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Word&Way News: Sept. 1
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a report on the latest gathering of the ReAwaken America Tour that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a look at the Christian support of the Texas attorney general ahead of his impeachment trial.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Review: Religious Liberty in a Polarized Age. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Religious Liberty in a Polarized Age by Thomas C. Berg.
Pastor Urges Sadness, Not Rage, After White Shooter Kills 3 Black People in Florida. An AME pastor at a church near the site of the Jacksonville mass shooting preached about racism and mourning.
Pastor Indicted Alongside Trump Returns to Pulpit. Jack Jenkins reported on the latest about the Lutheran pastor who preached just days after getting his mugshot while wearing his clerical collar.
Ohio Republican Lawmakers Propose Allowing Chaplains in Public Schools. Nick Evans reported on an effort to bring religion into public schools that started in Texas and might spread to other states.
Clergy Dish Up Meatball Sundaes, Pickle Ice Pops, and a Little Faith at the Minnesota State Fair. Giovanna Dell’Orto reported on Methodist and Lutheran churches raising mission money with unique state fair food (like the Swedish Egg Coffee).
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
Last weekend, a 21-year-old White man who had written a racist manifesto and wore a White Supremacist patch on his tactical vest killed three Black people at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida. He had first gone to the campus of a Black college affiliated with the AME Church but was seen by campus security so instead targeted people at the store. Before police could capture the shooter, he killed himself.
When asked the next day about the incident and our society’s problem of mass shootings, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Pence insisted he knew the answer: capital punishment for mass shooters. He declared, “I’m calling for an expedited federal death penalty for anyone engaged in a mass shooting like took place in Jacksonville.” Yes, that was Pence’s “solution.” Calling for the death penalty in a case where the shooter … checks notes … killed himself.
Even in cases where the mass shooter is captured alive, Pence isn’t giving us a serious answer. The research is clear that capital punishment does not deter crime (but as we reported last week, pushing the death penalty can be a good campaign strategy). And the U.S.’s rate of mass shootings is much, much worse than other developed nations that don’t use capital punishment.
So there must be some other reason why we have so many mass shootings. Oh, that’s right, it’s the guns. Any politician not willing to address the root cause of our massacres is complicit in sacrificing more people at the altar of a semiautomatic idol.
Other News of Note
A Public Witness recently reported on a problematic plaque at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This week, two reporters covered the issue and cited our piece: Andrew Wolfson at the Louisville Courier-Journal and Mark Wingfield at Baptist News Global.
Katherine Burgess of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported on the appeals to Christianity during a forum featuring the city’s mayoral candidates.
Jacques Berlinerblau wrote for MSNBC about why GOP presidential candidates are struggling to peel evangelicals away from supporting Donald Trump.
“The shooter confronted our children with guns. Now you are stabbing our families and all Tennesseans in the back.” —a Covenant School parent after Tennessee lawmakers failed to vote on gun control measures after a deadly shooting at the Presbyterian school in March.
Joseph Amar reported for Commonweal on the religious and political tensions that led the patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church to move his headquarters from Baghdad to Erbil in the Kurdish-held region of Iraq.
At her Substack newsletter Freedom Road, Lisa Sharon Harper shared the music video (and the story behind it) of “Fly,” a new song from Common Hymnal inspired by her latest book:
Photo of the Week
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