For some, ‘evangelical’ has become uncomfortable label

By Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey | Washington Post

PASADENA, Calif. — They all decided they wanted to become preachers and enrolled in seminary to learn how to spread the Gospel. They chose one of the most prominent evangelical seminaries in the country.

Yet here they were, these four young preachers-in-training from the Midwest, the South and the Northwest, hanging around after listening to sermons in class. They were debating whether they wanted to be the one thing Fuller Theological Seminary is known for: evangelicals.

“It’s still a painful identity for me, coming from this election,” said Paul Johnson, one of the students at Fuller.

Discomfort with the term “evangelical” began in some quarters with the Moral Majority in the Reagan years, which helped make “evangelical” synonymous with the Republican Party. Ever since, evangelicals have disagreed with each other about mixing faith and politics.

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Such debates intensified last year when President Donald Trump was elected with the overwhelming support of white evangelical voters after a vitriolic campaign that alienated many Americans. Most recently, after Senate candidate Roy Moore drew strong majorities of white evangelicals in Alabama despite reports of his pursuit of teenage girls when he was in his 30s, some Christians across the country said they weren’t sure they wanted to be associated with the word anymore.

Even two of the grandchildren of Billy Graham, the famed evangelist who helped popularize the term, are abandoning the word. “The term has come to represent white Republicans and … sometimes close-mindedness and superiority,” said granddaughter Jerushah Armfield, a writer and pastor’s wife in South Carolina.

Jen Hatmaker, a Texas-based author with a large …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

Hawaii is preparing for a North Korean nuclear attack. Should the Bay Area follow suit?

HONOLULU — For the first time in more than three decades, an ominous warning siren blared across Hawaii earlier this month — an alarm that one day could mean a nuclear missile is about to hit.

The siren, a Cold War relic brought back in the wake of new threats from North Korea, is the centerpiece of the most wide-ranging campaign in the U.S. to prepare for a nuclear strike. Over the last few months, state officials have aired TV ads warning Hawaiians to “get inside, stay inside” if an attack is imminent. They’ve also held meetings across the islands to educate residents on the danger.

Especially after North Korea’s latest missile test, some experts believe California and the Bay Area — one of the closest U.S. metro areas to Pyongyang after Honolulu — should follow Hawaii’s example. But so far the Golden State’s reaction has been starkly different.

“Hawaii feels like it’s on the front lines because it’s so close to North Korea, but these weapons have a pretty long reach,” said Alex Wellerstein, a professor who studies nuclear weapons at New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology. In practical terms, he said, “Hawaii isn’t a whole lot closer than San Francisco.”

Indeed, Hawaii is about 4,600 miles from North Korea, compared to 5,450 miles for the City by the Bay.

Hawaii’s alarm was tested Dec. 1 following the regular tsunami siren and will be tested on the first business day of every month. It’s a wailing caterwaul, impossible to ignore, and sounds different from the single-tone tsunami warning. For many locals and tourists, the foreboding sound evoked an earlier era when American schoolchildren were taught to hide under their desks in case the Soviet Union launched a nuclear strike.

Hawaii just tested its …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

Nine more women say circuit court judge harassed them

By Matt Zapotosky | Washington Post

Nine more women say that Alex Kozinski – a high-profile judge who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit – subjected them to sexual comments or other conduct, including four who say he touched them inappropriately.

Kozinski, known for his libertarian views and colorful written opinions, already had been accused of subjecting several women to a range of inappropriate sexual conduct or comments, and the circuit’s chief judge on Thursday took the first step in launching an investigation into his behavior. The matter was assigned Friday to the 2nd Circuit judicial council.

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The new allegations – which span decades and include not just those who worked for Kozinski but those who encountered him at events – bring the total number of women accusing the judge of inappropriate behavior to at least 15.

One recent law student at the University of Montana said that Kozinski, at a 2016 reception, pressed his finger into the side of her breast, which was covered by her clothes, and moved it with some “deliberateness” to the center, purporting to be pushing aside her lapel to fully see her name tag.

Another lawyer said Kozinski approached her when she was alone in a room at a legal community event around 2008 in downtown Los Angeles and – with no warning – gave her a bear hug and kissed her on the lips.

A University of California at Irvine law professor said Kozinski pinched her at a dinner this year, and he also joked that he had just had sex with his wife and she or others at the table would be “happy to know it still works.”

A former U.S. Court of Federal …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

CDC banned from using words like fetus, transgender, diversity

By Lena H. Sun, Juliet Eilperin | Washington Post

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases – including “fetus” and “transgender” – in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

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In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or “evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.

The question of how to address such issues as sexual orientation, gender identity and abortion rights – all of which received significant visibility under the Obama administration – has surfaced repeatedly in federal agencies since President Donald Trump took office. Several key departments – including Health and Human Services, which oversees CDC, as well as Justice, Education and Housing and Urban Development – have changed some federal policies and how they collect government information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

In March, for example, HHS dropped questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in two surveys of elderly people.

HHS has also removed information about LGBT Americans from its website. The department’s Administration for Children and Families, for example, archived a page that outlined federal services that …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

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