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Weekly Roundup

Here are a few stories from this week that deserve notice:

* Korey D. Maas, a Lutherann pastor and university professor penned a fantastic piece for First Things critiquing conservative media pundits for inaccurately attacking a school teacher he knows very well. She was villainized last month as "proof" of a "War on Christmas." Maas wrote:
Such behavior would be entirely unbecoming of Christians even if the teacher in question were all the things she has been called. In fact, she is herself a pious and confessional Christian, though it would be impossible to discern as much from the coverage of much Christian media. ... n slandering this woman, conservative and Christian media have made it even more difficult to take seriously the many similar stories in which some Christian’s rights are trampled. This is no way to wage, much less to win, a culture war.

* Kirsten Powers, a pundit for Fox News, wrote a great USA Today column noting one problem with placing Ten Commandment monuments on public land - one must then open the space up for other faiths. She specifically notes the debate in Oklahoma as a group is seeking to place a monument to Satan on the lawn of the state Capitol building since the Ten Commandments were placed there (although my friend Bruce Prescott is suing to have that idol removed). Citing James Madison, she correctly argues that this case shows how efforts to force our faith with backfire. Thus, she concludes, Christians "should just focus on living out the Ten Commandments and ditch the monuments."

*The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has been holding worship services outdoors for those protesting against the Ukrainian government. As a result, the Ukrainian government now threatens to outlaw the Church. With protesters occupying a public square since November, priests have been holding services and also set up tents to take confession and perform baptisms. Church leaders seem defiant in the face of government threats (which should not be surprising as they were banned during the Soviet era). It is good to see priests ministering to people and standing up to oppression. Photos of a priest standing peacefully with a cross in front of riot police offer a poignant contrast. This story also shows the need for true religious freedom.

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