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Word&Way News: May 20
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a reflection on the 100th anniversary of Harry Emerson Fosdick’s famous sermon on fundamentalism that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a report about Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano and Christian Nationalism.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Listening Well & the Future of the Church. Greg Mamula considered the future of the church by reflecting about how we should learn to listen and respond well to our communities.
Deafening Silence. Darron LaMonte Edwards lamented that he hasn’t heard from potential White allies regarding the racially-motivated shooting targeting Black people in Buffalo, New York.
Free Speech in a House Full of Chickens. Rodney Kennedy argued the allure of junk food matches the allure of our politics today — simple, cheap, fast, superficial, but somewhat tasty.
Review: The New Adam. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed The New Adam: What the Early Church Can Teach Evangelicals (and Liberals) about the Atonement by Ron Highfield.
Gore Says Climate Crisis like ‘Nature Hike Right Through the Book of Revelation.’ Adelle M. Banks reported on remarks by former Vice President Al Gore urging Black interfaith leaders and environmental activists to increase joint efforts to seek solutions to the “twin crises of climate and racial justice.”
This week: Bob Cornwall on Called to Bless
Other good podcasts this week:
Brian Kaylor was the guest on the The Bad Christian Podcast to talk about faith and politics.
Other News of Note
Sarah Posner wrote for Talking Points Memo about “How Christian Nationalism and the Big Lie Fused to Fuel Doug Mastriano’s Candidacy” (in which she cited A Public Witness). On Tuesday, Mastriano won the Republican nomination for governor in Pennsylvania (and A Public Witness was also cited in coverage by The Keystone and Right Wing Watch).
Thomas B. Edsall of the New York Times wrote about Christian Nationalism, racism, and violence.
Reflecting on the shooting in Buffalo, New York, Adam Taylor of Sojourners argued, “Christians Can’t be Lukewarm in Denouncing ‘Replacement Theory.’”
Aaron Griffith wrote for Religion & Politics about “American Christians ‘Backing the Blue’: On Faith and Policing.”
Ruth Graham of the New York Times talked with NPR’s Fresh Air about how “A Divide between the Pulpit and the Pew is Roiling the Evangelical Church.”
Jemar Tisbay, author of The Color of Compromise, wrote an open letter on his Substack newsletter Footnotes to the trustees at Grove City College in Pennsylvania after they approved a report that accused him of promoting critical race theory:
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
Imagine the head of a charity like the Red Cross or the American Cancer Society telling people who showed up for services that if you voted for Republicans you should leave because you aren’t welcome. There would rightly be an outcry against such discrimination.
But we don’t have to try hard to imagine this scene. On Monday (May 16), Americans United for Church and State filed an IRS complaint against a pastor in Tennessee for engaging in that kind of gross (and unlawful) partisan rhetoric.
“You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation,” claimed Greg Locke, pastor of the Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, during his sermon on Sunday. “If you vote Democrat, I don’t even want you around this church. You can get out. You can get out, you demon.”
This kind of partisan politicking isn’t allowed by tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofits like houses of worship, the Red Cross, and the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, the IRS seems both unable and unwilling to actually enforce the law, which is why we keep seeing politicians campaigning in church services and pastors preaching partisanship from pulpits.
But that doesn’t mean such abuses should go unchecked. Especially with demagogues like Locke, who peddled COVID-19 disinformation and spoke at pro-Trump events in Washington, D.C., ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. In his partisan sermon Sunday, Locke threatened a greater insurrection is yet to come.
That’s why Rachel Laser of AU is urging the IRS to act since “our democracy is threatened by White Christian Nationalism like never before.” Even if the IRS won’t act, we must not remain silent.
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!