi flag flown year-round and partnering with OSE to subsidize trips to black hairdressers. in the South Bend area.

Additionally, the post plans to establish a “cultural awareness week” to celebrate diversity at Notre Dame and religion, establish a student-led civil rights commission to hear discriminatory reports, finalize the implementation of an LGBTQ+ mass on campus and continue to work towards the inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation in Notre-Dame’s non-discrimination clause.

From their list of policy changes and administrative goals, the ticket told The Observer that their first priority upon taking office would be to focus on improving the Notre Dame experience for students in first generation and low income, which was one of the objectives of the current administration of Njomo-Bisner also.

“One of the first things we talked about working on is expanding the Transformational Leaders Program,” Stinson said.

In their vision, low-income students could attend programming the summer before their freshman year to further prepare academically, such as writing an essay that meets Notre Dame academic standards, among others.

Sherman noted that – especially in light of the recent alleged lawsuit against Notre Dame for financial assistance in pricing with other universities – it is important to financially and academically support first-generation and low-income students.

When asked to describe what Notre Dame means to them in one word, Stinson said “self-discovery,” thanks in part to disagreements she’s had with classmates over the years.

“Without this challenge from other bands or other students, I don’t think I would be the person I am today,” she said. “…Now I’m very proud of the fact that I’m a brunette woman, and I know the power of being a brunette woman because I’m able to surround myself with other brunette women who have the same ideals as me, and also to be challenged by people who do not have the same convictions [as] me.”

Sherman answered the question with the word “grace”.

“We spoke with a lot of students, and I think hearing their stories of love, pain, pain and joy was a really eye-opening and transformative experience,” Sherman said. “Whether…we win or lose.”

Tags: Dane Sherman, Sierra Stinson, Stinson-Sherman, Student Body Election, Student Body Election 202, Student Body President, Student Body Vice President

Osinbajo charges traditional chiefs over religion and ethnic tolerance Sun, 30 Jan 2022 01:39:34 +0000 From Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye LuckyBenign the Yesterday, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo instructed traditional rulers to entrench religious and ethnic tolerance in their areas to foster peace and unity in the country. He gave charge to Auchi, the seat of Etsako West Local Government Area of ​​Edo State when bestowing a chieftaincy title: […]]]>

From Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye LuckyBenign

the Yesterday, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo instructed traditional rulers to entrench religious and ethnic tolerance in their areas to foster peace and unity in the country.

He gave charge to Auchi, the seat of Etsako West Local Government Area of ​​Edo State when bestowing a chieftaincy title: the Oduma (Lion) of Auchi to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, by the Otaru of Auchi, HRH Alhaji Aliru Momoh, Ikelebe III.

The Vice President said that Auchi, where he did his mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), symbolizes what Nigeria should be as it welcomes all, regardless of ethnic or religious background, as in the case of Nigeria. ‘Agba who is originally from Uzanu in Etsako East but found a home in Auchi where he had lived since he was two years old.

“Auchi Kingdom has its rich and special history and a famous innovation and enterprise of its sons and daughters brought development and fame to this kingdom and Edo State. It is remarkable and commendable that in the great Auchi kingdom, adherents of the two great religions of Nigeria, Islam and Christianity, have lived and continue to live harmoniously together for centuries, sharing a common bond as members of this community and even of the same community. biological families.

“Auchi is therefore not only the microcosm of Nigeria, but also an illustration of our most beautiful values ​​of mutuality and community.

“Our country needs men and women who see and understand that our ethnic diversities are not a point of difference, men and women who understand that all people, regardless of ethnicity and religion, deserve to be treated equally, fairly and justly and it is here that the importance of the traditional institution comes from the fact that they are rightly seen as guardians of these values ​​and embody the ideals the highest and noblest of the people,” the vice president noted.

Speaking on the minister’s personality, Osinbajo said conferring the title on Agba was well-deserved and an attestation of his many contributions to the kingdom, adding that the honor should inspire him to do more for his people and the country. . to the big one.

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“To my dear friend and brother, this award is undoubtedly an endorsement of your consistent service to the Auchi people and the nation as a whole with remarkable diligence and approach to governance, and you have made a difference as economic planner and driver of the nation’s progress.

“With this appointment, you have been appointed steward of the destiny of your community and meritoriously serve and bring further development to the people and the nation as a whole,” he advised.

Edo State Governor Goodwin Obaseki, represented by his deputy, Philip Shaibu, maintained that the era of patronage was over, assuring the vice president of state support just as he added that the vice president had also supported the state in several ways.

Also speaking, former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole praised the Otaru of Auchi for honoring Agba.

In his remark, Agba said the award was an appreciation and encouragement for him to continue providing more services to humanity.

He praised the Edo state government for continuing 10 erosion control programs across the state which he said were started when he was environment commissioner under the administration. of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

Among the dignitaries present at the colorful event were the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ms. Zainab Ahmed, her counterpart for Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, Minister of State Energy, Engr Abubakar Aliyu, Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, Accountant General of the Federation, Auditor General of the Federation, several other political figures and government officials.

Evangelicals battle ‘critical race theory’ in new online video course Sat, 15 Jan 2022 13:00:00 +0000 In the right-wing crusade against “critical race theory,” there is a job for everyone: movement intellectuals and keyboard warriors, school board brawlers and politicians – from Congress to governors’ mansions to the new class of local right-wing bureaucrats eager to link student test scores to faculty demographics. It is therefore not surprising that there is […]]]>

In the right-wing crusade against “critical race theory,” there is a job for everyone: movement intellectuals and keyboard warriors, school board brawlers and politicians – from Congress to governors’ mansions to the new class of local right-wing bureaucrats eager to link student test scores to faculty demographics. It is therefore not surprising that there is also a role for church people.

This week, Focus on the Family – James Dobson’s right-wing Christian ministry, with nearly 900 staff, its own postcode and an estimated global audience of 200 million – did its part, asking its subscribers to sign up for free. in line Classes teach parents how to “empower” their families to “cope with CRT”.

The course consists of five videos, hosted by FOF Vice President of Parenting and Youth Danny Huerta, speaking with a handful of evangelical leaders: Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institution; John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview; and Carol Swain, co-author of the 2021 book “Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory Is Burning Down the House.”

RELATED: ‘Critical race theory’ is a fairy tale – but America’s monsters are real

After each video, viewers are directed, like a textbook, to a series of additional tasks. First, ponder selected Bible verses (“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free…”) Second, consider a series of falsely neutral discussion prompts: “How do you think critical theory of race creates confusion, especially in children?? “What’s dangerous about people seeing themselves as victims or using shame and moral manipulation to get what they want? Or, more blatantly, “After watching this video course, do you have a better understanding of critical race theory and how it contradicts the truth of God’s Word?”

