Word&Way News: Dec. 10
Here’s the top news of the week from Word&Way. In addition to a piece on our favorite books of 2021 that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an essay exploring efforts to impose religious tests on U.S. political candidates.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Trump Preacher Calls Biden Administration ‘Ungodliest’ in U.S. History. Brian Kaylor reports on a sermon by Robert Jeffress at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.
Angels and Advent. Lauren Graeber reflects on a lullaby about stars and angels as she ponders how to tell the biblical stories about Christmas to her children.
Some Pastors Fear Talking About Vaccines. Other See Them as a Blessing. Bob Smietana reports on how Black pastors have encouraged vaccinations and even held vaccine clinics at their churches.
Court Suggests Religious Schools OK to Get Maine Tuition Aid. The U.S. Supreme Court heard an important case this week that could upend church-state relations by requiring government funding of sectarian education.
New Podcast ‘Hark!’ Explores the Stories Behind the Most Beloved Christmas Carols. Do you hear what I hear? And do you know why? Emily McFarlan Miller reports on a new podcast from Jesuit-owned America Media that explores the backstories of some of the most-beloved Christmas carols.
You can sign up to receive the rest of the daily devotionals each morning in your inbox: Unsettling Advent.
Other News of Note
A Deseret News article by Kelsey Dallas quotes Brian Kaylor on the topic of pandemic health rules and houses of worship.
Baptist News Global talked with Anthony Fauci, who stressed the “enormous impact” faith leaders can have on encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations.
NPR reported on how some people found new religious connections by Zooming into a house of worship during the pandemic.
Archaeologists discovered rare evidence of a Roman crucifixion in the third or fourth century … in England.
This week: Rodney Kennedy on The Immaculate Mistake
Learn more about Kennedy’s new book in a review by Jeremy Fuzy.
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by Beau Underwood, Word&Way Senior Editor
From election day onward, Donald Trump and his allies falsely insisted the election was stolen from him. The only issue with spreading The Big Lie was the lack of evidence supporting such claims. His lawyers, the Attorney General he appointed, and his administration’s election security experts denied any problems.
Needing to bolster the former president’s case and show their fealty to him, Trumpian leaders in several contested states ordered audits of the results. The most prominent of these solutions in search of a problem occurred in Arizona. Nakedly partisan in intent and design, that process seemed guaranteed to advance the conspiracy theories promulgated by Trump and his sycophants.
So, many were stunned when the results were announced in September: Trump still lost Arizona.
That conclusion did not end the conspiracy theories. Brian and I quickly recognized why: This whole experience is akin to a failed prophecy. Scholarship demonstrates that cult members faced with wrong predictions quickly double down because their identity is tied up with their mistaken beliefs.
Fast forward to this week when history repeated itself. After 10 months reviewing Wisconsin’s election results, a conservative group there — the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty — found “no evidence of widespread voter fraud.”
Those pushing The Big Lie aren’t interested in facts. Alarmingly, their falsehoods provide cover for anti-democratic changes to election laws (see here and here). Truth continues to be the victim of this conspiracy, with those who launched this paranoia still seeking to turn their loss into a win. People of the Truth should resist.
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!