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Word&Way News: June 17
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a summer reading list that is free for everyone, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an analysis of how the New York Times opinion section discusses religion.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Will SBC Denounce Jan. 6 — or Affirm False 2020 Election Claims? Brian Kaylor reported on some political debates at play ahead of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting.
Bart Barber Elected President of Southern Baptist Convention in Runoff Election. Adelle M. Banks reported on the results of the SBC’s presidential election.
Review: Churches and the Crisis of Decline. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Churches and the Crisis of Decline: A Hopeful, Practical Ecclesiology for a Secular Age by Andrew Root.
Pope Cracks Down on New Catholic Religious Start-Ups. Nicole Winfield reported on a new effort by Pope Francis to prevent spiritual and sexual misconduct.
Raphael Warnock Says His Senate Colleagues Sometimes Ask, ‘Rev, Pray for Me.’ Adelle M. Banks spoke with the junior U.S. Senator from Georgia as his memoir came out.
Another good podcast this week:
Historian Thomas Lecaque spoke on the Straight White American Jesus podcast about Christian Nationalism and mass shootings.
Other News of Note
Robert Downen of the Houston Chronicle reported on Charlie Kirk speaking to the Conservative Baptist Network breakfast held during the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. As previously reported in A Public Witness, Kirk not only endorsed an SBC presidential candidate, but he’s been encouraging churches to get more partisan.
John Fea offered an extensive Twitter roundup of the annual meeting’s final day.
Daniel Silliman of Christianity Today reported on controversy after claims of racist remarks during the General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church that met on the campus of Eastern University in Pennsylvania.
The Guardian wrote about growing criticism from Christians in the U.S. of the “ReAwaken America” events featuring Michael Flynn and Roger Stone talking about Christianity. Word&Way has similarly documented this kind of criticism, including in A Public Witness.
A shooting at a church potluck in Alabama left two dead. While limited gun violence prevention measures are moving through the U.S. Senate, Christians leaders continue to sanctify the work of the NRA.
by Beau Underwood, Word&Way Senior Editor
On Thursday (June 16), the House Select Committee investigating the events of Jan. 6., 2021, focused their attention on the pressures then-Vice President Mike Pence faced by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of a free and fair election. Pence’s refusal to take unconstitutional action to hold onto power infuriated both his boss and the mob of Trump supporters that stormed the Capitol, with chants of “hang Mike Pence” heard in the crowd.
With the building under siege, the Secret Service relocated Pence to a parking garage. His legal counsel, Greg Jacob, was with Pence and spoke at yesterday’s hearing about the tension-filled events of that day.
In those perilous moments, Jacob found solace in scripture. Specifically, he turned to Daniel 6 where Daniel famously ends up in a lion’s den.
“[Daniel] refuses an order from the king. He cannot follow, and he does his duty and consistent with his oath to God,” he testified. “And I felt that that’s what had played out that day.”
As Diana Butler Bass tweeted, “That’s actually a pretty decent reading of Daniel.”
The problem remains that too many Americans (and too many Christians) refuse to see Trump as the immoral ruler in the story. With polling showing that 33% of Republicans support the insurrection, the future of our democracy remains cloudy.
Depending on the individual moral courage of those in power is a risky strategy. Sooner or later, someone will falter. Fidelity to the Constitution by both citizens and leaders is a much safer bet, but it’s a shockingly tall order in our present moment.
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