|Tim Morris: “How Evangelical Came to Mean Hypocrite”
The New Orleans Times-Picayune ran an opinion piece in their newspaper about white evangelical Christians’ support for President Trump. In the article, columnist Tim Morris argues that Trump’s behavior has not been aligned with Christianity – yet many white evangelicals continue to support him. “Through boasts about sexually assaulting women, racist rhetoric, cruel policies to tear apart migrant families and even hush money payoffs to porn stars and Playboy playmates, Trump has counted on the outfit once known as the ‘Moral Majority’ to only shake their heads at his mischief and point to all the good he’s done on the U.S. Supreme Court,” he writes. Morris cites PRRI data to reinforce his argument, noting, “Trump was famously elected with [overwhelming] support from white evangelical voters, a level that was still [consistent] in a Public Religion Research Institute survey taken in late August and early September.”
|The Tragic Killing of Jazmine Barnes
Last Sunday, a seven-year-old African-American girl named Jazmine Barnes was shot and killed by a person who has been described by Houston-area police as an unknown white male in a pickup truck. The shooting took place in parking lot in Harris County (where Houston is located). Barnes and family members were sitting in a parked car when the shooter opened fire on the vehicle, hitting Barnes’ mother, LaPorsha Washington, in the arm. “There was nothing to indicate that the family did anything wrong in any way,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says. Many are convinced that the killing was motivated by race, including Washington, who pointed out that her vehicle did not have tinted windows and the shooter was able to see “a black mother with four beautiful children, girls, in this car.” Hate crimes have been on the rise in the US according to the FBI.
|Religious Diversity in the 116th Congress
The start of the 116th Congress began with laughs, dabs, and a few boos on a historic day where an unprecedentedly diverse group took the oath of office in the U.S. Capitol. One of the clearest indicators that times are changing in Washington is the diverse group of sacred and secular books that members of Congress used to pledge their support for the Constitution. Though the Christian Bible was most frequently used, copies of the U.S. Constitution, Quran, Buddhist Sutra, and Hindu Veda were among the books used by members. Jack Jenkins, writing for Religion News Service examines a Pew Research study on the diversity of the incoming Congress.
Jenkins reports that the number of overall Christians in Congress has slipped from 90.7 percent in the 115th Congress to 88.2 percent in the new session. But Christians are still overrepresented in Congress compared to the population as a whole, where 71 percent identify as Christian. According to Jenkins, “Most Christians in Congress are Protestant, including 72 Baptists, 42 Methodists, and 26 members each for Presbyterians, Lutherans and Anglicans/Episcopalians. Catholics make up 30.5 percent with 163 members, and Mormons claim 1.9 percent with 10 members. Five members of Congress are Orthodox Christian.” Pew also finds that the majority of non-Christian members of Congress are Democrats. Jenkins writes, “61 of the 281 Democrats or independents are non-Christian: In addition to 32 Jewish members, all Muslims (three), Hindus (three), Buddhists (two) and Unitarian Universalists (two) in Congress caucus with Democrats.” Not only is the new Congress extremely diverse, it also has more millennials than ever. The number of millennials jumped from five in the 115th Congress to 26 in the 116th.