Discover more from A Public Witness
Word&Way News: Jan. 20
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. This week at A Public Witness, we published three pieces: a look at two church services featuring politicians, an announcement about Unsettling Lent, and a report about clergy suing to block a state abortion ban on church-state grounds.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Review: The Arc of Truth. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed The Arc of Truth: The Thinking of Martin Luther King Jr. by Lewis V. Baldwin with a foreword from Beverly J. Lanzetta.
Cruelty Virtues or Empathy Virtues? Rodney Kennedy argued that the bully pulpit of yesteryear has effectively been replaced by bully politics.
Trump Chides Onetime Evangelical Supporters Who Haven’t Endorsed Him. Jack Jenkins reported on how former President Donald Trump is upset about Christian pastors who previously supported him but haven’t backed his new presidential campaign.
Hamline University Retracts ‘Islamophobia’ Charge as Instructor Sues. Yonat Shimron reported on the ongoing controversy at a Minnesota school now being sued by a former adjunct professor.
Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians Unite in Support for Apache Fight to Save Oak Flat. Alejandra Molina reported on a coalition of religious and Native American organizations advocating on behalf of land that a multinational corporation is seeking to turn into an underground copper mine.
This week: Stephen Bullivant on Nonverts
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
On Sunday (Jan 15), New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, showed up at Trinity Lutheran Church in Brooklyn to speak about Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on what would have been his 94th birthday. But unlike the remarks that day by President Joe Biden at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, not everyone gathered in Brooklyn found her comments honoring of King.
Hochul used her comments during the worship service to campaign for her controversial pick for the state’s highest court. Many in her own party have criticized her selection of Judge Hector LaSalle, attacking his rulings on unions, abortion, and racism. Yet, Hochul refused to withdraw her nomination. Instead, she went to church and invoked King to say critics shouldn’t judge LaSalle.
“Dr. King called upon us to be just and be fair and not judge people,” Hochul said apparently without actually ever reading King.
When Hochul started talking about why people should support LaSalle, a Black parishioner spoke out: “I pray that you’ll listen to tenants, and I pray that you withdraw LaSalle and stand with working-class New Yorkers.” She was then removed by police from her own church so Hochul could continue.
Removing a Black woman from her church seems like an odd way to “honor” King. It was one of the most grotesque abuses of the pulpit by a politician. And Hochul’s “sermon” didn’t even work. A state Senate committee voted down LaSalle’s nomination just three days later. Despite what Hochul believes, I’m pretty sure King would’ve had some harsh words of judgment for a politician like her.
Other News of Note
The latest stop of the ReAwaken America Tour is occurring this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. Liam Adams of the Nashville Tennessean previewed the event. And local clergy are also speaking out about “the dangers posed by Christian Nationalism and the anti-democracy” of the tour.
A U.S. representative from Tennessee said he knows there’s a “huge coverup” by the federal government about UFOs because there is proof in the Bible.
Scot McKnight wrote at his Substack newsletter about some of the difficulties involved in the important process of biblical translation.
BBC News reported on plans by the nation of Jordan to launch a $100 million tourism project near the baptism site of Jesus.
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.