Last Week, Today: What the Left and Right Got Wrong about Crime in 2015

Last week's headlines on politics, religion and culture

1. What the Left and Right Got Wrong about Crime in 2015

Last year, there was a 14.6% national spike in murder, the largest single-year increase since at least 1960. Conservatives blame less-aggressive policing; liberals downplay the statistic, saying that the homicide rate is still among historical lows. Thomas Abt argues in The Marshall Project that there is a reason why these spikes occurred most in places like St. Louis, Baltimore and Milwaukee: when communities view the criminal justice system as illegitimate, they take the law into their own hands.

2. Some Unexpected State of the Union Attendees…

- an ex-convict, Sue Ellen Allen (wealthy, white woman indicated for fraud), who runs education and job programs for inmates about to be released

- a Syrian refugee, Refaai Hamo, who was featured in Humans of New York as “the scientist.”

3. Do Black Lives Matter to Most Evangelicals?

After Urbana 2015 conference, news had spread that InterVarsity Christian Fellowship had “endorsed” the #BlackLivesMatter movement. InterVarsity clarified that it doesn’t “endorse” #BLM, but it does stand as “co-belligerents” with it. John Inazu explains how Christians can and ought to pursue common ground with allies of all faiths, races and orientations, without endorsing them entirely. 

4. Christena Cleveland delivers one of the best talks on racial justice and reconciliation at Urbana

Cleveland, a professor, weaves biblical exegesis, social psychology experiments, and anecdotes about love-chasing undergraduates to unpack our “us versus them” mindsets in a short talk. 

5. Religious Organizations Defy Federal Authorities by Welcoming Central American Immigrants

The Obama administration, starting this year, has begun targeting illegal immigrants fleeing gang violence in Central America. Religious organizations and activists say these immigrants ought to be offered the same protections extended to Syrian Refugees, and vow to maintain safe havens for them despite the federal targetting. 

Thank you for reading. 

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