Jonathan Rieder, author of the new book “Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation,” said many reporters initially ignored the letter. Photo courtesy Bloomsbury Press

Fifty years later, church leaders respond to King’s “Birmingham Jail” letter

(RNS) Fifty years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged white church leaders to confront racism, an ecumenical network has responded to his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Christian Churches Together in the USA has produced a 20-page document that answers King and includes confessions of church bodies about their silence and slow pace in addressing racial injustice.

RNS photo courtesy United States Department of Labor/Flickr (  *Official Department of Labor Photograph*

Religious leaders ask HHS to broaden birth control exemption

(RNS) A coalition of nearly 150 religious leaders, led by conservative Protestants, have petitioned the Obama administration to broaden the exemption that allows churches and some religious organizations to avoid the controversial policy mandating that all health care insurers provide free contraception coverage. By David Gibson.