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Fans Rally Around Progressive Christian Author Placed In Medically Induced Coma



Friends and fans of the popular progressive Christian author Rachel Held Evans are rallying around her family after receiving news that Evans has been placed in a medically induced coma. 

Last Sunday, the 37-year-old asked her substantial Twitter following for prayers, saying that she was in the hospital with the flu and a urinary tract infection. She said she was having a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics doctors had given her.

On Friday, her husband Dan Evans posted a statement to the writer’s website revealing that she was “exhibiting unexpected symptoms.” Doctors found that her brain was experiencing “constant seizures.” As they determine how to best treat her, they placed her in a medically induced coma. The writer was still in the ICU and in a coma on Tuesday, according to her husband.

Evans is a Christian writer from Dayton, Tennessee, who has authored several popular books about her journey away from conservative evangelical Christianity and towards a more progressive theology that is committed to feminism, inclusive of LGBTQ Christians, and accepting of doubt. Evans now attends an Episcopal church.

Before her health took a turn for the worse, Evans was eagerly tweeting about her plans to co-host a progressive Christian conference in October. The Denver conference is a gathering for people who have walked away from conservative religious traditions and may not feel like they currently have a spiritual home. 

As news of her illness spread, friends and fans shared reflections about the impact Evans has had on their lives. Some women wrote about how Evans inspired them to attend seminary. Others talked about how Evans’ honest writing about wrestling with doubt helped guide them through their own periods of deconstructing their childhood faiths. Fans also talked about how Evans’ progressive convictions helped them realize conservative evangelicals don’t have a monopoly on Christianity.

Becky Castle Miller
I’m seeing a stream of tweets from women saying, “I wouldn’t be preaching if not for @rachelheldevans. I wouldn’t be in seminary if not for her.” (I’m one of them) God, thank you for Rachel’s work in raising up your daughters to serve your church. Heal her now. #prayforRHE

10:45 PM – Apr 19, 2019
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Ms. Charlotte
I’m holding space for .@rachelheldevans and praying she has a full recovery. She was the first person to tell me it’s okay to leave the evangelical church and find healthier faith spaces. #PrayForRHE

12:49 AM – Apr 20, 2019
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Brittney Cooper
I have been deeply blessed by the ministry and writing of @rachelheldevans, particularly when I was in my 20s and early 30s struggling for a better spiritual path. I pray the Lord Our Healer fully restore Rachel, and I believe God can and will hear our prayers. Amen. #PrayforRHE

5:01 AM – Apr 20, 2019
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Hannah Evans
Rachel changed me through her writing, created a door where there was none, gave me language & imagination for a faith that wasn’t marked by my fear. & when she wrote Searching for Sunday, she led me back to church again. Thinking of her and holding her close today. #PrayForRHE

11:56 PM – Apr 19, 2019
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Brandi Miller
Been trying to process and pray for Rachel Held Evans today. 

Her book, “Year of Biblical Womanhood” was the first even remotely progress book that I ever read. It helped me have a larger view of and love for scripture. Praying for her healing. #prayforRHE

9:39 AM – Apr 20, 2019
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Evans’ friends have started a GoFundMe page dedicated to helping her family pay for medical costs related to her treatment. The campaign has raised close to $70,000 in one day. They also started a prayer chain on Twitter, tweeting out prayers for the writer under the hashtag #PrayForRHE. The hashtag was trending nationally on Twitter on Friday, Religion News Service reported.

Matthew Vines

I love Rachel Held Evans so much. God, please bring her protection and healing. Please bring comfort and peace to her husband and their two precious little ones who need their mother. Please bring wisdom to her doctors and help her recover. This world needs her. #PrayforRHE

11:21 PM – Apr 19, 2019
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Kate Bowler

Gracious God, 
You give us the absurd dignity of prayer, to cry to the void and beg you to act. Please heal and be near to our friend @rachelheldevans that you comfort her dearest humans, and give wisdom to her medical team. And peace, peace, peace to all who love her #PrayforRHE

10:18 PM – Apr 19, 2019
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Reverend Jes Kast
It’s Easter Monday, God. Didn’t you get the message? My friend Rach is supposed to tweet us now and say she is better. We won’t stop praying and we know you are able, please – Jesus – hold her and strengthen her in body and soul. @rachelheldevans #PrayForRHE

7:51 PM – Apr 22, 2019
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Some pointed out that even those who were more skeptical or uncertain about the concept of prayer seemed moved by the call to pray for Evans.

