Word&Way News: June 24
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a piece about Trump attorney Jenna Ellis attacking us, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an analysis of an important church-state ruling this week by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
When Money, Race, & Patriotism Tee Off. Rodney Kennedy reflected on the controversy swirling around Phil Mickelson and other members of the PGA who decided to join the Saudi Arabia-backed professional golf tour.
Review: Words of Love. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Words of Love: A Healing Journey with the Ten Commandments by Eugenia Anne Gamble.
Two Priests Killed in Mexico Devoted Decades to Remote Region. Maria Verza reported on the ministry and death of two Jesuit priests in rural Mexico.
France Rules Against Burkini Swimwear for Religious Reasons. French officials blocked a rule allowing Muslim women to wear full-body swimsuits in public pools — but left intact a provision allowing women to go topless.
Presbyterian Church in America Votes To Leave National Association of Evangelicals. Emily McFarlan Miller reported on move by a denomination that believes a leading evangelical group is too liberal.
Other good podcasts this week:
A bonus episode of the Christianity Today podcast The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill considered the dangers of building an institution on celebrity power and charisma.
On The Bible for Normal People, the hosts talked with Sidnie White Crawford on “What You Really Need to Know about the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
Other News of Note
Chris Cillizza of CNN spoke with Kristin Kobes Du Mez about why conservative evangelicals love Georgia U.S. Senate hopeful Herschel Walker. (As previously documented by A Public Witness, Walker has been campaigning in evangelical megachurches.)
Politico reported on the speeches of Donald Trump and other potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates at the Faith & Freedom Conference led by conservative political activist Ralph Reed. Former Vice President Mike Pence skipped the gathering and was attacked there by Trump.
On the seventh anniversary of the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Christian leaders gathered together in remembrance — and to call for more gun control measures.
Mark Wingfield reported for Baptist News Global on a snag holding up the sale of Georgia Baptist Mission Board headquarters. The state branch of the Southern Baptist Convention spent $42.3 million on the site in 2006 to house 300 staff members, but today only has 33 people usually working in the building.
At her Substack newsletter The Cottage, Diana Butler Bass penned a critique of the politics of Andy Stanley:
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled its earlier decisions legalizing abortion (in particular Roe v. Wade from 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey from 1992). But the new ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson won’t actually end abortion in the United States.
That’s true in part because the ruling sends the issue of legalization to the states. Thus, we’ll quickly see a bit of a swiss cheese look to abortion laws as some states ban it completely, some allow it in all cases, and others take a mixed approach.
But even if every state banned abortion, the Dobbs ruling by Justice Samuel Alito still wouldn’t end abortions. After all, abortion occurred before Roe. That’s why I’ve found it odd when people recite the number of abortions since Roe, as if it didn’t exist or matter before then. It’s true that it’s hard to count in that era since many such procedures were illegal, but estimates put the annual numbers as actually higher than what we’ve seen in recent years.
The focus on overturning Roe has led some of the leading groups advocating against abortions to oppose policies that would lead to fewer abortions (such as better healthcare access, economic assistance for poorer families, etc.). In fact, after three decades of decline, we actually saw abortion rates increase during the presidency of Donald Trump. That’s why the National Catholic Reporter argued this morning that even those who agree with the ruling should recognize how the “obsession” with Roe led to “unholy alliances,” harm to “the church’s credibility,” and the ignoring of a “truly pro-life agenda.”
All of this means there is much work to do to care for our neighbors. Even more so in the aftermath of a splintered ruling by a partisan court inflaming our cultural divides.
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold,” poet William Butler Yeats warned us in The Second Coming. “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
Photo of the Week
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