Weekly Roundup

March 07, 2014

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

* Some Christians in the U.S. complain about being persecuted by their government. Yet, they do not seem to understand how fortunate we are to have religious liberty (by which I do not mean the right to force our religion on others). The latest news from Belarus gives a picture of actual government infringement on religious liberty. Christians in other nations suffer similar - or worse - persecution just for trying to worship.

* A Kentucky Baptist evangelistic effort has rightly sparked controversy. They are giving away guns to make a political point about supporting the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and to attract men to church. Regardless what one thinks about gun rights, they are not gospel. The Prince of Peace did not hold sword raffles just to try and attract people. Thus, this effort helps prove that just because something brings people in that does not make it appropriate. Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics offered a reasoned critique of this effort in an interview with Voice of Russia.

* The Washington Post covered how the immigration issue impacts the congressional district that I live in since our congressman, Republican Bob Goodlatte, is the key figure in the House of Representatives on possible immigration reform legislation (for background, see post here about when I met with Goodlatte on the issue). The Washington Post piece tackled this subject in a bit of a travel format, tracing the district as one drives up Interstate 81. Here is how they described the city I live in:

Once the highway reaches Harrisonburg, a liberal university town with a long-established program for foreign refugees, one can find Puerto Rican mechanics, Pakistani professors, Iraqi exiles, Peruvian restaurant owners and Chinese college students, as well as the more numerous Mexicans and Central Americans who come to pick fruit or process turkeys. In the city’s public schools, where 17 percent of new students speak little English, officials work hard to help them and their parents adjust, sponsoring tamale-making contests, literacy classes and soccer tournaments.
That is a fairly good description of the diversity of our city, although the list of restaurant nations could have been much longer. One of the points made implicitly in this description is that knowing people changes how people see issues like immigration reform from just being abstract.