Science Mike

I can think of few people who are such examples of what I imagine a healthy Christian would look like as @rachelheldevans. So, I’ve been on my knees in intercessory prayer that I’m not sure I believe in this morning. #PrayForRHE

10:09 PM – Apr 19, 2019
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Jamie Lee Finch
I don’t exactly know what praying is or isn’t anymore, but I know that @rachelheldevans is a gift. And I can feel that every cell in my body wants her well, so I’m actively agreeing with them. However you pray or however you don’t, let’s all #PrayForRHE.

12:26 AM – Apr 20, 2019 · Los Angeles, CA
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Lindsay Smith
This is the beauty and power of Rachel’s ministry; that a bunch of church misfits are gathering to pray for her because we love her so, even if we don’t consider ourselves pray-ers anymore. She abounds in grace and love and wisdom. Lord bring healing. Lord be near. #PrayForRHE

10:43 PM – Apr 19, 2019
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Ashley Baker
Perhaps the best example of @rachelheldevans impact on the world is the fact that a bunch of people who at one point held faith and Christian community at arms length are now here together praying for her. #prayforRHE

10:32 PM – Apr 19, 2019
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The calls to pray were echoed in conservative Christian circles ― including by some who have publicly disagreed with Evans’ theological convictions. 

Russell Moore

. @rachelheldevans and I are, as you know, theological opposites, and we’ve debated each other on all kinds of stuff over the years. 

She needs our prayers right now. 

Conservatives, progressives, centrists, everybody: let’s pray for RHE. …

8:13 PM – Apr 20, 2019
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Rachel’s Health Updates
Hi I’m Dan (Rachel’s husband) and this is where you can find accurate public updates about Rachel’s health. I will update this post as needed. Thank you to all of those that have showed support and…
342 people are talking about this

Rod Dreher

I’ve scrapped intensely with the progressive Christian writer Rachel Held Evans, but I’m grieved to hear that she is in the hospital in grave condition this Easter weekend. Please pray for her, and her family!

12:25 AM – Apr 20, 2019
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Beth Moore

Let’s get this straight. We don’t have to change our stand to kneel & pray. Good Lord. Just pray, for crying out loud. RHE needs PRAYER! If we’re only going to pray for people we line up with doctrinally, we’re going to have the shortest quiet times in the history of the church.

5:02 PM – Apr 23, 2019
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Evans’ husband responded to the outpouring on Tuesday. “Thank you again to everyone who has donated their time and resources and offered their thoughts and prayers,” Dan Evans wrote. “Rachel would have a really beautiful way to say all of this.”

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Asian Voices

NFL Champion Sends Message To Fellow Asian American Football Star Taylor Rapp



Asian American NFL prospect Taylor Rapp received a message from two-time Super Bowl champion Hines Ward, who’s also of Asian descent. 

Ward, who dealt with his share of racism during his time in the NFL, had some uplifting words for Rapp, who’s awaiting Thursday’s draft, captured in a promo video. 

“I know you’ve heard it before: ’Asians can’t play football,’” Ward says in the video. “I still remember the first time I heard it. But I learned something too. those words can be a gift. You can feed off that energy. Turn that hate into wins.”

He concludes: “So Asians can’t play football, huh? I’d say we’re pretty darn good.”
Asians make up less than 2 percent of the players in the NFL. While Ward was an extremely successful player in the league, becoming Super Bowl MVP back in 2003, he found himself the target of bigotry throughout his career. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Ward spoke out against the deluge of racist remarks and jokes made toward Japan and reflected on his own experiences as an Asian.

“I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. I still remember being called the Jackie Chan of football,” he told ESPN.

Regardless, Ward has emerged a champion for Asian Americans. In 2010, the former NFL player was sworn into the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a group appointed by the president to help improve and increase access to opportunities for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. 

Rapp himself has been transparent about the struggles he’s faced as an Asian American football player with NFL ambitions. He revealed to that growing up as one of the rare Asian faces on the field, he was often taunted. He subsequently wrestled with his own identity. 

“They make fun of how you look ― your eyes, the widened, slanted eyes. There were a few instances where I was called the Ch-word. It was offensive to me. It made me embarrassed of who I was,” he said. “That’s why I never embraced it growing up. I was different than everyone else, and I didn’t want to be.” 

Since then, Rapp has grown to be proud of his heritage, displaying several conspicuous Chinese tattoos. And with guidance from fellow players who could relate to Rapp’s struggle, as well as the encouragement of Asians on social media who look up to the player, Rapp is now looking to be a role model for others. 

