Word&Way News: Aug. 26
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a report on musician Sean Feucht’s rally planned for Sept. 11 that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an analysis of efforts by churches and Christian political groups to take over local school boards.
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Top 5 at wordandway.org
Review: What Do We Do When Nobody Is Listening? Robert D. Cornwall reviewed What Do We Do When Nobody Is Listening?: Leading the Church in a Polarized Society by Robin W. Lovin.
Bishop Slams ‘Negative Rhetoric’ as Conservative Methodists Declare End to Moratorium. Emily McFarlan Miller reported on the latest in the slow-moving split among United Methodists.
Meet Imran Siddiqui, the First Asian American Vice President of the ELCA. Siddiqui’s election earlier this month to an office in the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination was historic.
Patriarch Kirill Cancels Kazakhstan Trip and Chance to Meet with Pope Francis. Jack Jenkins reported on how the Russian Orthodox leader will skip a meeting with other religious leaders amid criticism of his support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Oz’s Senate Bid Could be a Muslim First But is ‘Complicated.’ Marc Levy reported on unique religious and political issues facing a U.S. Senate hopeful in Pennsylvania. (For more on what Oz faces, check out a report for A Public Witness last December.)
This week: Jemar Tisby on How to Fight Racism
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
On Monday (Aug. 22), football star Herschel Walker met with a group of conservative Black pastors who prayed over him as he runs against U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia. Walker often shows up in megachurches during Sunday worship or at other faith-based events as he challenges the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
As with his church visits, Monday’s event was spearheaded by Ralph Reed, who has long organized Christians for Republicans. Reports of the event even have Reed co-speaking, jumping in to clarify things Walker said. Which might not be a bad strategy considering the controversies that erupt when Walker goes off script.
Even with this controlled environment, Walker managed to fumble an attack on Warnock: “He’s not held accountable to be a senator. They let him say and do whatever he wants to say and nobody ever calls him on it. Nobody wants to call him on anything he says and I’m like, ‘Some of that stuff is not biblical.’”
Putting aside the fact that Warnock is held accountable by having to face the voters again, it’s wrong to argue he’s unfit for office if he says things that are “not biblical.” Walker might know how to get a pigskin into the end zone, but he seems woefully ignorant of the Constitution that explicitly prohibits religious tests for office.
Considering Warnock is a fallible sinner, I’m sure he’s said some not biblical stuff — as has every other senator. But that’s not the standard for electing someone to an office where they’ll take an oath to uphold not the Bible but the Constitution. We should tackle such Christian Nationalism whenever it tries to run the ball.
Other News of Note
Anthea Butler wrote for MSNBC about how “Steve Bannon wants to summon an army of Christian Nationalists.”
Zak Koeske of The State reported on questions about the constitutionality of a $1.5 earmark to a private Christian school in South Carolina’s state budget.
We’ve reported on the problem of various political candidates campaigning in churches in our “partisan pulpit” series this year. Here are two candidates who showed up in churches this week: Tim Ryan, the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee in Ohio, spoke during Sunday worship at Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church inToledo; and Charlie Crist, who on Tuesday won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Florida, spoke during Sunday worship in Miami at both 93rd Street Community Baptist Church (pictured) and New Birth Baptist Church.
Jeff Brumley of Baptist News Global reported on efforts of faith leaders to oppose the death penalty as Oklahoma begins its plan to execute 25 inmates over the next two years.
A Black pastor in Alabama was arrested while watering his neighbors’ flowers at their request while they were traveling.
Hannah McClellan reported for Christianity Today about how some Christian colleges are working harder to attract male students amid overall enrollment declines.
Philip Kennicott wrote for the Washington Post about a monument in Philadelphia that challenges our culture of hero worship.
Eamon Whalen wrote at Mother Jones about how a Stokely Carmichael speech at a Black Baptist church helped inspire the creation of C-SPAN.
Kristen Du Mez wrote on her Substack newsletter a response to critics who ask why she can’t just be nicer.
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