Overall, it’s a softer approach than most of the talk around the CRT last year – framed more as a public service announcement than threats to overthrow the local school board, perhaps. be with violence, which proliferated last summer and fall. But the message is largely the same, as Huerta and his guests cover a number of religious but familiar critiques: CRT “places what it means to be human solely in the context of race”; “God created only one race: the human race”; any white child who balks at being called an oppressor is “plac[ing] a target on themselves” (an accusation illustrated in the videos by a photo of a white boy being manhandled by two black boys); and the promise that “America’s victorious struggle with its imperfections” concerning racial equality reflects the gospel message of redemption.

But some larger themes of the videos highlight how conservative evangelical institutions grapple with debates about race today. First, there is the fundamental presumption that racism is real, but a matter of individual sin. Second, the idea that critical race theory is not only incorrect, but constitutes an alternative, “destructive” and “twisted” worldview, contrary to that which Christians should follow.

“The idea of ​​racism as an individual sin is a hallmark of evangelicalism,” said Anthea Butler, chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Religion and author of the 2021 book “White Evangelical Racism.” In the book, she clarifies, “Sin for evangelicals is always personal, not corporate, and God is always available to forgive deserving individuals, especially if they are white men. The sin of racism can also be swept away by an event. or a confession. Evangelicals rarely admit a need for restitution.

In November, Swain made that point when she spoke at the National Conservatism Scholarly Conference in Florida that brought together several hundred right-wing intellectuals. As one of the few non-white speakers, Swain called the CRT not only “un-American” but also “anti-Christian,” lamenting that a number “of churches that see themselves as awakened” adopted him. Among them, she said, was her own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, which has 16 million members, which was wracked last June by a bitter crisis, potentially schismatic debate on whether to adopt a resolution condemning the CRT.

“We have so many awakened members of [the SBC]. And when I think of Southern Baptists, the main thing I remember is apology after apology after apology — for slavery, for even existing,” Swain said, referring to the actions the denomination, founded in origin to defend the right to own slaves, has taken in recent decades to acknowledge its turbulent history. “And what that tells me is that the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention don’t understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross once for our past, present and future sins. Racism is a sin. apologize.”

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As pastor and teacher Andre E. Johnson wrote Last spring’s evangelical attacks on the CRT predate the current struggle, widely attributed to the Manhattan Institute’s sole principal investigator, Christopher Rufo. Evangelical heavyweights like John MacArthur have condemned the idea that “postmodern ideologies derived from intersectionality, radical feminism and critical race theory are consistent with biblical teaching”.

“[B]By the time Rufo began learning how to manipulate the CRT for political gain, white evangelicals in churches across the country were already laying the groundwork,” Johnson wrote.[I]In the hands of white evangelicals, the CRT is not just an academic theory, it is a worldly ideology of evil that believers should oppose. So, for better or for worse, those of us who teach CRT and intersectionality will now have to deal with those who would bring our assumptions of faith to the classroom.”

One of the chief complaints of the anti-CRT faction of Southern Baptists, said Daniel Eppley, a religious studies professor at Thiel College who has been following this debate, is that the CRT is “redefining” racism as something other than ” personal animosity towards others based on race.”

“In their view, racism is just thinking badly of another person because of their race,” Eppley said. “If you can look into your heart and honestly say, ‘I don’t think badly of people because of their race’, then you’re not part of the racism problem. That is, neither does structural racism. It’s very similar to how a former fundamentalist evangelical leader, Bob Jones Sr., presented his opposition to desegregation in the 1960s. denied seeing one race as inferior to another, but he thought the races should be kept separate. So his solution to racism was basically, “Love your black neighbour,” even though he is convinced, based on his reading of this particular passage from the Bible, that segregation is God’s will.”

In the end, Southern Baptists voted for a resolution which did not specifically call out the CRT but disavowed “any theory or worldview that finds the ultimate identity of human beings in ethnicity or any other group dynamic”.

The term “worldview” was also repeatedly invoked in FOF’s Anti-CRT Lessons, such as in a post-video discussion prompt: “Why Is Critical Race Theory Really a Worldview Problem?” world ? »

This language is ubiquitous in modern conservative American Christianity, as American journalist and historian of religion Molly Worthen has said. observed. In the evangelical realm, Christian media promise to inculcate or reinforce a “biblical worldview.” Christian universities display the term on the side of campus buildings. Young people from the evangelical movement attend “Worldview Weekend” conferences without sleeping.

In its most basic and bona fide definition, according to Jacob Alan Cook, a professor at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity and author of the 2021 book “Worldview Theory, Whiteness and the Future of Evangelical Faith”, the concept of a biblical worldview goes like this: “If the Bible is what we say it is, then we should be able to logically extend its truths to encompass the most important things, and the most questions Morals should have a logical connection to the core of this thing we believe in.” In reality, he continued, “worldview theory” has a lot of “extra-biblical” baggage that has been merged with conservative evangelical doctrine, making things like capitalism, nationalism Christian or, in recent decades, segregation, seem to be matters of faith. .

What that amounts to, Cook said, is an evangelical way of saying, “Everyone has an ideology, but we have the truth.” In this context, it becomes “really difficult to challenge these things from within” faith, he observes, where a biblical worldview can function as “alternative facts” or a closed epistemological door.

This is exactly the message expressed by Focus on the Family’s Huerta, telling viewers: “Let’s not enter this discussion on CRT out of fear, but boldly: we have the word of God and this is the answer. to that.”

Read more about the political battle over “critical race theory”:

Nahdlatul Ulama’s new leader promises not to mix religion and politics – Eurasia Review Sat, 08 Jan 2022 00:21:56 +0000 By Tria Dianti The new head of Indonesia’s largest Muslim mass organization has said he has no intention of getting into the political fray or being drawn into the communal politics that has divided people in that nation. religiously diverse in recent years. Yahya Cholil Staquf, nicknamed “Gus Yahya”, was elected chairman of influential group […]]]>

By Tria Dianti

The new head of Indonesia’s largest Muslim mass organization has said he has no intention of getting into the political fray or being drawn into the communal politics that has divided people in that nation. religiously diverse in recent years.

Yahya Cholil Staquf, nicknamed “Gus Yahya”, was elected chairman of influential group Nahdlatul Ulama in late December, when he defeated two-term holder Said Aqil Siradj and three other candidates in a vote at the 34th UN Congress .

“I have said from the start that I don’t want to run for president or vice-president, nor do I want anyone from NU to run for president or vice-president. This way, NU will not be involved in identity politics at all, ”Yahya told BenarNews in an interview last week.