“To me, it’s about gaining a platform that will help inspire a generation of Chinese and Asian American kids,” he told “I don’t want to be just an answer to a trivia question; I want to inspire and have a real impact.”

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Leader Of Anti-Immigrant Militia Group Attacked In Jail, Lawyer Says



SUNLAND PARK, N.M., April 24 (Reuters) ― The leader of an armed group that spent the past two months detaining migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, drawing condemnation from civil liberties advocates, has been hospitalized after he was attacked in jail, his attorney said.

Larry Hopkins, 69, was in a hospital with broken ribs after being attacked on Tuesday at the Dona Ana County Detention Center in Las Cruces in southern New Mexico, attorney Kelly O’Connell said.

A spokeswoman for the Dona Ana County center did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The attack occurred the same day Hopkins’ United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) group abandoned its border camp near Sunland Park, New Mexico, where they had spent two months detaining thousands of illegal migrants.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last week accused Hopkins’ group of being a fascist, white nationalist militia illegally detaining and kidnapping Central American families seeking asylum.

O’Connell said he had spoken with Hopkins by phone.

“This guy is very high-profile. So, if he gets put into jail and is immediately attacked after his first hearing just a few days after being put in there, can Dona Ana County correctional protect high-profile defendants?” O’Connell asked.

O’Connell said he did not know why Hopkins had been targeted. But a spokesman for his UCP paramilitary group said he believed it was because of his activity at the border.

“They put him in a pod cell with a group of people and they had just got done watching the article about the ACLU writing about him being racist, and as a result of that he was attacked,” UCP spokesman Jim Benvie said in a video posted online.

New Mexico’s Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday said the UCP’s activities had to stop, and the FBI arrested Hopkins the next day on gun charges based on a 2017 search of his home.

Benvie said the UCP was moving to another campsite in a couple of days and would continue to support the U.S. Border Patrol as it faced an “invasion” of migrants, most of whom it said are fraudulently seeking asylum.

“We do have a private property location on the border that we have secured,” said Benvie. “We will not be going anywhere, we will be on an area where we can continue to do what we’ve done.”

The Border Patrol has said it does not support private citizens acting as law enforcement.

(Additional reporting by Peter Szekely in New York and Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)

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Labour reveals plan to put £1.3bn a year back into local bus services



Labour would spend £1.3bn a year to reverse recent cuts to local bus services as a means of boosting communities and helping the environment, the party has announced.

The scheme, which Labour said would improve services on 3,000 bus routes around the country, would be funded using revenue raised from vehicle excise duty (VED).

Jeremy Corbyn has raised the issue of poor local bus services at prime minister’s questions, arguing that cuts since 2010 have left many older and vulnerable people isolated, especially in poorer areas, and that such policies lead to greater car use.

The party has already pledged to regulate bus services by putting local services into public ownership and offering free bus travel to under-25s.

The policy was due to be formally announced by the Labour leader and the shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, on Thursday in Nottingham, where the Labour council runs the bus fleet.

Under a plan drawn up under the David Cameron government, from the 2020-21 financial year VED revenue will be hypothecated, meaning it is pre-allocated for certain spending rather than, as is true for most tax, added to the general pot.

The Conservative plan was to spend the hypothecated money on road building, but Labour says it would instead set up a sustainable transport fund, part of which would fund bus services.

The £1.3bn sum a year would reverse what Labour says has been a £645m annual real-terms cut to bus funding since 2010, and invest the same amount on top. Citing government figures, Labour said bus coverage in Britain was at a 30-year low, while outside London the number of passenger journeys had fallen by 10% since 2010.

Corbyn said: “Bus services have been devastated by nine years of austerity. Thousands of routes have been axed, fares have soared and passenger numbers are in freefall. Local services are a lifeline for many, particularly the elderly and those in rural areas. Cuts have had disastrous consequences for our towns and city centres and for air pollution and the environment.

“Bus networks are essential for towns and cities and for tackling rural poverty and isolation, which is why Labour is committed to creating thriving bus networks under public ownership.”


The Conservative MP Marcus Jones, the party’s vice-chair for local government, said Labour’s plans for the VED money would mean “they would have to clobber motorists with tax hikes and slash funding for road repairs to pay for it”.

He said: “Along with their plans to put politicians in Westminster in charge of running local bus services, their pledge to slash funding for roads and their calls to increase fuel duty, this just proves they are not on the side of hardworking families who rely on their vehicles.”

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