FILE PHOTO: James Comey speaks alongside outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller after being nominated by Barack Obama to replace Mueller, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, June 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate possible collusion between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign team and Russia as well as alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election.

President Donald Trump gestures as he addresses the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy during commencement ceremonies in New London, Conn., U.S. May 17. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. arrests of suspected undocumented immigrants rose by nearly 40 percent in the first 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency, following executive orders that broadened the scope of who could be targeted for immigration violations, according to government data released on Wednesday. The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan said that arrests by his agency jumped to 41,318 between January 22 of this year and the end of April, up from 30,028 arrests in roughly the same period last year. 

Karen Huber 5-17-2017

Image via RNS/Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Ireland metaphorically barred the door on the church’s influence on public policy when citizens voted overwhelmingly for the legalization of gay marriage in 2015, making it the first country in the world to do so by national referendum. Now some devout Catholics fear that door may be locked after a Citizens’ Assembly — a deliberative body of people randomly selected from across the country — recently recommended liberal changes to Ireland’s abortion laws.

the Web Editors 5-17-2017

Image via LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES/Shutterstock.com

On May 17, Chelsea Manning, who was in a U.S. military prison for seven years on charges of whistleblowing, was released, reports ABC News. On Jan. 17, President Obama commuted the bulk of Manning’s 35-year prison sentence, enabling her to be released this year. Had President Obama not done so, Manning’s year of release would have remained 2045.

REUTERS/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool, Carlos Barria, Gary Cameron/File Photo

U.S. President Donald Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end the agency's investigation into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia, according to a source who has seen a memo written by Comey. The explosive new development on Tuesday followed a week of tumult at the White House after Trump fired Comey and then discussed sensitive national security information about Islamic State with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

President Trump will deliver an “inspiring yet direct” speech on the need to confront radical ideologies during his upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia.

The speech will come during an afternoon lunch with leaders of more than 50 countries with mostly Muslim populations, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster announced on May 16.

Image via RNS/Ray Chen/Office of Public Witness, PC(USA)

At a news conference on May 15, in front of the United Methodist Building, leaders of congregations and denominations called on fellow African Americans to speak up, and urged Congress to vote down proposed plans by the new administration that they believe help the rich and hurt the sick and the poor.

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But, if the furor on social media this past month is to be believed, the abundance of faith bloggers also has created what the Rev. Tish Harrison Warren called a “crisis of authority.”

“Is literally everyone with a computer — do they equally hold authority to teach and preach?” said Warren, an Anglican priest, who wrote a commentary for Christianity Today titled "Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?

Image via RNS/Creative Commons/Gage Skidmore

According to CNN, the decision to nominate Gingrich has already been made, but the announcement is pending approval from the Office of Government Ethics. Earlier this year, Newt Gingrich confirmed his wife was in the running for the job. The White House declined comment on May 15.

the Web Editors 5-15-2017

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by Republican leaders of a federal court ruling that removed ballot restrictions in North Carolina, due to the restrictions being discriminatory along the basis of race, reports Bloomberg News.

Image via Reuters/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

Signer issued a statement on May 13, criticizing the torch-carrying marchers as either “profoundly ignorant” or aiming to instill fear.

“I smell Jew,” posted an anonymous Twitter user with the handle “Great Patriot Trump.” “If so, you are going back to Israel. But you will not stay in power here. Not for long.”

the Web Editors 5-15-2017

More than 50 workers near Bakersfield, Calif. were exposed to harmful chemicals while harvesting cabbage early this month due to a pesticide drift.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Yuri Gripas

Donald Trump thanked conservative Christians for their votes, and promised to protect their values in his first commencement address as president, at evangelical stronghold Liberty University.

“In America, we don’t worship government, we worship God,” he said to raucous applause at the graduation, at the nation’s largest Christian university, on March 13, in Lynchburg, Va.

the Web Editors 5-12-2017

Image via Rob Crandall / Shutterstock.com

Faith leaders across the country have opposed Sessions’ confirmation as U.S. attorney general with petitions and statements, calling him unfit to make decisions that are helpful to communities of color across the U.S — especially around prison sentencing for black people.

the Web Editors 5-12-2017

West Virginia Judiciary via Courtswv.gov

Since 1987, there have been at least 26 attempts to amend the statute to include “sexual orientation,” and, according to the court, each attempt has failed. 

 

On the day before the arrival of Pope Francis, a pilgrim carries a cross at the Catholic shrine of Fatima, Portugal May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

Pope Francis will make two Portuguese shepherd children saints this week, crowning a belief that started with reported visions of the Madonna 100 years ago which have turned the Shrine of Fatima into one of the most famous in Christianity.

the Web Editors 5-12-2017

1. Why the 1980s Anne of Green Gables Is Such a Hard Act to Follow
On the eve of the Netflix reboot, here are eight writers on how Anne shaped a generation of young women.

Dhanya Addanki 5-11-2017

Image via Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com
 

“I’m here on behalf of Donald Trump as a tangible sign of his commitment to defending Christians and frankly all who suffer for their beliefs across the wide world,” Pence told a crowd of about 600 people. “We stand here today as a testament to the president’s tangible commitment to reaffirm America’s role as a beacon of hope and light and liberty to inspire the world.”

Eliel Cruz 5-11-2017

Image via ep_jhu/Flickr

“I just wish we could have had more conversation before funds got dropped from 20-plus backing churches and organizations,” Hale told Sojourners. “Rather than the conversation, we went straight to protocol. And that’s a sad reality of the way big business and denomination operates.”

Image via RNS/Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

Nine Catholic organizations from around the world have announced they are divesting their savings from coal, oil, and gas companies, in a joint bid to fight climate change.

Religious orders and dioceses from the U.S. and Italy made the announcement on May 10, ahead of international negotiations due this month on implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change.

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