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Word&Way News: Oct. 6
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. Paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a reflection on a visit to a cedar forest and Roman ruins in Lebanon.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Review: Songs I Love to Sing. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Songs I Love to Sing: The Billy Graham Crusades and the Shaping of Modern Worship by Edith L. Blumhofer.
Revealing the ‘Rights’ Chameleon. Rodney Kennedy argued that the most color-shifting term in our political vocabulary is ‘rights.’
Liberty University Failed to Disclose Crime Data and Warn of Threats for Years, Report Says. An investigation into the fundamentalist Baptist school in Virginia founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. shows the school may be out of compliance with federal rules.
Vatican, Other Faith Leaders Join in Push for End of Death Penalty in Louisiana. Adelle M. Banks reported on advocacy efforts to back the outgoing governor of Louisiana’s quest to empty the state’s death row.
In Sequel to ‘Green’ Encyclical, Pope Urges Rich to Do Their Part to Combat Climate Change. Claire Giangravé reported on a renewed push by Pope Francis to get nations to take significant actions toward reducing climate change.
Another noteworthy podcast this week:
NBC News launched a new six-part podcast series, Grapevine, that looks at an effort in Texas to bring Christianity into public schools.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
This week a morality tale played out in real life. But the character at the center of it didn’t understand the lesson.
“My fear is the institution fell today,” Kevin McCarthy said after he was voted out as Speaker of the House because of the maneuvers of far-right Republicans.
That’s quite a claim for a man who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election just hours after insurrectionists ransacked the Capitol in a deadly riot. And it’s quite a claim for a man who blamed Donald Trump for the insurrection before flip-flopping by trekking to Mar-a-Lago to make amends with the ex-president. And that’s quite a claim for a man who tried to stop the House’s investigation into Jan.6 before he then opened an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden despite no evidence of wrongdoing.
“Among Kevin McCarthy’s legacies will be his role in reckless attacks on crucial American institutions, including the Department of Justice,” Republican speechwriter Peter Wehner wrote this week. “He lived out a cautionary tale of what happens when people with soaring ambitions and no principles gain political power — and what they will do to keep that power.”
McCarthy used his position to tear down the institution in hopes of advancing his own career goals. But then when he got to the top, he found himself hamstrung by the same anti-institutional forces he had once encouraged. And that’s where the morality tale comes in.
Like Dr. Frankenstein, McCarthy thought he could control the monster he helped create. But he instead will go down in history as the modern Speaker with the shortest tenure. He fed the chaos that led to his own demise. It turns out Jesus was right: those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
Other News of Note
Amid his trial for fraud in New York, Donald Trump shared an image on social media of Jesus sitting next time in court.
Political reporter David Weigel is reading the Bible from cover to cover to help inform his reporting of the 2024 campaign.
“Anger rightly harnessed is the centerpiece of all justice movements.” —Pam Durso, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas, during the 40th anniversary celebration of Baptist Women in Ministry.
Amid book bans in Florida, a UCC congregation in Coral Gables is teaming up with a local bookstore to protest.
An abandoned Catholic seminary in Milan, Italy, is now a luxury hotel.
Someone stole 20,000 bees from a church in Vancouver. No buzz yet on the culprit.
Daniel Cox wrote at his Substack newsletter American Storylines about how growing political polarization threatens Christianity in the United States:
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