First anniversary of port explosion brings prayer and protests as severe need for humanitarian aid and political reform remains. Banks, businesses, and government offices were shuttered as Lebanon on Wednesday marked one year since the horrific explosion at the port of Beirut with a national day of mourning. The grim anniversary comes amid an unprecedented economic and financial meltdown, and a political stalemate that has kept the country without a functioning government for a full year. United in grief and anger, families of the victims and other Lebanese were planning prayers and protests later in the day. The explosion killed…

Pew analyzes how pastors across traditions preached on COVID-19, the election, and racism. The stories that shaped Americans’ lives in 2020—the pandemic, the presidential election, and the reckoning over racial violence—also made their way into a majority of sermons last fall, according to Pew Research Center analysis of 12,832 messages posted on church websites. But whether your pastor preached about praying for the president or registering to vote, or the sermon referred to “racial tensions” or “white supremacy,” depended on the kind of church you attended. Overall, Protestants were significantly more likely than Catholics to address current events from the…