RNS photo courtesy U.S. Department of State from United States [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Gary_Locke_With_Chen_Guangcheng_May_1,_2012.jpg)

Is Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng pro-life?

(RNS) During the dramatic diplomatic negotiations over blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, anti-abortion groups in the U.S. hailed Chen as one of their own. But Chen is now in the U.S., and he may not be as “pro-life'' as some of his American supporters assumed. By David Gibson.

Commentary: Profiles in cowardice

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) I hope the signs I am seeing don't add up to this doomsday scenario. I hope wiser and cooler heads prevail. I hope a rising tide of vigilante violence, hateful campaigns and criminalizing the “other'' wake us up. But I am less optimistic than I was. By Tom Ehrich.

Sidebar: Professionalizing Human Trafficking Activism

(RNS) Human trafficking, with images of child laborers and sex slaves, is ready-made for the kind of sharing and conversation that characterizes social media. However, the recent popularity and subsequent controversy of Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video is cited by critics who fault social media activism as “slacktivism”—an ineffective and easy form of social justice advocacy. That's not the whole picture, says Claude d’Estree at the University of Denver. D’Estree said videos and photos posted to social media can inspire someone to investigate an issue at a deeper level. Students can go beyond conversations on Twitter and Facebook at the University of Denver, which has created a two-year clinic on the issue of human trafficking in efforts to create more effective leaders.


College activists draw on faith traditions to fight human trafficking

(RNS) For two years of her life, Louise Allison says she looked and felt like trash. She was a straggly-haired teenager sold for sex on Dallas streets. Her traffickers often drugged her and dumped her in a park to await customers. Allison is one of millions of people who have been trafficked—or sold into slavery—for underage sex or forced labor. Now she directs Partners Against Trafficking Humans, a Little Rock, Ark.-based Christian nonprofit that is starting safe houses for human trafficking survivors.

Religion News Service photo by Li-Hua Lan/The Post-
Standard in Syracuse, N.Y.

Sikhs launch mobile app to report profiling

Sikh civil rights activists will unveil a mobile phone application next week that they say allows air travelers who believe they have been profiled by TSA airport screeners to file complaints directly from their phones. By Omar Sacirbey.

COMMENTARY: Despair has had its day

(RNS) Churches take pride in plumes of sweet smoke, glorious music, and, for at least one day, full pews. But outside our doors, fear and hatred prevail without much opposition from us. I feel a deep sadness about a Christian enterprise that cannot do what we were called to do, but retreats instead into what we enjoy doing.  By Tom Ehrich.

RNS photo courtesy of Waterbrook Multnoham Publishing Group

Q conference seeks to present different face of evangelical activism

“We feel we have a role to play in renewing the culture and holding back the effects of sin,” said Gabe Lyons, founder of Q, a nonprofit organization based in New York City that will host its sixth annual conference in Washington, this week. “We’re not to do it in an antagonistic way. We hope to do it in a hopeful way.” By Yonat Shimron


Minister sees no choice but to fight for refugees

HIGHLAND PARK, N.J. (RNS) He is young and looks even younger than his 36 years. Yet in the midst of a confrontation with the federal government that could have grave consequences for his future, the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale acts with the poise of a much older man. By Bob Braun.