Word&Way News: May 27
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. This week we published two pieces at A Public Witness: a call for state attorneys general investigations after a report showing systemic cover-up of sexual abuse by Southern Baptist leaders, and a look at the Christian leaders offering prayers at NRA conventions.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Southern Baptists, Sex Abuse, and Systemic Evil. David P. Gushee reflected on the recent report outlining 20 years of Southern Baptist leaders mishandling sexual abuse allegations in SBC churches.
Why Does This Keep Happening? Greg Mamula reflected on the recent shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Faith, Family, and Broadway Music. Christina Ray Stanton explored the life of Broadway music director, conductor of world-class orchestras, and award-winning composer and arranger Laura Bergquist.
Review: Holy Communion in Contagious Times. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Holy Communion in Contagious Times: Celebrating the Eucharist in the Everyday and Online Worlds by Richard A. Burridge.
Pelosi Now Barred from Communion in at Least Four Dioceses. Jack Jenkins reported on the efforts by some conservative Catholic bishops to deny communion to the U.S. Speaker of the House because of her pro-choice politics.
Other good podcasts this week:
Robert Downen of the Houston Chronicle spoke with the Straight White American Jesus podcast about “The Southern Baptist Convention’s Apocalypse.”
Deanna Hollas, coordinator of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s gun violence ministries, spoke with George Mason on the Good God podcast.
Other News of Note
Numerous people responded to the report on clergy sexual abuse by Southern Baptists, including:
Brian Kaylor spoke with WJTV (a CBS affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi) about the report.
Kathy Manis Findley wrote for Baptist News Global (with a reference to A Public Witness): on “Dwelling with Evil while Living into Hope.”
Russell Moore wrote for Christianity Today about “This is the Southern Baptist Apocalypse.”
David Brooks wrote for the New York Times on “The Southern Baptist Meltdown.”
Paul Waldman wrote for the Washington Post about “Why is the Right Ignoring the Southern Baptist Abuse Scandal?”
Several actions occurred this week after the release of the report on clergy sexual abuse by Southern Baptists:
The Southern Baptist Convention published a list of ministers accused of abuse that denominational leaders had secretly compiled (without warning churches about the ministers).
The SBC also created a confidential hotline for survivors of sexual abuse to make reports.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina announced it would remove honors on campus named for disgraced Southern Baptist leaders Johnny Hunt and Paige Patterson.
After the school shooting in Texas, many people offered responses, including:
Faith leaders in Kansas City, Missouri, held a rally to demand congressional action on gun control.
Samuel Perry wrote for Time magazine about how “School Shootings Confirm that Guns are the Religion of the Right.”
Police in Springfield, Missouri, are investigating after someone spray-painted a swastika on a historic Black Methodist church founded in 1847 by enslaved persons.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
Late Tuesday afternoon, I started seeing reports of yet another school shooting. Soon, more details came out and the death toll started rising. The next morning as I looked at the news on my phone, I saw a piece identifying the victims. That’s when I learned the dead included two fourth-grade teachers and a bunch of fourth-grade students all around 10 years old.
Then I took my 10-year-old son to school for one of his last days of fourth grade.
That was tough. I’ve thought about those families in Uvalde, Texas, who will never get to hold their children again, who will live with that pain for their rest of their lives.
But I’ve also been thinking about the politicians and the Christian leaders who refuse to take meaningful actions to protect our children. Somehow they can blame mass shootings on everything except the very weapons that were made only for the purpose of mass killing. Other countries also have video games, people with mental illness, and lots of doors. So, why don’t other countries have the level of gun deaths we do?
Unlike other nations that decided to change their gun laws after mass shootings, we keep doing nothing. Our nation keeps saying after each of these massacres that we care more about guns than children. And with that decision, we keep choosing this day whom we will serve (and it’s not God). For as Shane Claiborne, co-author of Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence, told me this week: “Guns are not made in the image of God but children are.”
So, as I hugged my son and dropped him off at school this week, I said a prayer for his safety. And I cursed those who put us all at risk.
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!