Last Week, Today: What the response to San Bernardino reveals

Last week's headlines on politics, religion and culture

Thoughts, Prayers and Our Twisted Politics: What the response to San Bernardino reveals

After the San Bernardino shootings, there were many criticisms of politicians who tweeted that their "thoughts and prayers" were with the victim. Although the basic idea that "thoughts and prayers are insufficient" is valid, Michael argues that these criticisms are really part of "a cynical ploy that is just the latest tactic in the development of our new tribal politics" that seeks to "attribute policy disagreement to a deficiency of the person who disagrees, something that makes them 'other.'" 

Also worth reading: Andy Crouch's point-by-point explanation of what it is we do when we pray in the face of violent tragedy, and Laura Turner's caution about "tweeting prayers" in light of Jesus' words to not "be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and the street corners."

More and more, Americans see guns as the solution to gun violence

"Since the 2012 Newtown, Conn., massacre of 26 people, including 20 school children, the poll found a nine-point rise in the number of Americans who think gun ownership could 'protect people from becoming victims of crime'" (Washington Post).

Is shooting an abortion clinic merely the logical extension of the pro-life movement?

Ross Douthat's answer is "no." Douthat reminds us of John Brown, leader of the Pottawatomie massacre which was led against pro-slavery settlers. Was the rhetoric of the abolitionists responsible for Brown's actions? 

"Forgiveness and the African-American Church Experience"

This is likely one of the best conversations about forgiveness, race and America. Dr. Albert J. Raboteau, one of the nation's foremost scholars on African-American religion, presented at last month's Faith Angle Forum to a crowd of journalists from TIME, The Economist, The Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, and so on. 

Excerpt:

ALBERT RABOTEAU: ... What does it mean to see a fellow slave reducing the master and his family and others to tears by preaching on their enslavement to sin?

JULIA IOFFE:  But then, you know, at the end of the day, they’re still slaves.

ALBERT RABOTEAU:  That’s right, but it’s not that that’s their only reality.  They’re not only slaves.  They are children of God with spiritual power and don’t forget Exodus.  Their enslavement is not theirs, their children’s is going to end because God intervenes in human history to cast down the mighty and lift up the lowly.

Thank you for reading.

Sign up here for this weekly newsletter.