By “identity politics” he was referring to a common divisive trend that has recently infiltrated politics in the predominantly Muslim nation. Indonesia has long been known for its moderate Islam and general tolerance for religious minorities.

NU, which claims to have 90 million members, for most of its existence, has been regarded as a moderate and more progressive faith-based institution.

On several occasions before the UN Congress, Yahya expressed his determination to restore to the group the idealism, the spirit of inclusion and the humanity embodied by the late Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, who – as the centenary approaches from the birth of NU – remains one of the most revered figures in its history.

Gus Dur, a longtime president of NU, then served as president of Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s most populous nation, in 1999-2001, during the early years of its transition to democracy after decades of authoritarian rule. Yahya, 55, was the presidential spokesman under Gus Dur.

Most recently, Yahya remained close to the seat of power when he was appointed a member of the Presidential Advisory Council (Wantimpres) during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s first term.

In his view, the UN should play a role in healing the scars and polarization in society resulting from identity politics, which have manifested themselves in the run-up to the 2019 presidential election.

Ma’ruf Amin was Jokowi’s running mate in that election, as was vice president.

But in 2017, Ma’ruf was among those who called for the impeachment of Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, governor of Jakarta who was a member of the Sino-Christian minority, for alleged blasphemous remarks Ahok allegedly made during the election. the electoral campaign for his re-election. . In 2017, Ma’ruf was president of NU and he sat on the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI), the main group of Islamic clerics and scholars in the country.

A year before the Jakarta gubernatorial elections, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a conservative Muslim group that the central government has since banned, carried out mass protests in the streets of the nation’s capital demanding arrest and the prosecution of “Ahok” for the alleged blasphemy.

In May 2017, a district court in Jakarta found Ahok guilty of blasphemy and sentenced him to two years in prison. Ahok then lost the 2017 gubernatorial election.

Some Indonesians viewed the verdict as politically motivated and suspected the judges had succumbed to pressure from conservative Islamic groups.

Yahya said fundamentalist Islamic groups such as the FPI and Hizbut Tahrir, a pan-Islamic political organization that dissolved in 2018, were not entirely responsible for wanting Indonesia as the most populous majority Muslim nation. of the world, respects the concept of caliphate. .

“We know they have political reasons for their choices to be radical or fundamental. We have to engage them, we have to try to make them understand that their political choices are no longer realistic, ”he told BenarNews in a 45-minute telephone interview on December 31.

“We can no longer impose a universal caliphate in the context of today’s modern reality.”

He also expressed optimism that NU could mediate in seeking a common framework to reduce, if not hold back, radicalism and fundamentalism in the country.

“Obviously the way to do it is to persevere and campaign as hard as possible to prevent identity politics. We need to encourage political actors to build consensus that they will not use identity, especially religious identity, as a political weapon, ”Yahya said.

Controversy in Israel

In 2018, Yahya sparked public controversy in his country when he accepted an invitation from the Israel Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR) to deliver a speech in Jerusalem on resolving religious conflicts.

At the time, Yahya was still a member of Wantimpres. The Indonesian public criticized him over the invitation because he was seen as having dampened Indonesia’s support for the Palestinian people.

But Yahya said he made the trip in his personal capacity and as an ordinary Muslim who yearns for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not as a representative of the government or the UN.

In early 2020, at a meeting of leaders of different faiths at the Vatican, Yahya said that the world’s religious leaders agreed to come together to reflect on how religion works and how it responds to conflict in the 21st century.

“Religion must also find its new function. This is the first and it requires a separate process, ”he told BenarNews.

As he said, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be resolved fundamentally, including by clarifying the territorial borders in accordance with international law. Until the borders are clarified, it will be difficult for Israel to gain political recognition, including establishing diplomatic relations with Indonesia, he said.

“Many of these territorial borders are unilateral claims of Israel and surrounding Arab and Islamic countries. This must be resolved first. So if, for example, Indonesia says it is normalizing its relations with Israel, which [Israel] is it? The boundaries must be clear so as not to cause new problems, ”he said.

The interview with the new UN president came days after reports emerged that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in meetings with Indonesian officials in Jakarta last month, discussed the possibility that Indonesia normalizes its relations with the Jewish state.

Yahya has also proven himself in the international community.

In 2014, he was listed as one of the founders of Bayt Ar-Rahmah, a California-based religious institute that promotes Islam’s main message as a source of universal love and compassion.

He was tasked with serving as a member of the expert panel formulating the policies of the US-Indonesian Interfaith Executive Council, which was set up after an agreement signed between President Barack Obama and Jokowi in October 2015.

Yahya was also appointed envoy of the youth movement of Nahdlatul Ulama and the National Awakening Party (PKB), the political vehicle of NU, to forge political networks in the international community and in Europe.

He said he believed that Indonesia should contribute to the development of the world order in accordance with its constitutional mandate of 1945. He also expressed the hope that his activities could project the image of peaceful and moderate Islam. in Indonesia.

“I think the Indonesian government should take bolder action with a concrete program to solve the existing problems, to penetrate international politics,” he said.

“[T]o defend anyone who is treated unfairly, to seek a better future for all, including our brothers in Palestine or our brothers [the] Uyghurs in China. This even includes non-Muslim groups who also suffer persecution in predominantly Muslim societies. “

Yahya said that even though he is now president of the UN, Bayt Ar-Rahmah will continue to function as usual as he has yet to continue his Islamic humanitarian mission, which includes a campaign to eliminate the use of the term “kafir” (unfaithful) in modern Islamic doctrine.

“The status of non-Muslim or infidel is a symbolic object of hostility, discrimination and persecution,” he said.

“We can no longer tolerate or allow such vulnerability because the world has become an integrated neighborhood, and we have to live side by side,” Yahya told BenarNews.

“Needs to be supported”

Syafiq Hakim, senior lecturer in Islamic studies at the International Islamic University of Indonesia, praised Yahya’s stated intention to rekindle Gus Dur’s visions and missions, but said it would require the support of all parties. .

“If he does not want to get involved in politics by being a presidential or vice-presidential candidate, it seems that he really wants to reinstate the values ​​of Gus Dur. But of course, we don’t know if that would be applicable with NU. Because when it comes to NU it has so many layers and not all academics have an open perspective, ”Syafiq told BenarNews on Thursday.

According to Syafiq, if Yahya succeeds in reviving the old progressive values ​​of NU, other mass organizations with diverse perspectives and efforts will likely follow, including Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization.

