Last Week, Today

This is the first post of a new weekly recap series curated by Sarah Ngu with articles from the past week that we found to be especially worthwhile. Leave comments on these articles, or even post articles you appreciated from the past week in case we missed them. Let's try to learn together here each week.

Enjoy this Sunday, friends!

-Michael

1.     Partisanship > Racial divides?

Dana Milbank writes that Americans now discriminate more on the basis of political party than on race in his Washington Post article, “America’s New Cycle of Partisan Hatred.” It is an alarming article, but it is worth noting that the actual Stanford study that Milbank cites more specifically argues that people feel more free to express negative sentiments and engage in confrontation based on partisanship than on race. A glimmer of hope: Jeb Bush calls on Republicans to confirm Loretta Lynch.

2.     #RFRA: Infringing on one’s religious right to… feed the homeless

Local chef Joan Cheever is protesting a $2000 fine from the police for feeding the homeless without the correct permits. She wants to argue that the police are infringing on her right to exercise religion. “This is how I pray, when I cook this food and deliver it to the people who are less fortunate,” she says.

3.     “What everyone gets wrong about the persecution of Christians in Iraq”

From Jeremy Courtney, an American Christian living in Iraq:

 “When ISIS drove Christians out of Mosul in the summer of 2014, the West awoke to the plight of Christians in Iraq. But cramming the diverse group of victims into a tidy box marked "Christian" was not helpful. Locally, most of these "Christians" identify ethnically as Assyrians, and they are talking as much about Assyrian nationalism as religious identifiers like theology or tradition.”

Read more in his article in The Week.

4.     “Not the Christian Zionism You’re Thinking Of”

From Gerald R. McDermott, professor of religion at Roanoke College:

“... we can support Jews’ return to Israel, according to the promises of Scripture, with sound, responsible theology and without needing to adhere to the premillennial dispensationalism often associated with Christian Zionism… Christians can support the return of Jews to Israel without declaring the country perfect, or even believing that it’s the last Jewish community we will see.” 

Read more in his article in Christianity Today.

5.     Changing Your Mind Amidst the Culture Wars

When Dr. Paul Offit set out to write a book on how religious belief undermines modern medicine, he discovered, to his surprise, that he was impressed by Jesus.

“Offit said that Jesus’ advocacy on behalf of children, who were treated as property in the ancient Greco-Roman context, moved him “to the point of tears.” He referred to Christianity as “the single greatest breakthrough against child abuse” in history.”

Read Rachel Marie Stone’s article in The Washington Post