Convening Examines Crossroads of Religion and Economics

Convening Examines Crossroads of Religion and Economics
Today, Emory University will host PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones, PhD and other scholars to discuss Spirit and Capital in an Age of Inequality, co-edited by Jones and Dr. Ted Smith. The book considers one of the most pressing issues of our time: increasing inequalities of income and wealth that grate against justice and erode the bonds that hold society together. Bringing together a diverse group of scholars, activists and public intellectuals, the book looks at different religious traditions to understand and address inequalities like mass incarceration and sweatshops. It also explores the inner experience of life in a society marked by inequality, tracing the contours of stress, hopelessness and a restless lack of contentment. The book honors the work of Jon P. Gunnemann, Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a leading scholar at the intersections of religion and economics.
Padma Lakshmi Didn’t Disclose Harrowing Sexual Abuse Incidents Until Trump’s Tweet
A Tweet from President Trump questioning why Christine Blasey Ford didn’t immediately report U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of allegedly sexually assaulting her as a teenager in the 1980s, has inspired the hashtag campaign, #WhyIDidntReport. In a first-person account published in The New York Times author and the host of “Top Chef,” Padma Lakshmi describes being sexually assaulted as a 16-year-old and why she remained silent until now. “I have nothing to gain by talking about this,” Lakshmi wrote. “But we all have a lot to lose if we put a time limit on telling the truth about sexual assault and if we hold on to the codes of silence that for generations have allowed men to hurt women with impunity.” According to PRRI polling, more than seven in ten (72 percent) women, compared to 57 percent of men, say real experiences of sexual harassment or assault that are not reported or believed are a bigger problem than false accusations.
Russian News Start-Up Banned on American Social Media
USAReally, a Moscow-based media start-up with financial ties to the Russian-backed Federal News Agency and the Internet Research Agency, has been banned on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, reports Kevin Roose for The New York Times. USAReally is run by Russian journalist Alexander Malkevich, who said the website normally garners anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 visitors a day. Roose reports USAReally’s news articles are similar to the divisive and conspiratorial social media content driven by Russian trolls in 2016. Thirteen of those trolls worked at the Internet Research Agency and were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. Per a 2018 PRRI analysis, close to half the public (45 percent) believe that outside interference from foreign governments is a major problem for the current election system.
Millennials Are Causing the U.S. Divorce Rate to Plummet
New data show younger couples are approaching relationships very differently from baby boomers, who married young, divorced, remarried and so on, according to a new studyfrom University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen. “One of the reasons for the decline is that the married population is getting older and more highly educated,” Cohen told Bloomberg. Fewer people are getting married, and those who do are the sort of people who are least likely to get divorced, he said. “Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they’re doing.” According to the article many poorer and less educated Americans are opting not to get married at all and instead live together and often raising kids together. In a 2015 PRRI survey, despite the fact that millennials are marrying, on average, much later than previous generations, they generally view the institution in a positive light. Only one-quarter (25 percent) of millennials agree that marriage has become old-fashioned and out of date, while about seven in ten (71 percent) disagree.
In the Mennonite Church, Congregations Realign on Sexuality
Religion News Service featured an article by Yonat Shimron about the Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship’s decision to welcome LGBTQ people into the church two years ago, including the church’s pastor, Isaac Villegas, performing a same-sex wedding. As a result, Villegas’ ordination credentials were suspended by prompting the Chapel Hill congregation to realign with a more progressive governing body and the pastor’s credentials restored. “The Mennonite realignment — at least on the issue of LGBTQ inclusion — cuts both ways,” Shimron writes. “Conservative as well as liberal congregations are breaking away and coming together in new ways.” According to the story the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ have also suffered from breakaways and reconfigurations.
High-Speed Train Connects Islamic Holy Cities
Saudi Arabia has launched a high-speed railway connecting Islam’s two holiest cities in a bid to improve traffic congestion for the millions of Muslim pilgrims that visit the country annually. “The journey between the Haramain (two holy mosques) is now shorter and easier than at any time before,” said Saudi Arabian Transport Minister Nabil al-Amoudi told dignitaries gathered at the Jeddah station. The train, which begins operating next week, reach speeds up around 200MPH will reduce travel time been the holy cities of Medina and Mecca from five hours to two.