Discover more from A Public Witness
Word&Way News: Sept. 2
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a report on a culture war church service that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a look at the problem of Democrats campaigning during church services.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Living Stones in Cana of Galilee. Botrus Mansour reflected on the work it took to transform his grandparents’ 140-year-old house into a wedding chapel for those who want to tie the knot in the town where Jesus turned water into wine.
Review: Bonhoeffer’s Religionless Christianity in its Christological Context. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Bonhoeffer’s Religionless Christianity in its Christological Context by Peter Hooton.
Evangelical Group Releases Climate Change Report, Urges a Biblical Mandate for Action. Jack Jenkins reported on a new push from the National Association of Evangelicals for actions to reduce climate change.
Religious Schools Shun State Funding Despite Maine Victory. David Sharp reported on the latest hurdle for private Christian schools seeking public money.
#PandemicPastoring Report Documents a ‘New Era in Ministry.’ Emily McFarlan Miller and Adelle M. Banks reported on new survey results about the challenges clergy have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week: Wendy Cadge of the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab
Other noteworthy podcasts this week:
Brian Kaylor was the guest on Good Faith Weekly to talk about global Baptists, Christian Nationalism, and more.
Rachel Laser of Americans United for Separation of Church and State appeared on We Dissent to talk about the Supreme Court and school prayer.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
A megachurch pastor in Houston, Texas, went to the pulpit Sunday (Aug. 28) and told his congregation to vote out Democrats. And Ed Young, pastor of Second Baptist Church, also told some whoppers in that sermon about alleged crime in Houston.
Young, who previously served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, used his sermon to attack “left-wing progressives in office” and urged people this November to “throw those bums out of office.” His reason? Crime.
“Houston, in all probability, right now, is the most dangerous city in America to live in,” Young claimed. “In all probability, Houston is one of the two or three most dangerous cities in the world to live in.”
But this isn’t a “Houston, we have a problem” moment. It’s a “Church, we have a problem” time. Because Young’s claims are quite simply wrong. He said the murder rate in Houston is higher than New York City and Chicago. But it’s not.
Not only did his sermon run afoul of an IRS rule preventing 501(3) tax-exempt nonprofits from engaging in partisan politics, but the false claims also hurt the witness of the church. Why should people trust him when he claims to preach truth about Jesus when he also parrots inaccurate political talking points that could have been fact-checked with a minute on Google?
A Houston Chronicle editorial that criticized Young for his false claims concluded, “We don’t know if Young has God on his side, but heaven help him, he certainly doesn’t seem to have the facts.” I’d go one step further and add that we know who is the father of lies.
Other News of Note
Katie Meyer reported for WHYY (an NPR affiliate in Pennsylvania) on the “self-proclaimed prophets and QAnon conspiracy theorists” involved in Doug Mastriano’s gubernatorial campaign.
Conservative pundits David French and Michael Steele talked on MSNBC about the problem of Christian Nationalism in the GOP.
Catholic leaders in Zambia praised the president’s plans to abolish the death penalty.
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!
A Public Witness is a reader-supported publication of Word&Way. To receive new posts and support our journalism ministry, subscribe today.