“It’s a program of work that I think is difficult and needs support, although I have no idea how it’s going to end. However, I completely agree with the program proposed by Gus Yahya, and he must put it forward, as the leader of the largest mass organization that protects minority groups, ”he said. .

The PKB, the political party associated with Nahdlatul Ulama, was created to express the aspirations of the organization in response to a political crisis during the reform era, which began in 1998 with the fall of President Suharto, the dictator of long time.

Gus Dur initially refused the idea because he didn’t want NU to leave his khittah ”(original oath) by mixing religious and political matters. However, Gus Dur eventually gave in because he saw it as the only way to fight Golkar, the party associated with Suharto, the authoritarian ruler and former military leader.

According to another observer, it is fitting that Yahya wants to keep NU out of politics in Indonesia. Yon Machmudi, an expert on Islamic politics at the University of Indonesia, said he hoped Yahya would not be brought in to mobilize the great mass of NU in a political contest.

“If he stays on track with his program, it will be a major breakthrough … returning to NU’s core mandate as an Islamic religious organization beyond the struggle for political power,” Yon told BenarNews .

If NU is forced to get involved in politics, it will undermine the organization’s core values ​​and its mission to help strengthen society, he said.

“I think his statement that he would take NU away from politics is good and important, so that he can make sound decisions on political choices without having to run for president or vice president, which could potentially causing friction at the local level. I think it’s an ideal situation, ”Yon said.

Cole Attends ASG For Student Feedback After Task Force Report Is Released – The Campus Thu, 16 Dec 2021 02:51:42 +0000 Provost and Dean of College Ron Cole, 1987, was the guest speaker for the last Allegheny Student Government Assembly on Tuesday, December 7, although he listened more than spoke. Cole attended the meeting to receive student body feedback on the report of the Academic Curriculum Review Task Force, a team of faculty members tasked with […]]]>

Provost and Dean of College Ron Cole, 1987, was the guest speaker for the last Allegheny Student Government Assembly on Tuesday, December 7, although he listened more than spoke. Cole attended the meeting to receive student body feedback on the report of the Academic Curriculum Review Task Force, a team of faculty members tasked with reviewing Allegheny College’s academic programs and advising the President on where the college can best allocate resources.

“I know myself and a lot of the students were nervous about the release of this task force report,” said Senator Veronica Green, ’23. “I was really shocked – in a good way – by the report, and wanted to say that I really agree with some of the sustainability initiatives and the reconfiguration of Reis Hall into an interdisciplinary center. “

Green’s comments kicked off a night of constructive commentary, far from a more controversial one. meeting with Link and his cabinet on November 16 and one student demonstration against the working group on October 21. ASG Vice President Sophie Adams, ’22, clarified that Cole was there to listen in his introduction.

“He will be able to take comments,” Adams said. “It won’t be a casual question and answer; he didn’t write the report, so don’t attack him, please.

The task force report categorized some university programs into three mutually inclusive categories. The first category includes programs that require strategic investment: programs that have been identified by the working group as needing additional faculty members and resources in order to strengthen the program. The second group is that of programs that need to be reconfigured: it is recommended to divide these programs or adjust them in some way. The third category included programs with “challenges to sustainability”; the working group “(suggests) options for these programs to adapt to the changing university landscape, but the status quo is not sustainable”. A fourth category of “maintain” programs has been created for programs not included in the first three groups for which the report does not recommend action at this time.

The third category of programs facing sustainability challenges received the most attention throughout the night. For example, in the same comment where she noted her positive response to the report, Green highlighted the programs the report identified as “unsustainable.”

“The only thing that really worried me was the Energy and Society minor because it’s a fairly new program,” Green said. “I understand the reasoning because I read it, it’s just that, especially if we are going to question the sustainability of geology in the long term, that the Energy and Society minor has a little more leeway.”

In response, Cole reread what he got from Green’s comments.

“Sustaining (energy and society) keeps some of the interest in geology going and gives this program a chance to grow,” Cole said. “I hear that, and that’s the type of feedback or input that would help me right now. “

Senator Joe Leszcynski, ’25, also expressed his support for the Energy and Society program.

“I find it disheartening that energy and society is on the chopping block even though, as you noted, it’s kind of related to geology and environmental science and sustainability,” said Leszcynski.

Cole responded by reminding the organization that programs presenting challenges to their sustainability weren’t necessarily going to be eliminated immediately.

“I would ask a favor: those programs listed under ‘challenges to sustain’ – I don’t necessarily mean to equate that to a chopping block,” Cole said.

Geology was also supported. Senator Clarissa Miller, ’24, noted that the program still has many applications in environmental science.

“I came to this school for the environmental science program and found, by taking classes here, that for me geology was a more direct route to work with oil and gas companies that are working on. general problems of environmental science, ”Miller said. . “There are more options in the workplace, it’s a more specific major, and having both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science options in this department really shows the variety. that the department can offer. ”

Another program that received support was religious studies.

“I want to admit that I am part of a fairly small category of students in terms of the program that interests me,” said June Gromis, 25. “I would just like to make an appeal on this basis for religious studies as something that should be preserved in a meaningful way. Just because of the history of the college, especially as a Methodist institution, and I think a lot of the connections that religion makes in a social context is rooted in religious life, but also in an academic context.

However, the report notes that Religious Studies has struggled to attract and retain majors, specifically citing that the program has averaged just over two majors per year since 2016.

“Allegheny’s majors are having an impact for a number of reasons – in terms of people, because of the senior project required,” Cole said. “Maybe if it weren’t for the senior project, we’d give less weight to, say, major or minor labels and look more at the entries as a whole. “

A student, Piper Martinez, ’24, suggested that a program that retains the character of religious studies could be created in a more sustainable way.

“I would like to propose the idea that – if religious studies is not a major – potentially try to replace it with a major which can be supported by several different programs already in place, which has the same feel of religious studies”, Martinez said. . “Religious studies definitely introduces you to different thought processes and honestly every religious studies course I have taken has been the most difficult for me simply because it actually makes me think and challenge my views. , which I think is a very critical point of the goal of Allegheny College.

Even if a major or minor is removed from Allegheny’s curriculum, students currently registered in that program will still graduate through what Cole called “teaching.”

“I was careful to say that the students who self-declared in a particular program that we would work with to try and help with teaching,” Cole said.

While he did not guarantee a “teaching” option for undeclared students, Cole said there may be some opportunities for currently undeclared students to complete a program that is being reduced.

“Let’s work on an one-to-one basis for students who might fit into this category,” Cole said. “Maybe, no, we can’t do that. Or, there might be other avenues to support this student’s interest, or maybe there is a way to continue this major as a self-declared (major). It’s hard to say without the details, but I’m trying to give you an idea of ​​the options that I hope are available.

