The New York Times‘s Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham report that white evangelicalism has, in many ways, fused with the most extreme far-right elements among Trump supporters, including the Proud Boys. “This potent mix of grievance and religious fervor has turbocharged the support among a wide swath of Trump loyalists, many of whom describe themselves as participants in a kind of holy war, according to interviews,” they write, adding, “The spread of falsehoods about the integrity of the election — and now the roots of Wednesday’s rioting — have deeply infiltrated conservative Christian circles.”
The New York Times‘ Astead Herndon reports on the significance of the Rev. Raphael Warnock’s Senate win in Georgia. His victory, Herndon writes, is “a generational breakthrough for Southern Black Democrats.” The pastor of MLK’s former church, Ebenezer Baptist, Warnock and his sermons became the source of attack ads painting him as a radical. “Nevertheless, Mr. Warnock’s journey from Black pastor to Black senator is an exercise of a different type of faith: It’s a belief that American politics can change from the inside, that the Democratic Party’s most loyal voters can see themselves represented in Congress.”
DC’s Oldest Black Church Hangs New Black Lives Matter Banner After It Was Burned During MAGA Protestposted on December 18, 2020
WUSA’s Khalida Volou reports, “Faith leaders from across the DMV gathered on the steps of Asbury United Methodist Church to hang a new Black Lives Matter banner and renounce white supremacy in a service of unity on Friday December 18.” A Black Lives Matter banner that belonged to the historic Black congregation in Washington, D.C., was burned by Trump supporters during a protest on December 12. Volou writes, “D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said at least four churches, Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, Asbury United Methodist Church, Luther Place Memorial Church and Metropolitan AME Church, had property damage. He said the department is investigating each incident as a hate crime and police have released ‘very good’ images of the suspects in these cases.”
The Atlantic‘s McKay Coppins, a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, writes a personal reflection about the LDS Church and its pursuit of American acceptance. “My own testimony didn’t come in a blaze of revelation, but in living the faith day to day,” he writes. “The church was where I felt most like myself.” The LDS Church is also “one of the fastest-growing religions in the world,” and a faith that has defied expectations, including how it has resisted Trumpism.
The New York Times‘ Ruth Graham reports on the culture of Hillsong Church after the downfall of Carl Lentz, who led the group’s East Coast locations. Lentz was fired recently after an affair came to light. “But sexual infidelity was only one piece of the story,” Graham writes. Brian Houston, the founder of the global church, said Lentz’s dismissal was also due to “’general narcissistic behavior, manipulating, mistreating people,’ as well as ‘breaches of trust connected to lying.'” Graham writes, “The church seemed to go out of its way to cultivate a hierarchy of coolness.” It had reserved seating for V.I.P.s, and Lentz cultivated relationships with celebrities, as well as growing his own fame.
The Dispatch‘s David French compares the right’s treatment of the faith of the Rev. Raphael Warnock, Georgia Senate candidate, to the left’s treatment of the faith of Amy Coney Barrett. He writes, “And now his religious beliefs are under fire, and the people taking aim at Warnock are some of the same individuals who rallied to defend Barrett from Democratic and media attacks on her faith.” He cites tweets from Republican senators who criticized a sermon clip from the preacher saying you cannot serve God and the military. French writes, “If Pastor Warnock would underfund the military, oppose him on that basis. If he would undercut support for veterans, oppose him on that basis. And his support for abortion rights is gravely wrong. But to whip up outrage because you didn’t like the way he preached a sermon about Matthew 6:24? Well then, I know some Republican senators who now aren’t that different from Dianne Feinstein. In their partisan zeal, they’ve made the same mistake.”
For Post Alley, Seth Dowland writes, “Diagnoses of evangelical voters have frequently cited the priority of abortion to explain their steadfast Republicanism. But that explanation has begun to break down. Abortion did not even crack the top five most important issues for Trump supporters in an August poll.” Instead, for other explanations, Dowland turns to Kristin Kobes du Mez’s book, Jesus and John Wayne, which explores evangelical notions of masculinity. Dowland, an associate professor of religion at Pacific Lutheran, is author of Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right.
The New York Times‘s Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham report, “On Tuesday the Vatican released a massive report investigating how Theodore E. McCarrick, a disgraced former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, rose to the heights of the Catholic Church, despite leaders receiving reports that he had sexually abused minors and adult seminarians over the course of decades.” The report found that Pope John Paul II, now a saint, elevated McCarrick to cardinal, even though he had been warned about the cleric’s sexual misconduct. Dias and Graham write that the Vatican also “blames three American bishops for providing misleading information,” which contributed to McCarrick’s promotion.
ABC’s Matthew Vann and Ivan Pereira report that Joe Biden will be the nation’s second Catholic president, after John F. Kennedy. “During his victory speech Saturday night, Biden—who regularly attends Mass and has long been open about his faith—quoted Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 from the Bible. ‘To everything there is a season: a time to build, a time to reap, and a time to sow and a time to heal,’ he said. ‘This is the time to heal in America.'” He ended his speech by quoting the popular Catholic hymn, “On Eagle’s Wings.”
Kamala Harris, Daughter of Jamaican and Indian Immigrants, Elected Nation’s First Female Vice Presidentposted on November 9, 2020
The Washington Post‘s Chelsea Janes reports that Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris brings many “firsts” to her role. “Kamala Devi Harris, a daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, is set to become the highest-ranking woman in the nation’s 244-year existence, as well as a high-profile representation of the country’s increasingly diverse composition,” Janes writes. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, is also breaking barriers: “He will be the first Jewish person to be among the group of presidents, vice presidents and their spouses—and the first male spouse, ever.”