Weekly Roundup

April 04, 2014

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

* NPR offered an important investigative report into Daystar, a Christian television network. Daystar claims on its tax records to be a church, which means it does not have to report data that religious non-profits do. Making matters worse, NPR actually got some of the financial documents and it makes Daystar look more like false prophets only concerned about profits. The problem with Daystar's abuse of the tax code and financial misfocus is that it could threaten the benefits for legitimate churches and it hurts the gospel message.

* With yet another 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled this week to strip away one of the last remaining campaign finance laws that are designed to protect democracy from corruption and keep the playing field more level for all citizens. The problematic Citizens United case in 2010 unleashed a flood of new money into campaigns, making it harder for an average American to run for office or even meet with their "representatives." Now, the McCutcheon case will bring even more money into our political system and grant the wealthiest few even more disproportionate influence. At this rate it seems we are just a couple of Supreme Court rulings away from just canceling elections and opening up bidding on Wall Street for the White House and Congress.

* A little "Christian" movie, God's Not Dead, has garnered some headlines due to its impressive box office showings the last few weeks. However, some thoughtful writers offer important warnings about the film and urge conservative Christians to stop celebrating it. Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, a devout conservative Christian, offered a brilliant take on how the film is bad art. He criticizes the film for engaging in "characterization by caricature." Mennonite Jordan Farrell similarly criticized the film for gross stereotyping. Instead of stereotyping, Gerson instead urged Christians to develop good art: that

[Good art] finds hints of grace among the ruins of broken lives, where most of us can only hope to find it. Art is truly religious only when it is fully human.
Amen! His argument nicely matches the main argument of great book Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle. If something is not good art, how can it be godly art?

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