Overall, Adams felt that the meeting went well, especially given previous assemblies in which the administration had attended.

“I’m really happy with the students – their composure was good,” Adams said. “I thought people respected each other, and we hung out really well together.”

Adams also acknowledged that the meeting was held on a relatively short notice, with ASG only announcing on that day via social media that Cole would be attending the meeting.

“(Director of Communications and Press Ryder Sullivan) just released the post late today,” Adams said. “Obviously we would like to give more notice; this is something that we have been working on with our Instagram to communicate more. It’s ours.

However, in a November 19 email to the campus community, Cole informed the campus community in advance that the task force would release the report on December 6. In that same email, he wrote that he would be attending the ASG General Meeting on December 7. Assembly.

After the meeting, during his weekly office hours at the Campus Center, Cole suggested that part of the reason the campus community struggles so hard with the program review is the psychological weight of adjusting the way. of which things are made.

“There is heartbreak with the loss,” Cole said. “If we stop doing something – anything – there’s a sense of loss around it. This is, psychologically, an important thing to recognize for me and for others.

Cole said that whenever a change happens, the people involved try to deny that the change is necessary and try to resist it, before accepting that the change is necessary and working with it.

“I believe we’ve been through denial, past some resistance, and we’re heading towards acceptance,” Cole said. “In this place, this is the space where I think Allegheny can make his best decisions which include a large contribution to move forward. We have to move forward in the best possible way. This doesn’t mean that everyone will be happy with the results, but it is the best possible way given the parameters we are currently working with.

AC Unite, the student group organized in opposition to the task force and planned program cuts, posted a petition on on the day the report was released. The petition calls, among other things, for “the preservation of all majors, minors and other degrees offered from the fall semester 2021”. No such comments were provided to the General Assembly and AC Unite did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

According to his presentation, Cole will use the comments from the General Assembly, along with the comments from the Faculty Council, to prepare an academic program and faculty staffing plan. This plan will be submitted to President Link in mid-January for review; Once Link reviews it, the plan will go to the board for review and final vote. Cole expects final plan to be presented to the college community in mid-February

Pakistan, EU reaffirm determination to protect religious freedom Wed, 08 Dec 2021 08:46:14 +0000 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the European Union (EU) on Wednesday reaffirmed their determination to protect human rights as well as fundamental freedoms, with an emphasis on freedom of religion, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, and minority rights. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and High Representative for Foreign Affairs […]]]>


Pakistan and the European Union (EU) on Wednesday reaffirmed their determination to protect human rights as well as fundamental freedoms, with an emphasis on freedom of religion, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, and minority rights.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the European Commission (HR / VP) Josep Borrell during the 6th Round of the Strategic Dialogue European Union-Pakistan, said a statement released after the meeting.

During the meeting, FM Qureshi expressed his concerns over the growing trends of Islamophobic acts, xenophobia and religious intolerance around the world and the need for a joint resolution to counter them.

The EU official, on the other hand, raised concerns over the death penalty and the abuse of Pakistani blasphemy laws following the lynching of a Sri Lankan national in Sialkot on charges of crimes. allegations of blasphemy.

However, Borrell praised Pakistan for passing the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill and hoped that the Anti-Torture Bill and other human rights related laws would be passed soon. .

SPG-Plus Status

Qureshi and Borrell also expressed a strong political commitment to the GSP + and the implementation of 27 international conventions on human rights, labor rights, environmental protection and good governance that are linked to the treaty. commercial.

In addition, Qureshi and Borrell reviewed the ongoing cooperation between Pakistan and the EU on the basis of the Strategic Engagement Plan.

Read Peshawar judge orders blasphemy investigation against organizers of Women’s Day march

“They agreed to further strengthen the EU-Pakistan mutual engagement, in particular on regional security and cooperation,” the statement said, adding that they also agreed to hold the first meeting of the “new EU-security dialogue. Pakistan with sub-groups on non-proliferation and disarmament, and counter-terrorism in 2022 ”, indicates the press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The EU official also welcomed the progress made by Pakistan in implementing the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plans to move out of the gray list and the ongoing efforts to achieve well the remaining actions.

The representative of the EU welcomed the continued cooperation with Pakistan on electoral issues. “High Representative Borrell briefed Foreign Minister Qureshi on the upcoming monitoring visit of the EU Election Observation Mission to Pakistan in 2018,” the statement said.

Climate change

During the meeting, issues related to climate change and the importance of global action to counter the threat were also discussed.

The two envoys also discussed the importance for developed countries to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance, noting the important role of public and private funds, and technology in facilitating the transition.

According to the statement, Borrell welcomed Pakistan’s statement ahead of the Glasgow conference of its nationally determined contribution to achieving common climate goals.


The envoys from Pakistan and the EU agreed on the importance of maintaining a sustained engagement with Afghanistan to promote stability and combat narcotics as well as the threat of terrorism.

“They expressed deep concern at the potential for an economic collapse and a significant worsening of the humanitarian crisis and a new influx of refugees,” the statement said, adding that Afghanistan’s serious liquidity problems strained legitimate banking services.

“They also agreed on the need to continue providing urgent and unhindered humanitarian aid and basic social service support to the Afghan people,” he added.

Read more EU welcomes Pakistan’s progress on GSP-related conventions

The envoys stressed the importance “of improving the socio-economic situation and preserving human rights, especially those of women and girls, and persons belonging to minorities,” the statement added.

The envoys from Pakistan and the EU supported the dialogue between the Afghan parties to achieve national reconciliation and stressed the importance of an inclusive and representative government, to improve the prospects for security and stability.

The representative of the EU thanked Pakistan for its support in the evacuation of EU nationals and the safe passage of people from Afghanistan.

Qureshi expressed Pakistan’s support for the inclusion of the EU in the regional political consultation mechanism on Afghanistan.

Rights violations in Kashmir

During the meeting, Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s deep concerns over human rights violations by India in occupied Kashmir, and efforts to change the demographics of the disputed territory in violation of UNSC resolutions.

Borrell stressed that the EU is closely monitoring the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He reiterated the need to show restraint, defuse tensions and resolve the dispute through dialogue and constructive political and diplomatic engagement.

The EU envoy welcomed the February 2021 agreement between India and Pakistan for the observance of the ceasefire agreement on the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir and to engage through established mechanisms.

A gay music teacher got married. The Brooklyn Diocese fired him. Wed, 27 Oct 2021 19:16:56 +0000 Matthew LaBanca said he held two titles while working for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn: music teacher and parish music director. On and off for 16 years he played the organ and conducted the choir at Corpus Christi Church in Queens. In 2015 he also started working at St. Joseph Catholic Academy, also in […]]]>

Matthew LaBanca said he held two titles while working for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn: music teacher and parish music director.

