Nation - Word&Way



The new audio drama podcast “Almelem,” set in first-century Palestine, begins with a perfect plan. A con man, a shrewd businesswoman, a would-be prophet, and a true believer team up to save their country from the Roman Empire. They gather believers and create a seamless campaign strategy. Then Jesus shows up and ruins everything, leaving the main characters with no choice but to invent a new religion on the fly.

Over the weekend, red-shirted members of NatSoc Florida, a new white supremacist group, gathered outside a “Celebration of the Arts” event in Lakeland, Florida. There to protest a drag show that was part of the event, the men waved Nazi flags and signs scrawled with hate speech. Later, the men stood for a photograph while giving a Nazi salute. Three of them held a large emblem as they did so: a Christian flag.

The Supreme Court's conservative majority sounded sympathetic Monday to a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for gay couples, the latest collision of religious freedom and gay rights to land at the high court. A looming question during Monday’s arguments: At what point does an objection to serving someone cross the legal line?

While the meeting at Trump’s club drew national outrage because of Fuentes’ antisemitic and white supremacist views, it was a win for an extreme subset of Christian nationalists who knit together virulent anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ sentiment, opposition to abortion and, in many cases, overt forms of antisemitism and white nationalism.

In this edition of A Public Witness, Brian and Beau highlight the ugly connection between the religious views and antisemitism of Nick Fuentes and Kanye West. Then they issue an explicit call for Christians to be vigilant in loudly rejecting the sinful perpetuation of antisemitism that seems a more common occurrence in our national politics.

In Trump’s 2016 run for the White House and throughout his failed 2020 campaign, white evangelicals were his most stalwart supporters, with about 80% of white evangelicals voting for him. In the weeks since Trump announced he is running for election again in 2024, however, it appears something has changed.

Nick Fuentes, the 24-year-old white supremacist and Christian nationalist leader who dined Tuesday evening with Trump and the rapper Ye, has brought criticism for the former president, who had only a week before launched a new campaign for the White House.

Shortly after Elon Musk officially took charge of Twitter last month, Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, joined a group of civil rights advocates for a meeting with the newly minted social media mogul. Among advocates’ chief concerns: that Musk, a self-declared “free speech absolutist,” would reactivate previously banned accounts — including that of former President Donald Trump.

Contributing writer Rodney Kennedy offers lessons we can glean from the upcoming Georgia runoff election. He argues that the Social Gospel, “the politics of Jesus,” needs rediscovering. In this recovery, it will not be about whether Warnock or Walker wins the Senate seat. The Social Gospel will not center on how people vote but rather on how the church takes the opportunity to be an alternative to the politics of the world.

Our democracy is in trouble and we need to elect pro-democracy candidates. But what if that isn’t sufficient? That’s why Christopher Beem wrote "The Seven Democratic Virtues: What You Can do to Overcome Tribalism and Save Our Democracy." A political scientist with a background in religious ethics, Beem brings the best of both traditions to bear on one of the most pressing challenges of our time.