Is There a Religious Left?

On June 27, 2015, Bree Newsome, an artist and the daughter of a Baptist preacher, removed the Confederate flag in front of the South Carolina State House. (Image: Source: Photograph by Adam Anderson / Reuters)

Why progressive activism rooted in faith is so often misconstrued.

(The New Yorker)

“In the name of Jesus, this flag has to come down.” So begins one of the most consequential sermons of the twenty-first century. Bree Newsome, a thirty-year-old artist from North Carolina, was a few dozen feet above the ground, scaling a flagpole in front of the South Carolina State House. Police officers were hollering up at her, demanding that she come down, but she kept climbing, and kept preaching: “You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today.”

Newsome had been thinking about that Confederate flag for some time. Her ancestors had been enslaved in South Carolina, and she had heard stories from her grandmother about the violence perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan in Greenville. Then, on June 17, 2015, a white supremacist murdered nine black parishioners during a Bible study at a church in Charleston, and Newsome decided it was time for the flag to come down. Ten days later, after meeting with other activists—including one who had scaled trees for Greenpeace—and practicing on a few lampposts, she climbed the thirty-foot pole outside the State House, reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the Twenty-seventh Psalm as she rose higher and higher, removed the flag, and returned it to the ground, where a crowd applauded and the police arrested her. Newsome spent about seven hours in jail; the Confederate flag was restored before she had even been released. But, by the second week of July, after millions of Americans had seen photographs or footage of her climb, the state legislature voted to permanently remove the flag from the capitol, and, in the years that followed, many other Confederate memorials and statues have come down around the country.

The daughter of a Baptist preacher who was once the dean of the Howard University School of Divinity, Newsome came by her faith and her preaching honestly, yet almost all of the publicity that followed her act of civil disobedience stripped her protest of its theological tenor. Such is the fate of much of the activism of the so-called religious left: if it is successful, it is subsumed by broader causes and coalitions; if it fails, it is forgotten. For all the opprobrium directed at the religious right, the activism of religious leftists suffers a different fate, alternately ignored and fetishized, trotted out every election cycle with a tone befitting the Second Coming: always just about to happen. This year’s Presidential race is the most obvious occasion for the new book “American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country,” by the reporter Jack Jenkins.

Read Full Story: The New Yorker

George Floyd Left a Gospel Legacy in Houston

(Image: Source: Nijalon Dunn / Courtesy of Resurrection Houston)

As a person of peace, “Big Floyd” opened up ministry opportunities in the Third Ward housing projects.

The rest of the country knows George Floyd from several minutes of cell phone footage captured during his final hours. But in Houston’s Third Ward, they know Floyd for how he lived for decades—a mentor to a generation of young men and a “person of peace” ushering ministries into the area.

Before moving to Minneapolis for a job opportunity through a Christian work program, the 46-year-old spent almost his entire life in the historically black Third Ward, where he was called “Big Floyd” and regarded as an “OG,” a de-facto community leader and elder statesmen, his ministry partners say.

Floyd spoke of breaking the cycle of violence he saw among young people and used his influence to bring outside ministries to the area to do discipleship and outreach, particularly in the Cuney Homes housing project, locally known as “the Bricks.”

“George Floyd was a person of peace sent from the Lord that helped the gospel go forward in a place that I never lived in,” said Patrick PT Ngwolo, pastor of Resurrection Houston, which held services at Cuney.

“The platform for us to reach that neighborhood and the hundreds of people we reached through that time and up to now was built on the backs of people like Floyd,” he told Christianity Today.

Full Story:

About Half of the Texas Church Shooting Victims Were Children

Presented by The Gospel Coalition

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — About half of the victims killed in the worst mass shooting inside a house of worship in U.S. history were children, including one who was only a year old, Texas officials said Monday.

Twenty-six people were shot dead during the Sunday massacre at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small, tight-knit town about 30 miles outside of San Antonio. Of them, 12 to 14 were kids, according to Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt.

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Yes, This is Racism – Christian Pastor Calls Out White America In Response To Virginia Rally

This is Racism

Yes, This is Racism
Christian Pastor John Pavlovitz has been in the ministry for 20 years. Yesterday he posted a very sincere, eloquent response to the violence that occurred in Charlottesville Virginia, during a racists alt-right rally by white supremacists. Below are his words:

As a writer and pastor, my job is to weave together words so that those words will hopefully reach people in their deepest places; to frame the experience of this life in a way that is somehow compelling or creative or interesting, causing them to engage with the world differently than before.

But there are times when to do this would be actually be a disservice to reality, when any clever wordplay would only soften the jagged, sickening truth; when clever turns of phrase might succeed in obscuring the horrid ugliness in front of us.

Sometimes we just need to say it without adornment or finessing.

What we’ve watched unfolding in Charlottesville, with hundreds of white people bearing torches and chanting about the value of white lives and shouting slurs, is not a “far Right” protest. When you move that far right, past humanity, past decency, past goodness—you’re something else.

You’re not a supremacist, you’re not a nationalist, and you’re not alt-Right.

This is racism.
This is domestic terrorism.
This is religious extremism.
This is bigotry.
It is blind hatred of the most vile kind.
It doesn’t represent America.
It doesn’t represent Jesus.
It doesn’t speak for the majority of white Americans.
It’s a cancerous, terrible, putrid sickness that represents the absolute worst of who we are.

Read the full article at Pastor Pavlovitz’s website:


Jesus’ Radical Easter Politics

Christopher J. Hale (

Easter is a call to rise up and proclaim a community that will outlive all kingdoms

“Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.” These wondrous words have become so stale that we’ve perhaps forgotten how weird and how wonderful they truly are.

The disciples’ first reactions to this news were remarkable. You can feel their excitement jump off the pages of the New Testament. After an encounter with the resurrected Jesus, Peter goes back to downtown Jerusalem and, filled with a new spirit, gives the first great Christian sermon. He tells the crowds the startling news that Jesus had been raised from the dead and is the Lord of the entire earth.

Peter’s central claim—and the claim of the entire Christian faith—that “Jesus is Lord” might seem commonplace today, but it was very scandalous in ancient Rome.

“Jesus is Lord” was a direct affront to the popular Roman slogan “Caesar is Lord.” By refusing to submit to Caesar Augustus as Lord and claiming a new king and a new kingdom, Jesus and his followers were committing nothing short of treason.

Read the full article at:

What is Easter all about? Resurrection or eggs and bunnies?


Walk past any store’s Easter display and you’re guaranteed to see bunnies, eggs, and candy. What you probably won’t see is much evidence of the Easter story itself, as told in the Bible’s four Gospels: that Jesus was arrested, beaten, and hung on a cross to die only to be resurrected on Easter Sunday.

But Easter is by most accounts the single most significant Christian holiday, since, as the Apostle Paul says, without Jesus’s death and resurrection, the entire Christian faith is “in vain.”

So how did Easter go from the day Jesus rose again to the day giant bunnies leave pastel-colored eggs all over your house?

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Paris attacks: Buildings lit in solidarity with France

Paris attacks: Buildings lit in solidarity with France – BBC News

Condemnation of Friday’s attacks on Paris and expressions of condolence have echoed around the world.
Several of the world’s most famous buildings – including the World Trade Center in New York – were lit up with the colours of the French flag in a gesture of solidarity.

Video courtesy of YouTube/BBC News