Thursday , 23 March 2017
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Religion News Service

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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On being strangers in a strange land

In my experience there are three main kinds of American Christian attitudes when it comes to our national politics. There are those who feel quite comfortable with a Democratic president and during those times generally feel little tension between their Christian commitment and the direction of their country. There are those who feel quite comfortable with a Republican president and during …

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Trust nobody, listen to everybody, follow Jesus

Like a number of left-leaning “voices,” 2016 left me bewildered, disoriented, vertiginous. “No one knows anything,” said Conan O’Brien, and that is exactly how I felt. But, as my conservative father said to me the other day, “You are at your best after you have been humbled, when you admit you don’t know everything, when you start listening and break out …

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A columnist looks back and looks ahead

I have been writing opinion pieces since 1986. Ronald Reagan was president, and I was 24 years old. That’s a long time. Thirty years later, in that oddly reflective time between Christmas and New Year, I look back and look ahead. I was trained in a version of Christian ethics that demanded regular commentary on the day’s news. Hold the Bible …

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