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Word&Way News: June 2
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. Paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a look at conservative attacks on Chick-fil-A.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Initiative Urges Pastors to Preach Against Christian Nationalism on June 11. Brian Kaylor reported on a sermon effort ahead of Flag Day.
Review: Good and Evil in the Garden of Democracy. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Good and Evil in the Garden of Democracy by Rodney Kennedy.
No, MLK Was Not a Christian Nationalist. Angela Denker warned about dangerous historical revisionism and failing to listen to and learn from the lessons of the past.
How Evangelical Christian Writer Jemar Tisby Became a Radioactive Symbol of ‘Wokeness.’ Bob Smietana wrote about how an evangelical insider with a textbook conversion story became persona non grata in some Christian circles for his books on race and religion.
Mister Rogers Lego Prototype a Tribute to His ‘Deep Spiritual Resonance.’ Kathryn Post reported on an effort to turn Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood into a Lego set.
This week: Jay Augustine on When Prophets Preach
Another noteworthy podcast this week:
Hugh Howey, the author behind the Silo book and Apple TV series appeared on the CBF podcast to talk about telling stories and addressing authortarianism.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
The 2024 presidential field is quickly growing. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott recently announced his candidacy in a speech at his alma mater, a Southern Baptist college in South Carolina. Next week, former Vice President Mike Pence will officially announce his candidacy after months of testing the waters by speaking during church services. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are also expected to enter the race in the coming days.
Scott and Pence join other candidates praying for votes by showing up in churches, like former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. But this week, the two frontrunners demonstrated this campaign tactic in ways that should warn church leaders against allowing partisan politicking in their holy spaces.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made his first stop in Iowa after his disastrous campaign launch on Twitter. He held the rally at Eternity Church in Clive with DeSantis campaign signs outside the church for people to see as they drove by and more signs inside on walls next to religious messages like “Be holy.” The messages about God and DeSantis flowed together as if inherently connected.
“Lord, I pray for unity in the GOP,” Rev. Jesse Newman, the church’s pastor, prayed during the rally with a DeSantis sign on the podium and a large American flag as the backdrop. “As the vicious onslaught of those who plan to do wicked come against [DeSantis], I pray they have no effect on him or his family or his campaign or his desire to stand up for the truth.”
Two days later, Donald Trump attended a private meeting with about 50 Iowa pastors at First Church of the Open Bible in Des Moines. Images on social media showed several pastors gathering around him to pray, blessing the campaign of the thrice-married politician recently indicted for falsifying documents to cover up his payoffs to women with whom he had affairs. Trump heard the prayers as endorsements. He later told a reporter he has “total support” from the pastors, adding, “We have a real love fest with the faith leaders of Iowa.”
This week is just a warning about the danger of a partisan pulpit. It’s going to get a lot worse. We need to stay vigilant.
Other News of Note
A Michigan state lawmaker introduced a bill to require public schools to teach “the Christian foundations of the United States” because he doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state.
A school district in Utah pulled the Bible from elementary and middle school libraries because it violated new rules banning books with “vulgarity or violence.”
Jeff Brumley of Baptist News Global reported on a Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty event at Old North Church in Boston where scholars and ministers challenged the “myth of American chosenness.”
“Let’s voluntarily set aside our rights in order to witness the truth that only peace and never violence is the way to build a free society that is lived concretely in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, our nation, and our world.” —Catholic Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark as he urged Christians to help “change the culture of violence” by forgoing Second Amendment rights.
Archaeologists discovered an underground tunnel and rooms beneath the ruins of a Christian church built 1,500 years ago in Istanbul, Turkey.
Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem protested a Christian prayer service at the Western Wall, sparking religious and political controversy.
For Memorial Day, Brian Klaas reflected at his Substack newsletter The Garden of Forking Paths on differences between the American and German military cemeteries at Normandy.
Photo of the Week
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