“ISIS is slick and effective. It has a well-run propaganda machine and an ideology compelling to disaffected Muslim youth persuaded of Western perfidy. The combination of medievalist literalism and technological prowess has produced a fanatical army of borderless appeal.”

—Roger Cohen, columnist for The New York Times

“Unity will enhance our efforts to fend off any violent extremism and preserve the values of our society. To mitigate any attempt by ISIS in their recruiting efforts in the U.S., we are promoting programs to build resilience against their terrorist ideology.”

—Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council based in Washington, D.C.

“It is with a great joy and praises to the Almighty God that Sierra Leone … has been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization.”

—Samuel Conteh, coordinator of social ministries for the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone, writing to the Baptist World Alliance

“The fact that this one came to light on the Internet speaks to the reality for all of us who deal with manuscripts and antiquities.”

—Geoffrey Smith of the University of Texas, speaking to The New York Times about a rare Greek New Testament papyrus fragment, dating to AD 250-350, that he persuaded a seller to withdraw from eBay (christiantoday.com)

“Churches have a tendency to be judgmental, but I think that’s above my pay grade… Jesus caught heat in his day for including people in his inner circle the religious authorities considered to be sinners.”

—Bob Shrum, who retired after 32 years as pastor of Oakland
Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C. (The Rock Hill Herald)

“It’s a matter of giving up some of your self-will, some of your selfishness in order to be a part of a group. To me there’s many, many benefits.”

—Alvin Miller of Shipshewana, Ind., on the growing appeal of Anabaptist faith traditions (Voice of America)

“White Christians now make up less than half of the U.S. population…”

—Reporter Nick Gass on a recent Pew Research survey showing the percentage of American adults who are white Christians dropped from 55 in 2007 to 46 (Politico)

“It is impossible to be grateful and hateful at the same time. We have to have an attitude of gratitude.”

—Actor Denzel Washington, son of a pastor, speaking to a Church of God in Christ gathering in St. Louis (RNS)

“Essentially, they gave me the freedom to follow my convictions, which is a very Baptist thing to do. I did not expect or ask everybody else to agree with me.”

—Pastor Greg Dover on Augusta Road Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C., deacons allowing him to perform a same-sex wedding for friends away from church, an action that resulted in the congregation’s expulsion from a Southern Baptist association and state convention (Greenville News)

“While the Vestry does not believe that St. Paul’s should attempt to remove all symbols reflecting St. Paul’s past during the Civil War, the Vestry is united in agreement that it is not appropriate to display the Confederate battle flag in the church.”

—Richmond’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, known as the “Cathedral of the Confederacy,” announcing plans to remove plaques and other décor with the controversial image (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

“The conference is divided between those who eagerly support Pope Francis and find his approach compelling and hopeful, those who consider this papacy a patch of bad weather that can’t pass soon enough, and those in the middle who are unsure which narrative is right.”

—Michael Sean Winters, writing in The Tablet of London about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (RNS)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

—Martin Luther King Jr., in his 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

“It’s getting harder and harder to love all people and still fit into what has become American Christianity…”

—Blogger John Pavlovitz (johnpavlovitz.com)