Here’s the top news of the week from Word&Way. Paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an essay about efforts to lionize Kyle Rittenhouse.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Judas Arrested for Capitol Insurrection. Brian Kaylor has some fun with news you can’t make up: an actor who plays the part of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar was arrested for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Christ the King Sunday Blues. Rodney Kennedy reflects on “Christ the King Sunday” and what it might mean for Americans today.
New Children’s Bibles Rethink How Christians Share Old, Old Story with Young Readers. Emily McFarlan Miller reports on new efforts to tell the old biblical stories for today’s young readers.
What Americans Hear About Social Justice at Church – & What They Do About It. R. Khari Brown and Ronald Brown explain findings about connections between church sermons and participation in protests.
Israel to Give Gaza Christians Permits for Christmas Holiday. A year after no Christians were allowed to leave Gaza to visit Bethlehem for Christmas, Israel announced this week it will allow such travel this year.
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by Beau Underwood, Word&Way Senior Editor
For the first time in 43 years, Kevin Strickland enjoyed Thanksgiving as a free man. Wrongly convicted of a triple murder, Strickland’s case — alongside that of Lamar Johnson, who remains in prison — became a rallying cry for criminal justice reform advocates and faith leaders in Missouri, and increasingly around the country. His first act upon release? He visited his mother’s grave, who passed away just before his release.
Strickland’s saga serves as another reminder of the systemic problems that prevent citizens from receiving equal legal treatment. And it highlights the importance of efforts to address these injustices by reform-minded prosecutors, legal advocates, and the broader public. Sadly, rather than aiding this righteous cause, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt did everything possible to obstruct the wheels of justice.
Verdicts in the trials of Kyle Rittenhouse and the murderers of Ahmaud Arbery overshadowed Strickland’s release. In the former, a narrow legal decision allowed a killer to avoid moral responsibility for his actions and appallingly birthed a new conservative hero. The latter case held three White men culpable for the killing of a 25-year-old Black man whose only “crime” was going out for a jog.
Along with the news of a jury holding avowed White supremacists accountable for the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that caused death and injury, this was a momentous week reminding us of Martin Luther King Jr.’s proclamation that “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” Our efforts, in victory or defeat, must be to persevere in the work of arc-bending.
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