Word&Way News: July 1
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. This week at A Public Witness we published a report on the Christian Nationalism of the Republican nominee for Illinois governor and how Democrats boosted his campaign.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Preacher at CBF Assembly Blasts ‘Slave Bible Hermeneutic’ that Opposes Social Justice. Brian Kaylor reported from the general assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Building Networks and the Future of the Church. Greg Mamula wrote about seeing the Apostle Paul as a model for the future of the church by building more and better networks in order to be agile and respond to specific needs.
When A Good Nation Loses God. Darron LaMonte Edwards offered a reflection for this Independence Day weekend in light of lessons from the biblical King Asa.
Review: Psalms – The Prayer Book of the Bible. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer with a new introduction from Walter Brueggemann.
Supreme Court Sides with Coach Who Sought to Pray After Game. A significant ruling this week changes church-state jurisprudence in public schools (for more on the case, also read the earlier report from A Public Witness).
Other good podcasts this week:
Brian Kaylor and Beau Underwood were the guests on the Crackers & Grape Juice podcast to talk about Christian Nationalism, July 4, and more.
Other News of Note
The Associated Press wrote about a deposition U.S. Senator James Lankford gave in 2010 about his time as director of youth programming at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center in Oklahoma. Amid a lawsuit stemming from sexual assault allegations, Lankford said at the time that 13-year-olds could consent to sex.
Daniel Silliman of Christianity Today reported on the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear a case from Coral Ridge Ministries Media (founded by the late D. James Kennedy) that wanted to make it easier to sue others for defamation.
A church in Liverpool, England, unveiled a sculpture to reflect on its history in supporting the slave trade.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
“Christian Nationalism is the single biggest threat to religious freedom as we know it today.”
Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, made that declaration Thursday (June 30) during a session at the general assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. And she’s right.
After all, consider what had happened in just the week before. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case that Maine had to use money intended for public education to fund religious schools (a decision we critiqued at A Public Witness last week). Then in a public school prayer case out of the state of Washington, the justices on Monday ruled against the religious freedom rights of students (a possibility we warned about previously when covering the arguments in that case). Then on Tuesday, the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection held another hearing. While they haven’t highlighted the role Christian Nationalism played in that deadly attack on our democracy, it’s beyond dispute.
Christian Nationalism significantly threatened our religious freedom rights repeatedly in just one week literally from coast to coast. That’s why Tyler rightly added it’s a “poisonous ideology” that “threatens our faith and our democracy.”
We must not confuse Christian Nationalism with Christianity or religious freedom. Thus, the recent Court rulings chipping away at our historic church-state relationship weren’t pro-religion or pro-religious liberty. Only those espousing Christian Nationalism won. And that’s why we all lost. It’s bad for democracy, and it’s bad for our faith. That’s why we add our voices to those like Tyler and many others. Let us not grow weary.
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!