On and off for 16 years he played the organ and conducted the choir at Corpus Christi Church in Queens. In 2015 he also started working at St. Joseph Catholic Academy, also in Queens, where he taught children to sing and play instruments like the recorder and drums.

But, after Mr LaBanca married her boyfriend in August, he learned that a group of church leaders were debating his future and wondering if he had another job with the Catholic Church as well – that of “minister” – although he has no formal religion. training and his jobs did not involve religious education or preaching.

On October 13, the Diocese of Brooklyn, which encompasses the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, fired Mr. LaBanca because the church does not tolerate same-sex marriage.

It is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation under federal, state, and New York City laws, but religious institutions are allowed to favor members of their faith in employment settings. like schools and places of worship.

This loophole does not allow them to discriminate on the basis of traits such as gender or sexual orientation, unless the job in question is a ministerial post. This provides the legal basis by which the Catholic Church can refuse to employ women as priests, but in recent years it has increasingly been used to fire same-sex married persons from jobs that were not not traditionally considered to be part of the clergy.

In a statement regarding the ruling, the diocese referred to Mr. LaBanca as a “music teacher and pastor” and explicitly said he was fired because his marriage violates the requirement that pastors abide by the teachings of the ‘church.

“Despite changes to New York state law in 2011 legalizing same-sex marriage, Church law is clear,” the diocese said in a statement. He added: “In his case, it has been determined that he can no longer fulfill his obligations as a minister of the faith in the school or in the parish.”

When he was laid off, Mr. LaBanca was offered severance pay of $ 20,000 if he signed a confidentiality agreement that would prevent him from discussing his layoff, he said. He refused.

Instead, Mr LaBanca, 46, went public with his dismissal to draw attention to the church’s use of the legal loophole to target LGBT people while other employees whose lives don’t match. not to the teachings of the church go unpunished.

“There are a lot of people whose lives don’t conform to the teachings of the church,” he said. “People who don’t go to church on Sundays. People who are on birth control. People who divorce and remarry.

He married his longtime partner Rowan Meyer, an actor, on August 1 in a ceremony officiated by his father, who was ordained online by the Universal Life Church. Mr. LaBanca said it was “the happiest day of my life”.

He described himself as a longtime Catholic whose faith had been deeply shaken by the events of the past few weeks. He said he couldn’t stop thinking about Pope Francis’ pastoral approach to LGBT people.

“The idea that we should stand up for the Catholic faith – well, there’s a lot of ambiguity right now about what that means based on what the Pope himself has said about acceptance.” , did he declare.

The rationale for firing Mr LaBanca and other Catholic teachers like him is still the subject of legal debate, experts said.

“There’s absolutely no government rule about who can be considered a minister, so it’s a really, really broad exemption,” said Sharita Gruberg, vice president of LGBTQ research at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. “The courts are going to have to keep answering, is this individual a minister or not?”

The Supreme Court ruled last year that federal employment discrimination laws do not apply to teachers in religious schools if their duties include religious activities, such as praying with students. But he also found in a separate case that LGBT people were covered by federal civil rights law which prohibited discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sex.

“The Supreme Court has taken a very broad view of the ministerial exception,” said Katherine M. Franke, director of the Law, Rights and Religion project at Columbia Law School. “The borderline question is when does an employee actually engage in ministry, as opposed to a private religious school where someone teaches math, science, or literature?

“This is the question, what does it mean to be engaged in ministry? She added. “It cannot just be that you are employed by a religious institution. “

In its statement on Mr. LaBanca’s dismissal, the diocese provided an excerpt from its employment contract for teachers, which reads: “The teacher is essential to the ministry of transmitting the faith and recognizes that he is a minister. of the Roman Catholic faith. . “

Mr LaBanca said the church’s description of his role was “extremely subjective” and not “minister with a capital M”, and that he did not sign any such contracts for his work at the parish.

“I would say it’s a strong label for what I do,” he said. “I would never have called myself a minister. And at school, I was Mr. Matt, or Mr. Matthew, I was never called a minister.

His work with the Diocese began in 2005 as the kind of side gig to pay the bills that many actors in New York City get. He quickly became a passion and his main source of income and health insurance.

He worked as a Music Director at Corpus Christi in Woodside from 2005 to 2007, then left to perform in theatrical shows, including the Broadway production of “Young Frankenstein,” before returning to work in 2012. Three years later he began his work at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Astoria.

Mr LaBanca said he did not keep his sexual orientation a secret at work, although he “did not care much about my marriage” because he was aware of the teaching of the church on homosexuality.

“It’s not like I’m locked up,” he said. “I respect the fact that some people in the community may not understand or be able to see beyond what their catechism, culture or parish mentality may have informed them on this issue. I was respectful in this regard, but people knew I was gay.

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30 famous celebrities you may not know are from Michigan Fri, 22 Oct 2021 15:04:06 +0000 Some of your favorite television and movie stars are from Michigan and chances are, you never realized it. We’re sure you know the most famous ones like Madonna, Kristen Bell, Kid Rock and others. But there are dozens of other famous faces from this state who we’re betting may surprise you. Here is a list […]]]>

Some of your favorite television and movie stars are from Michigan and chances are, you never realized it. We’re sure you know the most famous ones like Madonna, Kristen Bell, Kid Rock and others. But there are dozens of other famous faces from this state who we’re betting may surprise you.

Here is a list we compiled of 30 celebrities who were born in Michigan you may not have known were from the Great Lakes State. Of course, there are many other famous faces besides these. But for now, see how many you didn’t know about.

30. David Spade

The actor and comedian was born in Birmingham in Metro Detroit before his family moved to Arizona when he was four years old. The “Saturday Night Live” alumni is best known for his sitcoms “Just Shoot Me” and “Rules of Engagement.” You also know him from his many big screen comedies like “Joe Dirt,” “Tommy Boy,” “Black Sheep” and “Grown Ups.”

29. Ken Jeong

This actor and comedian was born in Detroit in 1969 and raised in North Carolina. He is best known for starring on the TV shows “Community” and “Dr. Ken.” Currently, you can see him as a judge on the hit FOX singing show “The Masked Singer.” You also know Jeong from “The Hangover” series of movies along with “Ride Along 2″ and “Crazy Rich Asians.”

28. John Hughes

This famous filmmaker was born in Lansing in 1950 and grew up in Grosse Pointe in Metro Detroit before his family moved to Chicago when he was in 7th grade. Hughes is known for writing, producing or directing some of the biggest comedy films of the 80s and 90s including “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Weird Science,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and “Home Alone.” Hughes passed away in 2009.

