religion

Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Called ‘Provocative,’ Counterproductive
‘He’s undercutting his own efforts at peacemaking,’ Rep. Welch says

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement in May with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. On Wednesday, Trump announced he is moving the American embassy to Jerusalem despite Muslim allies urging him against it. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump says his decision to buck the advice of America’s closest Muslim allies and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is part of a broader strategy shift needed to produce a Middle East peace pact. But some lawmakers and experts argue the president has unnecessarily undercut himself.

Trump on Wednesday formally announced he will abide by a 1995 U.S. law and move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognize that city as the country’s official capital. He noted that for the last 22 years, his predecessors have — despite some campaign-trail pledges to the contrary — exercised a waiver in that law to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.

On Jerusalem, Trump Will Finally Enact Whims of Congress
Past presidents have resisted Congress on formal Israeli capital, embassy location

President Donald Trump on Wednesday will announce that he is reversing a decades-old U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump is poised to enact a law Congress passed two decades ago by ordering the U.S. embassy be moved to Jerusalem, and answer a bipartisan call by recognizing the city as Israel's capital.

Like Trump, previous presidents promised to make the same decision prior to being elected. But once in office and confronted with responsibility for the inevitable fallout in the long-volatile Middle East, each one has opted instead to exercise a waiver built into the 1995 law to delay the embassy’s relocation to the city, which is important to the Jewish, Islamic and Christian faiths.

Tax Fight Coming Over Politicking by Churches, Nonprofits
Endorsing or opposing candidates is prohibited — for now

Lawmakers are considering legislation that could have broad implications for churches and charities. (Roll Call file photo)

How lawmakers resolve one contentious item between the House and Senate’s diverging tax overhauls may have broad implications for future politicking by churches and charities.

The House bill would repeal the longstanding Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches and other 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations from endorsing — or opposing — candidates for elective office. But after a backlash from liberal organizations who said the change could open up a whole new avenue for undisclosed political money at taxpayer expense, senators decided not to roll back the Johnson Amendment in their overhaul plan.

Trump Breaks With GOP Over 401(k) Changes in Tax Bill
President to Twitter followers: ‘NO change to your 401(k)’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing from the White House last month. On Monday, he put down a marker on tax reform, and again broke with his fellow Republicans. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump further complicated Republicans’ quest to find agreement on a package of tax rate cuts and code changes, breaking with his party by tweeting Monday that he wants the 401(k) system left unchanged.

The popular retirement program allows employees to save a slice of their paychecks before taxes are withdrawn; taxes are eventually paid, but not for years until the money is withdrawn, typically after that employee has reached retirement age.

Podcast: High Court to Weigh In on Gay Rights, Redistricting and Immigration
The Week Ahead, Episode 72

Members of the US Supreme Court are photographed on Thursday. (Rex Features via AP Images)

CQ legal affairs writer Todd Ruger drills down on the cases before the Supreme Court this new term and the justices who may tip the scales.

Show Notes:

Zack Barth ‘Not Living in Fear’ After Congressional Baseball Shooting
Hill staffer talks about his shooter, his faith and life afterward

Zack Barth, an aide to Texas Rep. Roger Williams, was wounded in the leg during the shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice in Arlington, Va., on June 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Zack Barth was never supposed to be dodging bullets in the outfield.

His job was to feed fly balls back to the infield for Republican lawmakers during an early-morning baseball practice ahead of the annual Congressional Baseball Game against the Democrats.

Four Members Sued Over Rainbow Flags
Plaintiff says flag is religious symbol for the ‘homosexual denomination’

California Rep. Susan Davis posted a photo of the gay pride flag hanging outside her office alongside U.S. and California flags. (Courtesy Davis’ office)

Four Democratic lawmakers are being sued by an opponent of LGBTQ rights for displaying a gay pride flag in front of their offices.

The lawsuit is being brought by Chris Sevier, a lawyer opposed to same-sex marriage, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Opinion: For Whom and What Do Faith Leaders Pray?
White evangelicals still strongly in president’s corner

President Donald Trump attended a worship service at the International Church of Las Vegas in October as a candidate. He reached out to evangelical Christians for support during the 2016 campaign. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Were their prayers answered?

White — most of them, anyway — evangelicals, recently photographed laying hands on President Donald Trump perhaps were praying that the proposed Senate health care bill, the one estimates predicted would result in millions losing care or Medicaid coverage, would fail.

Next Supreme Court Term Stacked With Major Cases
Immigration, religion, redistricting on high court’s agenda

Members of the U.S. Supreme Court photographed earlier this month. (Rex Features via AP Images)

The Supreme Court ended its current term this week without deciding the kinds of blockbuster issues that usually draw demonstrators to its plaza at the end of June, but the justices have seeded their next term with high-profile cases.

The addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch in April brought the court back to full strength for the first time in more than a year, and the justices are poised to jump into more contentious and headline-grabbing cases starting in October.

Supreme Court Lets Trump Go Ahead With Most of Travel Ban
President: ‘A clear victory for our national security’

Immigration rights activists chant during their May Day march in Washington to the White House to voice opposition to President Donald Trump's immigration policies on May 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to implement much of its revised travel ban, but also agreed to review the legality of the controversial executive order in October.

The justices lifted injunctions from two federal appeals courts that had blocked the order, which seeks to stop foreign travelers from six majority-Muslim countries for 90 days and suspend all refugees from entering the United States for 120 days. The rulings had stymied one of President Donald Trump’s major policy initiatives in his first months in office — moves that he argued are key for national security.