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Word&Way News: July 7
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. This week at A Public Witness, paid subscribers received a look at how to memorialize history (and how not to).
Top 5 at wordandway.org
A New Home in the American Baptist Church. Joy Martinez-Marshall reflected on both the heartbreaks and triumphs she encountered on the winding road to finding a new denominational family.
CBF World Makes Its Path Clear. David Gushee reflected on the recent general assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
UCC Elects First Woman — and First Woman of African Descent — to Lead Denomination. Emily McFarlan Miller reported on a significant move in a church that’s long had a reputation for being progressive on women’s rights and other issues.
Review: Worship and Power. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Worship and Power: Liturgical Authority in Free Church Traditions edited by Sarah Kathleen Johnson and Andrew Wymer.
‘The Devil is Going to be in the Details’ of Public School Bible Courses in Missouri. Maria Benevento reported on how the Bible is already taught in some public schools and the areas of confusion that could arise from a new bill encouraging such classes.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
If you break it, you bought it. That message in some stores is also a moral lesson parents try to teach their children. If you damage something, you need to fix it. If you harm someone, you try to make it right. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson apparently missed that lesson in kindergarten and Sunday School.
On Thursday (July 6), Parson vetoed a bill that would provide compensation to people wrongly convicted and imprisoned in the Show-Me State. He complained the bill made state taxpayers pay even though people are usually prosecuted by local jurisdictions. Of course, that ignores the fact that such individuals are prosecuted on state charges, go through state appeals, are kept in state prisons, and see their convictions defended by the state attorney general.
This bill received bipartisan support after two Black men were released after spending decades behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit. Kevin Strickland was released in November 2021 after 42 years in prison and Lamar Johnson was released in February after 28 years in prison. Both were declared innocent and released, but received no compensation for their false incarcerations.
State lawmakers had to pass a law just to create the process for these men to be released since Parson refused to pardon them despite evidence of their innocence. Then as local prosecutors worked to free them under the new law, the state attorney general actually fought to keep the two men in a state prison. Parson refused to pardon Strickland or Johnson, but now when lawmakers tried to create a process to compensate people wrongly convicted, Parson picked up his veto pen. So the moral debt remains, as does the state of injustice.
Other News of Note
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders rejected a request to remove cross artwork from the entrance of the Governor’s Mansion as unwelcoming to constituents with different religious beliefs.
Darren Bailey, a Republican who lost his bid for Illinois governor last year while running a campaign full of Christian Nationalism, announced this week he will challenge a Republican incumbent for a U.S. House of Representatives seat.
“It is clearly wrong that one Church and one institution in our country has guaranteed and automatic representation at the heart of our governing arrangements.” —Tommy Sheppard, a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, as he argued Thursday (July 6) that Anglican bishops should not be given automatic seats in the House of Lords. He added that the system “gives democracy a bad name.”
One-fifth of United Methodist churches in the U.S. have left the denomination amid a schism over LGBTQ+ issues.
A judge ordered the Proud Boys to pay $1 million to an AME church in Washington, D.C., after the group destroyed a “Black Lives Matter” banner during 2020 protest.
To help conserve water, an Episcopal church in Laguna Beach, California, replaced its lawn with a garden of drought-resistant native plants.
Kevin Kruse wrote at his Substack newsletter Campaign Trails about the historical inaccuracies of U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s Christian Nationalism.
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