27. Courtney B. Vance

This actor was born in Detroit in 1960. He went to Detroit Country Day School and graduated college from Harvard. You know him from such movies as “Hamburger Hill,” “The Hunt for Red October,” and his newest film, “Project Power” on Netflix. On the small screen, he’s known for “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

26. Mary Lynn Rajskub

This actress and comedian was born in Detroit in 1971 and raised in Trenton in Metro Detroit. You may know her as “Chloe” on “24.” She also travels the country performing stand-up comedy.

25. David Alan Grier

This actor and comedian was born in Detroit in 1956. He attended Cass Tech High before graduating from the University of Michigan. You may remember him from the TV comedy sketch show “In Living Color,” He’s also appeared and starred in numerous TV shows and movies like “Amazon Women on The Moon,” “Boomerang,” “Jumanji,” “Coffee and Kareem” and “The Cool Kids.”

Elizabeth Berkley (left) takes a photo with a fan at Motor City Comic con. (Photo by Edward Pevos | MLive)

24. Elizabeth Berkley

The “Saved By The Bell” actress was born in Farmington Hills in 1972. She graduated from North Farmington High before attending Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills. You also know Berkley from “Showgirls.” She’s currently reprising her role of Jessie Spano on the “Saved By The Bell” reboot on the Peacock streaming network.

verne troyer in a high school letter jacket

Actor Verne Troyer was born in Sturgis, Michigan. (Photo by Melanie Maxwell | MLive)

23. Verne Troyer

This actor and stuntman was born in Sturgis in 1969. He passed away in 2018. He is a graduate of Centreville High School. You know Troyer from the “Austin Powers” film series.

Eric Bischoff shaking hands with a fan at a comic con

Eric Bischoff (left) was born in Detroit. (Photo by Edward Pevos | MLive)

22. Eric Bischoff

This WCW and WWE legend was born in Detroit in 1955. Bischoff led World Championship Wrestling as its Executive Vice President in the 90s during the famous ratings wars with WWE. He also served as WWE RAW General Manager in the early 2000s.

21. Jerry Bruckheimer

Born in Detroit in 1943, this film and TV producer graduated from Mumford High before moving to Arizona to attend college. Some of his best-known movies include “Top Gun,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Flashdance,” “Con Air,” “Armageddon,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Bad Boys.”

christie brinkley at a new york yankees game

Christie Brinkley was born in Monroe, Michigan. (Photo by Noah K. Murray | The Star Ledger)

20. Christie Brinkley

This model and actress was born in Monroe in 1954. Her family later moved to Los Angeles. Brinkley is known for being on the cover of numerous Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. She also spent more than two decades as the face of CoverGirl. Her first acting role was in the the 1983 film “National Lampoon’s Vacation” as the woman in the red Ferrari.”

19. J.K. Simmons

This award winning actor was born in Grosse Pointe in 1955. His family moved to Ohio when he was 10. You know Simmons from his roles on “Law and Order,” “Oz,” “Spider-Man” and in “Whiplash” where he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

matthew lillard holding up a scream mask and movie script

Actor Matthew Lillard was born in Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Edward Pevos)

18. Matthew Lillard

This actor was born in Lansing in 1970, but grew up in California. You know him from “Scream,” the live action “Scooby-Doo” series of movies and “Good Girls.”

17. Steven Seagal

This action star was born in Lansing in 1952. His family moved to California when he was five. You know Seagal from such action films as “Under Siege,” “Executive Decision” and “The Patriot.”

16. Richard Kiel

This actor was born in Detroit in 1939. He passed away in 2014. You know him from his roles as Jaws in the “James Bond” movie franchise. You also know him from “The Longest Yard,” “Happy Gilmore” and Cannonball Run 2.”

15. Taylor Lautner

This actor was born in Grand Rapids in 1992. He grew up in nearby Hudsonville. He’s best known for playing Jacob in the “Twilight” series of movies. He also starred in the BBC sitcom “Cuckoo” and in “Scream Queens.”

14. Burt Reynolds

The “Smokey and The Bandit” actor was born in Lansing in 1936. He grew up in Lake City in Northern Michigan. Reynolds passed away in 2018. You also know him from his roles in “Deliverance,” “The Longest Yard,” “Cannonball Run” and “Evening Shade.”

13. Selma Blair

This actress was born in Southfield in 1972. She attended Hillel Day School in Farmington Hills before attending Cranbrook. She went to Kalamazoo College before moving to New York City. You know her from such hit films as “Cruel Intentions,” “Legally Blonde,” “The Sweetest Thing” and “Hellboy.” In recent years, she has been open about her battle with multiple sclerosis.

Floyd Mayweather Jr smiling in a blue shirt and brown hat

Floyd Mayweather Jr. was born in Grand Rapids. (Photo by Josh Slagter | MLive)

12. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Winner of 15 major world boxing titles, Mayweather Jr. was born in Grand Rapids in 1977. His family moved to New Jersey in the 80s. Boxing Writers Association of America named him the “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2010s. In 2016, ESPN ranked him as the greatest boxer of the last 25 years, pound for pound. The retired boxer finished with an undefeated 49-0 record.

kate upton smiling in a green army type shirt

Kate Upton was born in St. Joseph, Michigan. (Photo by Tanya Moutzalias | MLive)

11. Kate Upton

This model and actress was born in St. Joseph in 1992. Her family moved to Florida seven years later. Upton was the cover model for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue three times in 2012, 2013 and 2017. She also starred in the films “Tower Heist,” “The Other Woman” and “The Layover.” She’s married to former Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. The couple has one daughter.

10. Paul Feig

This actor, director and writer was born in Mt. Clemens in 1962. He graduated from Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Twp. Feig starred as Mr. Pool in “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.” He directed “Freaks and Geeks,” several episodes of “The Office” and “Arrested Development.” He also directed the movie “Bridesmaids” among other films including the recent “Ghostbusters” reboot.

9. Tim Meadows

“The Ladies Man” was born in Highland Park in 1961. Meadows graduated from Pershing High in Detroit and attended Wayne State University. You know the “Saturday Night Live” alumni from “Grown Ups,” “Schooled,” “The Goldbergs,” “Mean Girls” and a lot more movies and TV shows.

