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Word&Way News: Sept. 8
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. Paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a look at how the Bible is misused by preachers, businesses, and politicians.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Dishonest Preacher ‘Whac-A-Mole.’ Rodney Kennedy wrote about the heresy of a preacher promoting political violence during a recent stop of the ReAwaken America Tour.
Review: Saving Faith. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Saving Faith: How American Christianity Can Reclaim Its Prophetic Voice by Randall Balmer.
‘Hope Is Possible.’ Pope Francis Joins Religious Leaders in Mongolia to Promote Harmony. Representatives from 11 different religions gathered with Pope Francis on Sunday to push for peace and tolerance.
At African Climate Summit, Faith Leaders Join Demands for Climate Justice. Fedrick Nzwili reported on African clergy advocating for more efforts to combat climate change.
As Soccer Moses, Jars of Clay Guitarist Stephen Mason Finds Unexpected Joy. Bob Smietana wrote about how a dad joke got a Christian musician on ESPN.
This week: Kaitlyn Schiess on the Ballot and the Bible
Another noteworthy podcast this week:
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
Last year, a majority of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court issued a problematic ruling about coercive prayer at public schools. The case, Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, involved an assistant football coach who led prayers with students at the close of games.
The problem wasn’t just that justices ignored the religious liberty rights of students but that they made claims that simply weren’t true. Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the majority opinion, wrongly claimed the coach offered just “private, personal prayer” even though photos and videos showed these were audible, public moments that some students felt pressured to join.
There were also false claims that the school in Washington had fired the coach when he actually hadn’t even applied for another year at the end of his contract. But his attorneys needed to push the narrative that he was dismissed and wanted his job back. So last week, the coach returned to the field after the courts required the school to give him the job again. He flew in from Florida where he now lives, got a lot of media attention, and then went and prayed
in his closet on the football field as everyone watched.
Then the coach quit. After the first game of the season he threw in the towel. It’s as if he didn’t actually want the job for which he hadn’t actually reapplied. It’s as if this was never about what’s best for the students. It’s as if six justices of the Supreme Court fumbled the whole case. Unfortunately, while the coach quit, the false judgment of Gorsuch remains in play.
Other News of Note
Some Senate Republicans want to find new language to describe their anti-abortion politics since polling reveals the term “pro-life” is now hurting them in elections.
Forum 18 reported that a Russian Orthodox priest who posted online that Christians should not fight in the war on Ukraine has been sentenced to three years in prison on charges he distributed “false information” about the Russian military.
“The decline of churchgoing in America, it seems, has not eviscerated Christianity; it has simply distorted it. And that distortion will have politically unpleasant implications that go far beyond church walls.” —Daniel K. Williams in a column for The Atlantic about “what happens when Americans stop going to church.”
Daniel Cox wrote at his Substack newsletter American Storylines about why so many White evangelicals think they are the ones who face persecution in the United States:
Photo of the Week
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