Word&Way News: April 7
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Lenten Reflections: Why We Must Stand in Solidarity With Gaza. Dr. Gregory Shay, a pediatric pulmonologist, argued it is inherently Christian to show solidarity with vulnerable populations — especially children.
How Does God Heal? David Rice considered faith healing through the lens of denominational differences and his personal struggles living with a disability.
Review: Resisting Apartheid America. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Resisting Apartheid America by Miguel A. De La Torre
Southern Baptist Task Force May Split With Guidepost Over LGBTQ Views. Bob Smietana reported on criticism of an effort to track pastors accused of abuse.
Hamline University President to Retire Following Islamic Art Controversy. Yonat Shimron reported on the latest in a controversy at a Methodist school in Minnesota over academic freedom and religious beliefs.
Other noteworthy programs this week:
Rhetoric professor Matthew Boedy appeared on Straight White American Jesus to talk about political activist Charlie Kirk.
Bart Ehrman talked on NPR’s Fresh Air about dangerous interpretations of the Book of Revelation.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
Ten days after a shooter blasted more than 150 rounds into a Christian school in Nashville and killed three 9-year-old children and 3 staffers, the Tennessee House of Representatives took action. On Thursday (April 6), House Republicans voted to expel two Black Democratic lawmakers for participating in a peaceful protest for gun reform legislation.
Yes, legislators kicked out two people elected by the people just because they briefly broke a rule of decorum.
Making the racism of the act more apparent, the vote to expel a third member who participated alongside Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson failed. The White woman was allowed to remain a member, but two Black members of the legislature were forced out. And the House GOP, which has a supermajority and so could muscle this through, hasn’t punished Republicans who broke rules of decorum.
As the debate over removing the members occurred, the shouts of peaceful protesters outside the chamber rang through the room and the microphones as the lawmakers spoke. It served as a reminder that people are upset by the undemocratic power move and the refusal to enact life-saving gun reforms. Additionally, several clergy members held a sit-in this week outside the House Speaker’s office to protest the planned expulsions and to push for gun reform legislation.
But the ruling party seemed more outraged by lawmakers speaking out of turn than yet another slaughter of children. It might seem odd that they would expel elected representatives merely for a minor violation of decorum. But when you challenge people’s religion, they sometimes overreact. And Reps. Jones and Pearson dared to challenge the cult of the gun.
Other News of Note
A liberal United Methodist Church in Florida was hit with an IRS complaint for repeatedly engaging in partisan campaigns despite IRS rules barring such actions by 501(c)(3) nonprofits. The IRS, however, virtually ignores such violations by houses of worship.
After a Texas state lawmaker, a Muslim, placed a copy of the Quran in the state Capitol’s chapel for use during Ramadan, someone stole it.
“There’s something wrong with the soul of this place anytime we demand the blood of innocent people, and I would say of any people.” —Cece Jones-Davis during a webinar on connections between slavery, lynchings, and the modern death penalty.
Mark Wingfield of Baptist News Global reported on the creation of the Jesse Jackson Center for Racial Justice at Simmons College of Kentucky (made possible by a gift from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation).
The ruling political party in Poland is defending the legacy of Pope John Paul II ahead of national elections this year.
Dan Cox wrote at his Substack newsletter American Storylines on what polling shows about White evangelical support of Donald Trump heading into the 2024 election.
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!
A Public Witness is a reader-supported publication of Word&Way. To receive new posts and support our journalism ministry, subscribe today.