News - Word&Way



A Republican-dominated South Dakota House committee on Friday rejected Gov. Kristi Noem’s proposal to require public schools to have a moment of silence to start the day. The Republican governor first billed the proposal at a conservative Christian conference in Iowa last year as “putting prayer back in schools.”

In a recent speech the pope revived his criticism of rich countries that force their values on poorer nations, erasing their local cultures and traditions. Francis’s thinking, experts say, can be traced back to his days in Argentina, where, as Jorge Bergoglio, he led the Archdiocese of Bueno Aires.

In this issue of A Public Witness, we tune into the oral arguments in Shurtleff v. City of Boston. We also judge the effort to undermine the Jeffersonian-called separation of church and state by conservative Christians and unlikely allies like President Joe Biden and the ACLU.

Afghanistan is the most dangerous country for Christians, according to an annual list put together by the Christian watchdog group Open Doors. It is the first time in two decades that North Korea has not been at the top of the list. Open Doors said the Taliban’s takeover of the Afghan government in mid-August forced many Afghan Christians — most of whom are converts from Islam — to go into hiding.

Regardless of what happens on Capitol Hill, Progressive National Baptist Convention leaders said they plan to lobby Congress in March and register voters weekly in their congregations and communities.

In this issue of A Public Witness, we study the political effort behind the Bible blitz. We also quiz this movement to consider the pedagogical and religious problems with such legislation. 

On Saturday, a man took people hostage in Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. The congregation’s rabbi is particularly well connected to the larger interfaith community and on good terms with many Muslim and Christian leaders.

A religion scholar believes major trends in religion and politics can be traced back to the rise of the religious right in the 1990s, a sea change moment that set in motion an array of phenomena ranging from an uptick in religious disaffiliation to the radicalization of some Christian conservatives.

At a diverse multi-ethnic church, refugees, and immigrants find a home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at a time when many White evangelicals view newcomers with suspicion.

We introduce you to the man behind Shurtleff v. City of Boston ahead of oral arguments on Jan. 18. Through an unparalleled review of his decades-long advocacy career and an exclusive interview, we look at the man whose case could upend two centuries of U.S. church-state relations.