Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News Service

Emily McFarlan Miller writes for the Religion News Service.

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Are We Alone In the Universe?

Throughout the history of theology, Mix said, Christians have swung between the idea that Earth can be the only inhabited planet because God favors humans, and its counterpart, that to assume Earth is the only inhabited planet is the height of human pride because God is limitless and all-powerful.

Christians in the Pew and Pulpit Diverge Over Trump Policies on Refugees

Photo via Craig Hendrickson/ RNS 

A survey released last week by the Pew Research Center suggested a very different view of the presidential actions, especially among white Protestant Christians.

There was strong support among white evangelical Protestants, with more than three-quarters (76 percent) saying they approve of the policies outlined in Trump’s order. Among white mainline Protestants, 50 percent approved.

Many Christians now are asking the question Helena Leffingwell of Arlington, Texas – not a pastor or ministry leader, just a regular member of Gateway Church, a nondenominational megachurch – put into words: “How can we see things so differently?”

Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper, A Tribe Called Quest Bring Religion to Grammys

Image via RNS/Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

From the depiction of the divine mother in Beyonce’s imagery to Busta Rhymes’s jab at President Trump’s “Muslim ban,” religion took center stage at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

As he accepted the first award – for best new artist – of the televised broadcast on Feb. 12, Chance the Rapper declared:

“Glory be to God. I claim this victory in the name of the Lord.”

Ken Starr on Shortlist to Head Office of International Religious Freedom

Image via RNS/Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing and Communications

President Trump is reportedly considering naming former Baylor University President Ken Starr to head the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

The ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom monitors religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, and develops programs to promote religious freedom, according to the State Department website.

500 Prominent Evangelicals Take Out Full-Page Ad Supporting Refugees

Image via Christopher Penler/Shutterstock.com

More than 500 prominent evangelical Christians from every state have signed on to a letter addressed to President Trump and Vice President Pence, expressing their support for refugees. The “Still We Stand” petition, coordinated by World Relief, ran on Feb. 8 as a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post.

United Methodist Pastor, Placed on Leave After Coming Out, Moves to UCC Church

Image via RNS/Emily McFarlan Miller

In January 2016, the Rev. Cynthia Meyer told her United Methodist Church congregation she felt “called by God to be open and honest” about who she is: “a woman who loves, and shares her life with, another woman.”

5 Faith Facts about Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

Image via RNS/Reuters/Yuri Gripas

The position for which Betsy DeVos has been nominated — secretary of education — is one of the least powerful in the Cabinet, in terms of its budget and position in the line of succession to the presidency.

And yet, after a confirmation hearing in which she struggled to answer questions, some Senate offices have received more calls opposing DeVos than any other nominee.

All 48 Democratic senators and two Republicans — Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins – opposed her when her nomination came to a vote on Feb. 7. Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote.

Religious Leaders Weigh In on President Trump's Supreme Court Pick

Image via RNS/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

President Donald Trump had promised last week evangelical Christians would “love” his nominee for the Supreme Court.

And in fact, said evangelical author and president of The KAIROS Company Johnnie Moore, a member of Trump’s evangelical advisory board, “Evangelicals are ecstatic.”

On Jan. 31, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court left by the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia nearly a year ago.

Standing Rock Sioux: 'Nothing Will Deter Us from Our Fight for Clean Water'

Tepees and tents line the North Dakota plains on Sept. 13, 2016, at the Oceti Sakowin camp near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller.

President Trump’s executive orders advancing the construction of pipelines are drawing condemnation from the Native American and religious groups that have opposed them.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a statement on Facebook saying the president’s order Jan. 24 regarding the Dakota Access pipeline, to extend from the oil fields of North Dakota to Illinois, violated both U.S. law and tribal treaties.

In Farewell, Obama Urges Faith and Political Engagement

Image via RNS/ Emily McFarlen Miller 

The outgoing president encouraged Americans to listen better and try harder, to realize that “science and reason matter,” to assume the best of others. That’s important in a time, he said, when it’s “become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions.”

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