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Black Lives Matter is not a mission of hate. … Black Lives Matter is a movement on mission in the truth of God.

Michelle Higgins, speaking to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an evangelical college ministry that at its annual student missions conference issued support for the #blacklivesmatter movement.

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Poll: Obama, Clinton most admired


mericans’ most admired man and woman in the world are— once again—President Barack

Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This was Clinton’s 14th time at the top, the record for number of years leading the list for either men or women. In the Gallup Poll’s “Most Admired

List” released Dec. 28, Donald Trump tied Pope Francis for the No. 2 spot. Malala Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Prize as an activist for women’s educa- tion, came second on the women’s list. As often happens in these open-

ended polls, those behind No. 1 have barely a fraction of the votes. While 17 percent of those surveyed named Obama and 13 percent Clinton, 5 percent named Trump and the pon- tiff, as well as Yousafzai. After that, the names in the men’s race are in a statistical tie: Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bill Gates, Dalai Lama, Billy Gra- ham (59th time on the list), George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. Oprah Winfrey and Michelle

Obama were tied for third among women, followed by Carly Fiorina in a tie with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Queen Elizabeth. Follow- ing them were Sen. Elizabeth War- ren, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, former Secretary of State Con- doleezza Rice, Ellen DeGeneres and Sarah Palin. 

For more news, visit www.thelutheran. org/feature/february


Religion news in 2015: Terror, fear & forgiveness I

forgive you” were three of the most powerful words uttered in the name of religion this year, accord-

ing to Religion News Service (RNS). They were from Nadine Collier to the white supremacist accused of fatally shooting her mother and eight others at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., in June. Religion inspired countless other

acts of forgiveness, mercy and hope this year. But religion—or perver- sions of it—also inspired violence. RNS compiled an overview of some of the most consequential religion stories of the past year.

ISIS: Also called Islamic State, ISIS continued its reign of terror, slaugh- tering Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach and locking a Jordanian pilot in a cage and setting him on fire. The attacks that killed 130 in Paris left no doubt ISIS wants to outdo its rival al-Qaida and take what it believes are end-of-times battles to the heart of Europe.

The Charleston nine: A white man walked into an African Method- ist Episcopal Church in Charleston June 17 and joined a Bible study group. The warm welcome he got didn’t stop him, authorities said, from fatally shooting nine people.

Gun violence: Several mass shoot- ings had religious overtones—the slaying of three students at Cha- pel Hill, N.C., by a suspect who appeared to dislike all religions, especially his Muslim neighbors; a man accused of killing three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings carried out by a husband and wife, who had reportedly told Facebook friends she wanted to become a jihadist.

Muslims Trumped: Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to keep all Muslims out of the U.S. took anti-Muslim sentiment in the country into new territory, with Muslim civil rights groups reporting a surge in mosque vandalism and hate crimes since then.

Buddhists vs. Muslims: In Myan- mar (formerly Burma), Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state were reported to be facing the “final stages of a genocide” after hundreds were killed in massacres egged on by Buddhist extremists. The govern- ment sees the Rohingya as foreign- ers, even though many have lived in the country for generations.

Pope Francis, poverty and climate change: Although the pope’s visit to the U.S. in September sparked considerable attention, the Fran- cis effect was most felt in his visit to three of the poorest countries in the hemisphere—Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. On July 9 in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz, he denounced what he called a “new colonialism” of the poor and said the unfettered pursuit of money is “the dung of the devil.” The pope also joined other religious leaders in making a moral case for an agreement on climate change, which was reached Dec. 12 in Paris.

Supreme Court ruling and religious freedom laws: The June 26 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states cemented a para- digm shift that has been years, if not decades, in the making. Some called for a repenting of the way lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peo- ple have been treated, while others demanded laws confirming consti- tutional protections for their view of marriage—as only possible between a man and a woman.

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