Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a piece about how Christians should think about gerrymandering that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an essay considering rhetoric about “Christian values” in state government.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Pandemic Puppies & Houseplant Havens. Sarah Blackwell examines why in the midst of pandemic uncertainty and disruption so many people choose to take on more responsibility through pet ownership.
The Return of the Calamity Howlers. Rodney Kennedy compares our politics today to that of the populists of the late 19th century.
New Report Details the Influence of Christian Nationalism on the Insurrection. Jack Jenkins writes about a new report from the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Christian Revival at School Prompts Student Walkout in West Virginia. Students complain after being required to attend an evangelistic service during school.
Egypt Names First-Ever Christian Head of Country’s Top Court. The selection of a new chief judge is being heralded by some as “a giant move” for the Egyptian Christian community that makes up about 10% of that nation’s population.
Other News of Note
An Associated Press article about the controversy surrounding “Christian values” comments by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson included comments by Parson in a 2017 Word&Way interview. Additional coverage on the Parson controversy this week quoted Brian Kaylor, including pieces from the Columbia Missourian and the Wall of Separation.
Margaret Talbot wrote a long profile in the New Yorker of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, focusing on her history in the “Christian legal movement that is intent on remaking America.”
Kate Shellnutt reported for Christianity Today about Bible Gateway removing a controversial biblical “translation” that critics said was an inaccurate paraphrase. The Passion Translation has been popular among some Pentecostal Christians.
David Bumgardner wrote for Baptist News Global about “This Mohlerian moment” (and mentioned Brian Kaylor).
In an article for Christianity Today, Nick Tabor asks an important question: “African American church graveyards are disappearing. Can they be saved before it’s too late?” In the piece, he tells the story of a Black Baptist church in Virginia that discovered a lost cemetery.
A proposed bill in Oklahoma would fine teachers $10,000 if they teach anything a student thinks contradicts religion.
A Bible class in a public school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, sparked national headlines after a Jewish student told her mother: “I don’t feel safe in Bible class anymore.”
This week: Mark Chancey on the Bible in Public Schools
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
In recent weeks, multiple Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been targeted with bomb threats. Spelman College (originally founded as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary) in Georgia has received three this year, including one on Tuesday (Feb. 8). Last week on the first day of Black History Month, 14 received threats. Several of those targeted are religious, including Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock; Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi (affiliated with both the Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ); and Xavier University of Louisiana (a Catholic school).
Although fortunately there were not real bombs during those threats or others in January, the calls were still designed to terrorize Black communities. And while HBCUs have lived through worse periods and overcome greater racist obstacles, we must not look away as people attempt to disrupt the education and mental health of Black students, professors, and others.
So, on Wednesday I attended a prayer vigil on the campus of an HBCU, Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. More than a dozen ministers from various Black and White congregations came together to pray for that school and HBCUs across the country in light of the bomb threats.
“We thought the civil rights movement solved a lot problems,” said W.T. Edmonson, assistant pastor at Second Baptist Church, during the vigil. “But [the hate] just went underground.”
“Lift up the HBCUs throughout this country. These institutions were born out of darkness, but they shine a light in the lives of many,” he added. “Pray for these institutions. Pray for the leaders of these institutions.”
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