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Senator Kamala Harris of California could become the fifth Baptist to serve as U.S. vice president. She would stand in stark contrast to other Baptist VPs — especially the first one, a slaveholder who was open about his enslaved common-law wife and their children.b

Last week President Donald Trump attacked his presumptive Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, on religious grounds. It’s been 220 years since the religion card was played so bigly in an American presidential campaign. The precedent is more apt than you might think.

We humans can’t live by bad news alone. We need breaks during which we can focus on truth, beauty, and goodness — or on the sublime music of J.S. Bach, sometimes called the fifth evangelist.

Baptist

Senator Kamala Harris of California could become the fifth Baptist to serve as U.S. vice president. She would stand in stark contrast to other Baptist VPs — especially the first one, a slaveholder who was open about his enslaved common-law wife and their children.b

After a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut Tuesday (Aug. 4), Baptists in that Middle Eastern nation immediately asked for prayers — and then started ministering to their neighbors before the dust from the blast even settled.

After a massive explosion rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut Tuesday (August 4), Baptists in the country quickly requested prayers. The blast killed at least 73 people and injured more than 3,000 others.

Nation

Few, if any, vice presidential candidates have had as much exposure to the world’s religions as Kamala Harris, the 55-year-old senator from California who Joseph Biden just picked as his running mate. Here are five faith facts about Harris.

The Scripture quite literally came to life for several Catholic churches in North Carolina as a rare earthquake rattled portions of the state over the weekend during Sunday services.

As the new academic year arrives, school systems across the United States are struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Roman Catholic educators have an extra challenge — trying to forestall a relentless wave of closures of their schools that has no end in sight.

World

The world witnessed fleeting glimpses of the horror wrought on the Lebanese people on Aug. 4 through videos that circulated widely online, among them that dramatic footage as Rabih Thoumy celebrated Mass via livestream from Saint Maron-Baouchrieh church. He recounts the explosion and aftermath.

A court in Myanmar on Thursday sentenced the Canadian pastor of an evangelical church to three months imprisonment after finding him guilty of violating a law intended to combat the spread of the coronavirus. 

South Korean prosecutors arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect Saturday as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s anti-virus response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March.

Faith & Culture

Last week President Donald Trump attacked his presumptive Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, on religious grounds. It’s been 220 years since the religion card was played so bigly in an American presidential campaign. The precedent is more apt than you might think.

Just as the faithful clung to religious iconography — whether true relic or icon — during pestilent periods in the Middle Ages, relics remain relevant to the hopeful in the modern era. 

When it comes to coping with the stress and uncertainty of a pandemic, most Americans are turning not to God, but to TV. That’s just one of the findings of a Pew Research Center survey released Friday (Aug. 7).

Scriptures in Pictures

A parable in Judges 9 about picking poor political leaders, as seen in photos from political protests in Lebanon following a deadly explosion in Beirut that killed more than 150 people.

References to the beauty and glory of Lebanon appear throughout the Old Testament. And in Jeremiah 22, the weeping prophet urges Jerusalem to cry for the destruction of Lebanon — a passage today seen through photos of the August 4, 2020 explosion in Beirut.

Three biblical passages about the bones of Joseph (Genesis 50:24-25, Exodus 13:18-19, Joshua 24:31-32), as seen in photos from a recent service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to bless the ashes of Mexicans who died from COVID-19 before the ashes were repatriated to Mexico.

Editorials

Editor Brian Kaylor reflects on the sudden ending of the Gospel of Mark and what it means to have faith during a time of uncertainty like the coronavirus pandemic.

Between a global pandemic, massive protests against racial injustices, and a divisive election, Editor Brian Kaylor argues that 2020 is a year that demands more cellos.

Editor Brian Kaylor reflects on the passing of Baptist civil rights giants C.T. Vivian and John Lewis, and what it would mean to really honor the legacy of those two and their fellow Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr.

W&W Voices

Columnist Greg Mamula reflects on the power of stories and how we need stories that come from outside our immediate context to remind us of different experiences.

Columnist Ken Satterfield unpacks how to use the HEIC photo format as church communicators may find themselves with new phones offering better ways of capturing and sharing ministry moments.

The word for 2020 is disorder. Thankfully, writes columnist Terrell Carter, Psalm 93 reminds us that God’s power and authority rises above the disorder of our lives.

Other Opinions

We humans can’t live by bad news alone. We need breaks during which we can focus on truth, beauty, and goodness — or on the sublime music of J.S. Bach, sometimes called the fifth evangelist.

Alan Cross, a Southern Baptist pastor in California, reflects on how his church has worked to both meet in person for worship and follow state health restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As a White House staffer, Melissa Rogers had the opportunity to see Vice President Biden up close. That’s why she writes that Trump’s assertions about Biden’s faith could not be more wrong.

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