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The Christian Prophets Who Say Trump Is Coming Again

posted on February 23, 2021

For Politico Magazine, Julia Duin reports that there are a growing number of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christian leaders who are prophesying a return of the Trump presidency in March. She writes, “Many observers worry that these prophets are sowing more confusion, blurring the line between misinformation and religious proclamation.” These prophets play off the belief among some white Christians that Trump was divinely chosen to lead the nation. She writes, “Not all prophets have doubled down on their Trump prophecies since the election, however. And as some have backed away from Trump, a schism has emerged.”

Read at Politico Magazine

Disinformation Fuels a White Evangelical Movement. It Led 1 Virginia Pastor to Quit.

posted on February 23, 2021

NPR’s Dalia Mortada, Rachel Martin, and Bo Hamby delve into the recent driving forces of Christian nationalism: conspiracy theories and lies. They chronicle the experience of Baptist Pastor Jered Stacy, who left Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in November. Stacy became disillusioned as he watched church members fuse QAnon conspiracy theories about the 2020 election with Christian theology. He said, “The danger was of them being given a co-opted Jesus, a Jesus who believed in Q, a Jesus who believed in deep state, a Jesus who automatically voted Republican.”

 

Read at NPR

Jews Split Over Storied Charity’s Support for Settlements

posted on February 23, 2021

Joseph Krauss of the Associated Press reports that the Jewish National Fund’s Israeli counterpart is deliberating new initiatives that would expand its influence into the West Bank. He writes, “That has sparked fierce opposition from the left-leaning Jewish groups in the United States, deepening a rift with the increasingly right-wing Israeli government.” The CEO of the Jewish National Fund, Russell Robinson, said, “We are working overtime to bridge the differences and to establish more commonality, but we’re not going to forsake our core commitments to do so.”

Read at Associated Press

Rush Limbaugh, Who Shaped Conservative Christian Politics on the Radio, Has Died

posted on February 22, 2021

Bob Smietana of Religion News Service reports that Rush Limbaugh has died at the age of 70 from lung cancer. The contentious political commentator spoke candidly about his faith, particularly in his last year of life after his diagnosis, commenting, “Life is the most precious thing we have and probably the thing that most people take for granted.” Limbaugh also had a profound effect on conservative Christianity. Smietana writes, “The radio show host — along with other media voices — appealed to Christian conservatives and often had more influence on the politics of evangelicals than their pastors.”

Read at Religion News Service

“How Many Funerals Will Come From This One?”

posted on February 22, 2021

The New York Times’ Patrick Kingsley reports that the ultra-Orthodox in Israel are suffering from exponentially higher rates of Covid due to large social and religious gatherings, as well as an aversion to hospital care. Many members of the Haredi community have ignored social distancing guidelines because they view attendance of large religious gatherings—such as funerals—as a personal duty. Yet, Kingsley writes, “For every ultra-Orthodox person attending a crowded funeral, or posting a subversive sign, there is another diligently staying at home.”

Read at The New York Times

The Multiethnic Church Movement Hasn’t Lived up to its Promise

posted on February 22, 2021

For Christianity Today, Korie Little Edwards chronicles the growing movement of multiracial churches and their difficulty to confront systemic racism. She writes, “Multiracial churches tend to mimic white churches in their culture and theology; whites are not comfortable with black church culture or addressing the elephant in the room, race; multiracial churches work—that is, remain diverse—to the extent that their white members are comfortable.” Edwards proposes that multiracial churches can still thrive with the right mindset, writing, “God has not called the church to ‘diversity.’ God has called the church to oneness.”

Read at Christianity Today

Ash Wednesday Rituals Tweaked for Coronavirus as Christians Are Reminded of Death

posted on February 17, 2021

The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports that this Ash Wednesday will look remarkably different than years past, in light of the pandemic. The Christian ritual typically consists of a minister or priest placing ashes on one’s forehead in the shape of a cross, accompanied by the reminder that “you are from dust and unto dust you shall return.” Esau McCaulley, a biblical scholar at Wheaton college, said, “To remember you’re going to die isn’t going to have the shock when you have the context of half a million people have died.” Some churches are instituting socially distanced ways for members to receive their ashes and mark the holiday.

Read at The Washington Post

Ravi Zacharias, Influential Evangelist, Is Accused of Sexual Abuse in Scathing Report

posted on February 16, 2021

The New York Times’ Ruth Graham reports that the ministry of evangelist Ravi Zacharias has released a report detailing his sexual misconduct. She writes, “After initially denying accounts of his misconduct, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries announced that an investigation had found credible evidence of sexual misconduct spanning many years and multiple continents.” Zacharias died last spring while still denying the allegations. Graham writes, “The report is a devastating blow for the reputation of a man who was for decades a widely admired evangelical leader.”

 

Read at The New York Times

No Execution: Court Sides With Inmate Wanting Pastor Present

posted on February 16, 2021

Kim Chandler of the Associated Press reports, “An Alabama inmate won a reprieve from a planned lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court said the state must allow his personal pastor in the death chamber.” Justice Amy Coney Barrett sided with Elena Kagan and two other justices to affirm Smith’s request for his pastor to be present, which the state of Alabama does not allow due to security concerns. Smith’s lawyers wrote, “Mr. Smith pled that he believes that the point of transition between life and death is important, and that having his spiritual advisor physically present at that moment is integral to his faith.” The execution is postponed while the state reviews its options.

Read at Associated Press

Biden Signs Executive Order Reestablishing White House Faith Office

posted on February 16, 2021

Jack Jenkins and Adelle M. Banks of Religion News Service report, “President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Sunday (Feb. 14) reestablishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, undoing former President Donald Trump’s efforts to reshape an agency that went largely unstaffed for most of his tenure.” Former Director Melissa Rodgers will lead the office, as she did during the Obama administration. The office will focus on protecting the separation of church and state, as well as “helping disadvantaged communities, advancing global humanitarian work, strengthening pluralism.”

 

Read at Religion News Service