In the World
Steve Thorngate on public life and culture
Well, good for Jan Brewer. Yesterday, the Republican governor of Arizona vetoed a bill allowing business owners to discriminate against customers on religious grounds. The bill wasn't explicitly, exclusively aimed at gays and lesbians, but come on—it was aimed at gays and lesbians, part of a multistate effort to create broad protections for people who don't want to serve same-sex couples.
People assume a lot about what Christians are like. And often, we left-leaners are quick to explain not what we are but what we are not: not fixated on others’ damnation, not beholden to the Republican party, not antigay. It’s an understandable impulse. It also makes it that much easier for others to define us out of the faith altogether: they are the ones who believe or do x, y, and z important things; we are the ones who do not.
I don't usually write about preaching or about specific Revised Common Lectionary texts, since that's well covered elsewhere on the site by people more qualified than I. This is just a quick note motivated by the fact that this Sunday's Gospel reading is the subject of one of the more startling RCL factoids that came up when I was reporting my fall article on alternate lectionaries.
I try not to post TOO many "you forgot about us mainline Protestants!" posts. The idea comes up almost daily when I'm going through the news and the blogs, but I know that kind of thing can get old so I try to set the bar pretty high. If a person wanted to make this the focus of a blog, however, a person could do worse than to keep a close eye on the Barna Group.
Frustrating news out of North Dakota: one of the most viable longer-range Amtrak routes is being plagued by delays, courtesy of a parade of freight trains hauling crude away from oil-boom country. This is the point where passenger-rail skeptics and government haters generally laugh and say, what else is new? Amtrak’s running late! But our shell of a national passenger rail system has been dealt a pretty tough hand.
It looks like Washington is about to do what recently seemed a far-off dream: actually enact a farm bill. From a farm-reform perspective, the bill that the House passed and the Senate is now debating is uninspiring, but it could be worse. The same goes for nutrition assistance: the bill doesn’t drastically cut SNAP (food stamps) eligibility and benefits as House Republicans sought to do, but it does cut benefits by more than 1 percent over the next decade.