Editorials - Word&Way



Brian KaylorAbout the Editor

Brian Kaylor started as the ninth editor of Word&Way in December of 2016. An award-winning journalist and author, he has written four books and worked for several Baptist ministries.

Bob Dylan famously declared, “The times they are a-changin’.” In the world of journalism that sure feels spot on. Nearly every week another story hits about some publication going out of print or even out of business. And nearly every week it seems there’s also another attack on press freedom rights.

Why should a person be punished because our lawmakers were slow to recognize their error? If a sentence is wrong, then it is wrong. We shouldn’t measure truth or justice by a calendar.

Daniel knew the danger of refusing an order from the king. But Daniel knew he must do what's right, regardless of the social pressures or the political consequences. 

On a recent road trip, I listened to Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis. I’d heard the lead character, Elmer Gantry, used as an insult about fraudulent clergy, Soon I heard something that almost caused me to swerve off the highway.

The leader stood condemned. He had acted unlawfully. He had tried to undermine the government. He had been caught. The testimony was clear, the evidence overwhelming. The only thing left was to offer punishment. But the politician bringing the verdict at the trial couldn’t do it. Political expediency demanded he act carefully. The facts didn’t matter as much as maintaining power.

Next week, “voting” will finally begin in the 2020 presidential election. I put voting in quote marks because it’s hard to call what happens in Iowa a vote. And having observed in person such, uh, let’s call it “candidate picking,” I also wonder if serves as a good reminder about not getting stuck on bad traditions.

During a visit in September to Auschwitz, the beauty of the place haunted me. Rows of trees popped up between the brick buildings. It looked so quaint. So normal. So not grotesque. So not evil.

As the U.S. Supreme Court today (Jan. 22) hears arguments in a critical church-state case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, one problematic phrase the justices will likely hear a lot is “Blaine amendments." The problem? The phrase tells an inaccurate story.

Across the country, state lawmakers recently returned to their chambers to pass important matters like putting up little signs in schools to magically make our society better. We should post this phrase everywhere and watch the miraculous transformation!

At the Christmas Eve service I attended recently, the Christ candle in the Advent wreath wouldn’t light. The pastor tried and tried. Eventually, as giggles worked their way down the crowded pews, he said everyone should just pretend it was lit.