Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Saving grace: The leadership virtue that can help congregations work through conflict

Science is suggesting an effective pastoral response to working through conflict. Humility. Intellectual humility in particular. New research projects are finding the more pastors are perceived to be intellectually humble, the more likely they are to be forgiven by people who took offense at something they said or did. This was especially the case in one study for perceived transgressions in the area of religious beliefs, values or convictions, core areas of religious identity that have the potential to tear asunder congregations.

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Religion, tolerance and the unmaking of prejudice in the Trump era

Politicians from Donald Trump to leaders of populist radical right political parties in Europe attempt to appeal to Christian audiences while blaming immigrants, Muslims and other minorities for social ills. Yet it is far from clear whether they are winning the hearts of individuals for whom faith matters. Two new studies call into question the idea faithful women and men in relatively peaceful democracies are swayed by appeals to close their borders to immigrants and Muslims.

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A Nation Divided By Fear: Studies reveal widespread lack of social trust

America may be nearing a critical tipping point where our fears, particularly of vulnerable groups such as Muslims and immigrants, are breaking down the sense of social trust that enables nations and communities to work together for the common good, research indicates. A new set of studies surveying fears in 2014 and 2015 offer insights into how much we are afraid of one another.

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The war at home: Four ways good faith can help defeat ISIS

Protect religious freedom. Maintain an independent judiciary. Respect your neighbor. Get to know your neighbors. These are the ways the nation can help reduce the threat of terrorism and preserve civil liberties, research suggests.

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Pope Francis and 6 things you need to know about the Catholic Church in the U.S.

The sky is not falling on the Catholic Church in the United States, but it faces plenty of challenges as it welcomes Pope Francis for a six-day visit. Here are six key areas you may want to keep in mind when considering the evolving state of the nation’s largest religious group.

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Latin American perspective on Papa Francisco reveals genuine leader dedicated to change

BUENOS AIRES — The election of Pope Francis is raising spirits and hopes throughout the Catholic Church. But what has been the impact on the ground, and what are the prospects of a makeover for a church that often measures changes in terms of centuries rather than days and months? Many of the people who know Pope Francis best, leading Latin American journalists, scholars and religious leaders, say the genuine faith of the Argentinian pope is making a difference with people in the streets and in the pews. Convincing Catholics in high places, however, may be his greatest challenge.

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Charlie Hebdo and the price of freedom denied: Studies find independent courts and civility best protect liberties, lessen conflict

Islam is not the reason nations restrict religious freedom. Nor are open and free elections guarantors of such liberties. What does predict the protection of religious freedom is a free and independent judiciary, according to a major new study.

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What schism? Sexuality issues rarely create serious conflict in congregations

For all the furor whipped up in denominational politics and cultural debates over issues such as same-sex marriage, little evidence exists that they make a critical difference in the vast majority of local congregations. Studies indicate that disputes over gay rights are not a major source of conflict in local churches. Those worshipers for whom issues of sexuality are a major concern tend to gravitate toward houses of worship that embrace their views, researchers note.

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Catholic churches most likely to be on the front lines of issues from abortion to poverty

The nation’s largest religious body is also by far the most likely to have its congregations take to the streets in public demonstrations or lobby the halls of power on moral issues, a new study finds. While Catholics were most active on the abortion issue, they also were more likely than other groups to lobby and demonstrate on a wide range of issues, from combating poverty to advocating for immigration reform.

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