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Word&Way News: Oct. 7
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. This week at A Public Witness, we published a look at politicians misusing the biblical Esther story, a breaking news report on a prayer service with Herschel Walker, and an analysis of the problematic witness of churches featuring Walker during Sunday services.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Well-Intentioned Patriarchs are Still Patriarchs. Liz Cooledge Jenkins considered the hypocrisy of voicing support for Iranian women who protest oppressive patriarchy in their context while remaining silent about oppressive patriarchy in our own U.S. context.
Review: Theology and the Star Wars Universe. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Theology and the Star Wars Universe edited by Benjamin D. Espinoza.
Episcopal Priest David Sibley Becomes Four-Time ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion. This person knows lots of trivia and wears a clerical collar. Who is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walla Walla, Washington?
Growing Pains for Arab Evangelical Christians in the Middle East. Reporting from a meeting of the Middle East and North Africa Evangelical National Councils, Daoud Kuttab noted that pressure from Arab governments and other Christian groups has only contributed to evangelicals’ cooperation in the region.
United Methodists’ Native American International Caucus Calls for End to Columbus Day. Emily McFarlan Miller reported about a faith-based push for churches and Congress to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day.
This week: Sarah Posner on Unholy Politics
Other noteworthy podcasts this week:
Eugene Cho of Bread for the World was the guest on the CBF Podcast to talk about advocacy efforts to end hunger.
In a Revisionist History episode on hunger, Malcolm Gladwell considered Matthew 25 as “The Mennonite National Anthem.”
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
This week, Faithful America unveiled a new effort they’re calling “False Prophets.” Concerned about the danger that Christian Nationalism poses to both democracy and churches, the advocacy group highlighted 20 people they say are peddling this false gospel. Subscribers to A Public Witness will recognize many names from our reports (and the False Prophets site includes several links to our pieces).
The list helps show both the popularity and the breadth of Christian Nationalism in our society. There are religious leaders (like Sean Feucht, Franklin Graham, and Joseph Strickland), politicians (like Ron DeSantis, Josh Hawley, Doug Mastriano, and Marjorie Taylor Greene), and political activists (like Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, and Tony Perkins). The entry for each of the 20 people includes lots of details and links to learn more about what the person has been saying and doing to conflate American and Christian identities.
“Christian Nationalism is not only not Christian, it is decidedly unchristian, contradicting and abandoning the gospel’s life-affirming teachings about peace, truth, power, and love,” Faithful America explained about the effort. “Christians need to recognize the harm that is being done in our name, and call out the misappropriation of our vocabulary and traditions.”
Faithful America is right. Christian Nationalism does pervert the teachings of Jesus, undermining the witness of churches in our society. And Christians have a moral responsibility to call out this heresy done in our name. Let’s be sure to speak out against Christian Nationalism and show a better way.
Other News of Note
After Brian Kaylor wrote a piece for A Public Witness breaking the news about the prayers and comments at a Herschel Walker campaign event at First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, numerous outlets cited that report, including Religion News Service, Baptist News Global, Raw Story, Current, Anthea Butler on MSNBC’s The Reid Out, and David Brody on his show The Water Cooler.
Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty wrote for USA Today about how the conservative Supreme Court has abandoned long-standing religious liberty principles.
After Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run this year, Jim Wallis reflected on the milestone and the man at his Substack newsletter God’s Politics.
Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, is still working to make amends decades after proudly displaying a Christian history book bound with the skin of a murdered Native American man.
Marisa Peñaloza of NPR reported on an effort to preserve a cemetery for enslaved people in Maryland, with members of a Black Baptist church leading the legal fight. Meanwhile, a historic Black cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, suffered significant vandalism.
Ahead of the execution on Wednesday of a Texas inmate, CNN profiled a Baptist pastor who had ministered to the inmate for years and was inside the death chamber to pray during the execution.
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