Religion in the American Culture Wars

Muslims, like Catholics and Mormons, fall victim to our persistent fear of those who worship differently.

CHR Comment: Professor Stephen Prothero of Boston University gives his views on the role that religion has played in American life and politics. He mentions the suspicions Protestants had about Roman Catholics and Mormons as a lens through which to see how conservative Christians are speaking about Islam today.

Source: Trump’s religious bigotry is as American as apple pie: Column

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Church Bodies Divest From Fossil Fuels

CHR Comment: Germany’s Protestant Churches in Hesse and Nassau will no longer invest in fossil fuel companies. The article also includes a statement from Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. An Oxford study says the divestment movement is the fastest growing in history.

Source: World’s Cities Join Growing Push to Divest From Fossil Fuels

Pizza Delivery Man Tipped $700 in Publicity Stunt

This Ohio church’s random act of kindness snowballed into something huge.

CHR Comment: A similar event took place in October (see second link below) with Pastor Markle of Sycamore Creek Church in Pickerington, OH. This more recent event was with Pastor Wright of Life Point Church in Mentor, OH. As noted earlier, these acts appear to be publicity stunts rather than simple acts of kindness. It is not yet clear whether the churches are related to one another or whether the Mentor church is borrowing the practice from the Pickerington church.

Source: Pizza guy tipped $700; church learns later how it helped

https://churchhistoryreview.org/2015/10/17/church-tips-driver-1000-for-5-99-pizza/

Immigration History and the Current Discussion of Syrian Refugees

A wave of migrants from the Mediterranean meets a hostile reception from many Americans. The migrants are seen as alien in religion, culture, politics, law. So different in fact that some Americans argue that they can never be assimilated. They are the Italians, in the 1890s.

CHR Comment: The article uses the example of Italian Catholic immigration to predominantly Protestant America in the nineteenth century to argue for changes in attitude toward Syrian immigrants today. Americans at that time were afraid of Sicilians and mafia due to acts of violence. The comparison seems inexact since the Sicilians weren’t killing people for religious reasons.

Source: A brief history of America’s hostility to a previous generation of Mediterranean migrants — Italians | Public Radio International

Religion in Sub-Saharan Africa

Pope Francis celebrates Mass with many thousands of people in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on his first visit as pontiff to Africa.

CHR Comment: The segment and video on the changing demographics in Africa and Catholicism is helpful. You will find it near the end of the article. Otherwise, the report is about the enthusiasm of Africans for the Pope’s visit.

Source: Pope Francis celebrates rain-soaked Mass in Kenya – BBC News

Keller, Piper, and Carson on Why the Reformation Matters Today

Don Carson, John Piper, and Tim Keller discuss the ongoing relevance of the Reformation for ministry today.

CHR Comment: A brief panel discussion by American Evangelicals considering the ongoing importance of Protestantism after 500 years. Most of the comments are about Luther and Calvin, especially Calvin. The panelists helpfully point out that the Reformers restored the role of primary source study and preaching to Christianity in general, guaranteeing their importance from the Reformation forward. They also mention excesses of the Reformers that should be avoided.

Source: Keller, Piper, and Carson on Why the Reformation Matters Today

Roman Catholic Plot to Destroy Parliament. Guy Fawkes Day

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot; I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

CHR Comment: The infamous gunpowder plot of 1605 is still widely remembered and observed in England though the activities are less about faith than frolic these days. The town of Lewes also remembers the martyrdom of 17 Protestants at this time by hosting huge bonfires.

Source: Q&A: Remember, remember the fifth of November. Who is Guy Fawkes anyway?