Wednesday , 26 April 2017
Home » Religion News Service

Religion News Service

The church’s surprising public contribution

Most Christian social ethicists have been trained, and have trained others, in a tradition in which the most important thing the church does is to address public moral problems via declaration or action. I am discovering as a pastor that the church has other ways it contributes to society that may be just as important. I will name three. The …

Read More »

Frances FitzGerald on how evangelicals lost their way

The most important new book on evangelicals in many years has been released just in time for Easter. Frances FitzGerald’s massive new tome is called “The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America.” Everyone who cares about religion in America must read it. I will be moderating a conversation with the author on Wednesday night at the Atlanta History Center. Reading this …

Read More »

In search of honest, smart, independent people

America is in need of honest, smart, independent people. Our future is grim unless we can find some, in a hurry. We have plenty of dishonest, ignorant, ideological people. It is hard to know which should come first in that list. Are people ideological because they are ignorant, or are they dishonest because they are ideological, or are they ideological …

Read More »

An ethical analysis of the ‘New Sanctuary Movement’

The “New Sanctuary Movement” is under considerable discussion these days. What exactly people mean by “sanctuary” is not always clear, but the basic idea is to help undocumented immigrants in their struggle to avoid deportation under US immigration laws. I encountered the first “Sanctuary Movement” in the 1980s, when some churches organized to shelter Salvadorans and Guatemalans who were at …

Read More »

The Christian social ethics project hits a wall

For at least one hundred years, the primary project of Christian ethics in America has been American public reform. Today, that project has hit a wall named Donald Trump. But it was already under serious question. Beginning with early 20th century Social Gospel Christianity, and exemplified most strongly in the Baptist theologian/activist Walter Rauschenbusch, Christian ethics (especially Protestant ethics) turned its …

Read More »

Three different ways to resist Trumpian nationalism

There is only one way to defend most of new President Donald Trump’s many moves in his first week in office, but it is powerful. Whether it is the Wall, or shutting down refugee resettlement, or building the pipelines, or pressuring companies to keep jobs here, or pulling out of international trade pacts, or even toying with torture again, all can mainly or only …

Read More »

What I said to my church today

Sometimes a word must be said. Below is the statement that I made to my church today, where I serve as interim pastor. Our congregation is politically diverse and located in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur. Statements by our church’s pastors on highly charged public issues are rare, but not unheard of, and must be very carefully considered. I did not …

Read More »

Disinvited again: You, sir, are simply intolerable

(RNS) A few weeks ago I was disinvited again. To be disinvited is (or ought to be) a rather rare privilege. It happens when first you are eagerly invited to do something, like give a speech or write a book chapter. You say yes. You hold the date on the calendar, do some preparation, decline other invitations. Then, some time later the …

Read More »

Elections matter. So does resistance.

Elections matter. If Hillary Clinton had been elected president, few if any of the domestic and foreign policies that are emerging from the Trump White House would even have been conceivable. The dissing of Mexico — and Mexicans. The promise/threat of The Wall. Dramatically stepped-up immigration enforcement, with more to come. The abandonment of a humane comprehensive immigration reform idea once …

Read More »