Dean Cain looking at a guy on the set of a movie

Dean Cain was born in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. (Photo by Matt Gade | MLive)

8. Dean Cain

“The Man of Steel” was born in Mt. Clemens in 1966. Cain’s family moved to California when he was young. The actor, who has been in dozens of movies and TV shows, is known for playing Superman in TV’s “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” Cain graduated from Princeton. The NFL’s Buffalo Bills signed him out of college, but a knee injury ended his career.

keegan michael key at a lions game

Keegan-Michael Key was born in Southfield, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland | MLive)

7. Keegan-Michael Key

This actor and comedian was born in Southfield in 1971. He graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy in 1993. You know him from his hit sketch series “Key & Peele.” You also know Key from “Pitch Perfect 2,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King” live action film, “Friends From College” and most recently as host of “Game On!”

6. Lee Majors

“The Six Million Dollar Man” was born in Wyandotte in 1939. Along with his starring role as Colonel Steve Austin, you know Majors from “The Fall Guy” and “The Big Valley.”

terry crews with howie mandel on americas got talent

Terry Crews (left) was born in Flint, Michigan. (Photo by: Maarten de Boer/NBC)Maarten de Boer/NBC

5. Terry Crews

The “America’s Got Talent” host was born in Flint in 1968. He graduated high school from Flint Southwestern Academy before attending Interlochen. He also attended Western Michigan University where he excelled at football before being drafted by the Rams. You know Crews from “White Chicks,” “Blended,” “The Expendables” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

4. Ed McMahon

This actor and comedian was born in Detroit in 1923. He passed away in 2009. He was Johnny Carson’s sidekick for 30 years. You also know him as the host of “Star Search” and co-host of “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes.”

3. Sonny Bono

This singer and actor was born in Detroit in 1935. His family moved to California when he was seven. He’s most famous for his duet with wife Cher, “I Got You Babe.” The two also shared the stage on “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour” for a few years in the early 70s. Bono was also involved in politics. He was the mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992 and was the Republican congressman for California’s 44th district from 1995 until his death in 1998.

2. John Witherspoon

This actor and comedian was born in Detroit in 1942. He passed away in 2019. You know him from his roles in “Friday,” “Next Friday,” “Little Nicky,” “The Wayans Bros.” and “Amen,” among many other TV shows and movies.

1. Bruce Campbell

This actor and comedian was born in Royal Oak in 1958. He graduated from Groves High School where he met fellow famous Michigander, Sam Raimi. Campbell attended Western Michigan University for a short time before continuing to pursue acting. You know him from the “Evil Dead” series of movies which includes “Army of Darkness.” You also know him from “Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Brisco County Jr.,” “Burn Notice,” “Spider-Man” and starring as Elvis in “Bubba Ho-Tep.”

Of course, there are many other celebrities who are from Michigan that you may or may not know about. This is just 30 of some of the stars who were born in the Great Lakes State.


30 famous singers and bands you may not know are from Michigan

The most famous person from each of Michigan’s 83 counties

20 natural wonders of Michigan to put on your travel bucket list

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Voting rights protest leads to arrest of religious leaders outside White House Tue, 19 Oct 2021 22:30:00 +0000 WASHINGTON (RNS) – An interfaith assortment of religious leaders and actors were arrested outside the White House on Tuesday, October 19 as they demanded in prayers and speeches that President Joe Biden and congressional lawmakers do more to defend legislation on the right to vote. Reverend Jamal Bryant, a prominent Georgian pastor who had asked […]]]>

WASHINGTON (RNS) – An interfaith assortment of religious leaders and actors were arrested outside the White House on Tuesday, October 19 as they demanded in prayers and speeches that President Joe Biden and congressional lawmakers do more to defend legislation on the right to vote.

Reverend Jamal Bryant, a prominent Georgian pastor who had asked God in his opening prayer “to send every available angel to be assigned to every representative who is the disruptor of democracy”, was taken along with Rabbi David Saperstein, an elder from the United States. General Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, and Alyssa Milano, the former “Who’s the boss? And the “Melrose Place” actress who has devoted herself to activism in recent years.

Immediately prior to their arrest, protesters at the hour-long protest were warned three times by police that they were breaking DC law by “obstructing or causing inconvenience.”

Critics for inaction on the legislation, particularly the John Lewis Act and the For the People Act, also targeted the President and Republican lawmakers who opposed both bills.

Reverend Ferrell Malone of Waycross, Georgia – one of the plaintiffs in a case challenging a state election law that activists denounce as restrictive – noted that his condition “was returned for the White House” in the election of 2020 by electing Biden and helping Democrats win a majority in the U.S. Senate.

“It is time for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as the Senate and the House of Representatives, to pay,” he said.

Reverend Ferrell Malone speaks during a vote for the right to vote outside the White House on October 19, 2021 in Washington. RNS Photo by Jack Jenkins

“I’ve known Joe Biden for 40 years,” Saperstein told the crowd before his arrest. “All his life he fought for the right to vote. … This is why we expect him, above all, to stand up and make it a priority, even among other extremely important priorities. It is the fundamental right of the foundation.

The Freedom to Vote Act, a compromise bill aimed at wooing those who disagree with key parts of the John Lewis Act, would have has the support of the 50 U.S. Democratic senators, but lacks enough Republican support to break the 60-vote qualified majority required to override the Senate filibuster.

“In the face of injustice, we hear God’s call for us,” Saperstein said.

The 1 pm protest, organized by liberal rights group People for the American Way, was the second such protest outside the White House in recent weeks; the same groups staged a similar protest in early October.

Several speakers called on Biden to endorse an end to the Senate filibustering, which has hampered many of his administration’s more progressive legislative efforts despite a Democratic majority in Congress. Since March, the president and other White House officials have alternately rejected the idea of ​​eliminating the rule and expressed openness to reforming its use.

US park police escort arrested activists during a voting rights rally outside the White House on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 in Washington.  RNS Photo by Jack Jenkins

U.S. park police escort individuals arrested during a voting rights rally outside the White House on October 19, 2021 in Washington. RNS Photo by Jack Jenkins

At one point, the protesters chanted, “Hey! Joe! The filibuster must go!

But Saperstein was among those at Tuesday’s protest who did not support a complete elimination of filibuster.

“The segment of the Jewish community that I represent – which is so committed to the right to vote – we want to right the obstruction here to prevent what we are seeing happening now without giving it up,” Saperstein told Religion News Service in an interview.

Many protesters also called for granting state status to Washington, DC, a deeply Democratic area that would shift Congress to the left if represented by a vote. in the Senate and in the House. The cause gained popularity among religious suffrage activists this year.

“In my religious tradition there is a scripture that says, ‘Faith without works is dead,’ said Reverend Delman Coates, pastor of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Maryland. “We are here today because there has been too much silence on voting rights.”

As the last group left with a police escort, protesters raised their fists as supporters on the sidewalk sang the civil rights hymn “We Shall Overcome”.

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