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Word&Way News: Aug. 18
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SBC Leader Willie McLaurin Resigns After Admitting He Falsified Resume. Bob Smietana reported on the resignation of the head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee — the third resignation since 2018.
Review: Multiracial Cosmotheandrism. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Multiracial Cosmotheandrism: A Practical Theology of Multiracial Experiences by Aizaiah G. Yong.
Pastor Indicted Alongside Trump in Georgia Election Meddling Case. Jack Jenkins reported on a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastor charged for efforts to influence a 2020 election worker.
Israel May Uproot Ancient Christian Mosaic Near Armageddon. Where It Could Go Next Sparks Outcry. Ilan Ben Zion reported on the latest controversy involving the Museum of the Bible.
Russian Orthodox Priests Face Persecution from State & Church for Supporting Peace in Ukraine. Kostya Manenkov reported about the crackdown on religious dissent in Russia.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
A Super PAC supporting the presidential campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is urging DeSantis to attack the religious and ethnic background of another candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy. A Hindu whose parents immigrated from India, Ramaswamy has been surging in the polls recently to third place behind Donald Trump and DeSantis.
This isn’t the only attack on his faith lately. Anytime someone says something nice about Ramaswamy, supporters of other candidates will leave comments or social media posts noting his Hindu faith. The implication is that this makes him unfit for office, even though the only religious reference in the original U.S. Constitution is a prohibition against religious tests for office.
Ramaswamy has inadvertently added to the questioning of his religiosity. He often talks about being “a person of faith” and claims to hold “Judeo-Christian values.” On the one hand, this is clearly an attempt to relieve concerns about his faith. On the other hand, it subtly affirms that it is okay to question the faith of candidates. Ramaswamy is essentially saying voters should consider the religion of candidates, but they should see him as passing the test.
Ultimately, demands that candidates profess a certain religion undermine democracy and faith. While we should expect politicians to be ethical since character does matter, we shouldn’t vote for a politician just because they talk about God and hold up a Bible. Some people will say whatever they need to just to win. So let’s push for evaluating candidates based on their competency, policies, and character, and leave the religious tests in the dustbin of history.
Other News of Note
Ron DeSantis and supporters paid $95,000 to a conservative Iowa Christian group that is influential in Republican politics as the Florida governor struggles to peel away evangelical voters from Donald Trump.
A United Church of Christ building in St. Louis, Missouri, was vandalized with “White Lives Matter” graffiti.
“As we’ve grown, we’ve realized our distinctive lies in how we educate, not in who we admit.” — Multnomah University, a Christian school in Oregon, explaining why it will no longer require enrolling students to sign a statement of faith.
Alderson Broaddus University, a Baptist school in West Virginia, announced this week it will close immediately — just days before a new academic year was to start.
A new program is launching this fall to help White congregations study and tell their history more fully when it comes to racism and discrimination.
Mitch Smith of the New York Times reported on a Baptist church in Lahaina, Hawaii, that is ministering to its community after a deadly fire destroyed the church’s building and much of the city. And NPR reported on a Pentecostal church there that opened its doors to those displaced by the fire.
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