Legendary Arecibo telescope will close forever — scientists are reeling
Nov 20, 2020

By Alexandra Witze One of astronomy’s most renowned telescopes — the 305-metre-wide radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico — is closing permanently. Engineers cannot find a safe way to repair it after two cables supporting the structure broke suddenly and catastrophically, one in August and one in early November. It is the end of one …

Appeals Court: For Now, a Nativity Scene Can Go Up Outside an Indiana Courthouse
Nov 20, 2020

By Hemant Mehta A Nativity scene outside a former Indiana courthouse will remain up this winter even though it was declared unconstitutional earlier this year. But that victory for conservative Christians may not last for long. Some background is helpful here: All of this takes place in the city of Brownstown at the site of …

Trump Judges Block Laws Banning LGBTQ “Conversion Therapy” for Minors
Nov 20, 2020 · 1 

By Mark Joseph Stern A federal appeals court blocked bans on LGBTQ “conversion therapy” for minors on Friday, finding that two Florida cities violate the First Amendment with laws that seek to protect children from the harmful and discredited practice. Both judges in the majority are Federalist Society members appointed by President Donald Trump. Their …

The Latinx Culture War Is The Untold Story Of The 2020 Election
Nov 20, 2020

By Juhem Navarro-Rivera This year as turnout increased among all groups, and despite losing the popular vote again, Donald Trump gained over 10 million votes. Media narratives have placed a lot of attention on the Latinx vote since the president seems to have gained substantial support among this cohort. While two-thirds of Latinxs voted for …

Ex-Students at Seventh-day Adventist School Settle Abuse Claims for $52 Million
Nov 19, 2020

By Hemant Mehta Miracle Meadows School, a Seventh-day Adventist-run alternative school in Salem, West Virginia, made headlines for all the wrong reasons back in 2014. The year-round school encouraged parents to send kids there if they were dishonest, defiant, or experiencing “spiritual disinterest.” And many parents did, in part because the staff members were said to …

At annual meeting, U.S. Catholic bishops debate McCarrick report and whether it proves they need more lay oversight
Nov 19, 2020

By Michelle Boorstein One week after a bombshell Vatican report about the rise of ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, U.S. bishops debated the report’s import Monday at their biannual meeting, with some saying it left out the role of money, others saying it shows the bishop-picking process needs fixing, and still others disagreeing about whether it showed …

It’s Not About Facts Or Fear: What Many Liberals Get Wrong About Religious Conservatives
Nov 19, 2020

By John Stoehr On Monday, the Times ran an article as significant as it was generally overlooked. It was a short interview with Matthew Sheffield, a key architect of the right-wing media apparatus that not only spreads “alternative facts” but maintains an “alternative reality” that millions of Americans inhabit. “I basically built the infrastructure for a lot of …

Why Christian Nationalists Merge Their Religious and Political Identities
Nov 19, 2020 · 2 

By Nancy LeTourneau Paul Ewell, a business professor and dean at Virginia Wesleyan University, wrote on Facebook recently that anyone who supported Biden for president is “ignorant, anti-American and anti-Christian.” Donald Trump was so impressed with the sentiment that he retweeted the quote with a one word commentary: “Progress!” We have, of course, become somewhat immune to that kind …

The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight
Nov 19, 2020

By Sarah Zhang For all that scientists have done to tame the biological world, there are still things that lie outside the realm of human knowledge. The coronavirus was one such alarming reminder, when it emerged with murky origins in late 2019 and found naive, unwitting hosts in the human body. Even as science began to …

Burning Fossil Fuels Helped Drive Earth’s Most Massive Extinction
Nov 18, 2020

By Lucas Joel Paleontologists call it the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, but it has another name: “the Great Dying.” It happened about 252 million years ago, and, over the course of just tens of thousands of years, 96 percent of all life in the oceans and, perhaps, roughly 70 percent of all land life vanished forever. …

People Are Explaining Why They Left Church Using the Hashtag #ILeftBecause
Nov 18, 2020

By Hemant Mehta On Monday, conservative Rod Dreher wrote about why Millennials were abandoning evangelical Christianity. Someone whose kids walked away from the faith, Dreher said, blamed Donald Trump and the MAGA-ness of so many churches, but Dreher didn’t believe that was the full extent of it. He posted a letter from a different reader that offered even more suggestions: …

Churches, synagogues ask Supreme Court to end coronavirus worship limits
Nov 18, 2020

By Devin Dwyer Houses of worship from Nevada to New York, chafing at attendance restrictions imposed by state governors during the coronavirus pandemic, are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene on their behalf as a matter of religious freedom. Two Orthodox Jewish synagogues in New York this week joined the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn in asking the justices to …