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FāVS Religion News Roundup: Dec. 14


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FāVS Religion News Roundup: Dec. 14

This week you’ll learn about Washington’s ban on conversion therapy at the U.S. Supreme Court, Black Hebrew Israelites in Montana getting run over, Chabad of Spokane lighting the large menorah downtown Spokane for Chanukah and more.

News Story by Tracy Simmons | FāVS News

You’ve probably noticed that the new FāVS website is finally up! Readers have emailed letting us know how much better it looks. There are still a few kinks we’re fixing though, namely the calendar and mobile layout. Keep checking back as we make more improvements in the coming weeks!

Washington’s Ban on Conversion Therapy Goes to Supreme Court

Washington State was in national news this week as the U.S. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a Christian counselor who claimed the state’s ban on conversion therapy for minors infringes on his free speech and religious rights.

Former advocates of conversion therapy — a controversial practice promoted by some religious groups to change a person’s sexual orientation — have since rejected and apologized for it. However, groups like Alliance Defending Freedom aim to defend the rights of counselors to provide such therapy, at least to adults, based on free speech and religious freedom arguments.

An article in Baptist News Global describes differing positions within Focus on the Family regarding conversion therapy and whether the term refers to an actual clinical practice. The court decision upholding bans on counseling minors is a setback for religious freedom legal groups, but the issue remains active and open to future legal challenges.

Woman Pleads Not Guilty for Injuring Black Hebrew Israelites in Montana

Over in Montana Genevienne Rancuret, a 55-year-old woman accused of driving her vehicle repeatedly through a group of Black Hebrew Israelite demonstrators and injuring one, pleaded not guilty.

Rancuret allegedly told a store employee beforehand that the group was being racist and she might run them over. She later told police they had used a slur against her and she felt threatened.

Rancuret has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges including assault with a weapon and DUI, but was denied release on her own recognizance due to the violent nature of the incident.

She has a prior guilty plea for a 2021 felony assault involving threatening someone with a knife. Her next court hearing is in February, with a trial scheduled for April.

Chabad of Spokane Lights Large Menorah

In local news, this week a Chanukah celebration was held by Chabad of Spokane in Riverfront Park, where over 100 people gathered to light a large menorah, listen to a speech about the meaning of the holiday and participate in a chocolate “gelt drop” for children.

The holiday commemorates the miracle of oil lasting for eight nights in the reclaimed Second Temple and the enduring spirit of the Maccabee warriors who reclaimed the temple inspires perseverance in difficult times.

An article in the Spokesman-Review explained that this year’s Chanukah comes shortly after a devastating attack in Israel on the holiday Shemini Atzeret, making the celebrations particularly meaningful for showing Jewish identity and spreading light after a recent tragedy.

Gonzaga’s Green Colleges Score

Also in the news this week Gonzaga announced it has risen to No. 8 on the Green Colleges list produced by the Princeton Review.

This is a major jump from No. 32 last year, highlighting the university’s visible progress through the Office of Sustainability, waste reduction programs and transportation initiatives, as well as strong student interest in attending colleges with environmental accountability.

The Office of Sustainability will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2024 and looks to engage the entire community around an updated Climate Action Plan to set the course for the next three to five years of sustainability investments and activities on campus.

Silent Day of Prayer

Immaculate Heart Retreat Center is already planning events for the new year. On Jan. 25 the organization will be hosting a  Silent Day of Prayer from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will focus on patience, “in our own hearts, between us and others.”

The day will include Mass, lunch, two conferences, Reconciliation and Adoration. The cost of the retreat is $46 per person and guests are asked to register in advance by calling (509) 448-1224, or visiting www.IHRC.net.

Before you go

Each year FāVS produces a roundup of area Christmas services. Send your church’s holiday worship info to us at [email protected]!

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of FāVS.News, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.

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