Weekly Roundup

April 25, 2014

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

* Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a law this week allowing guns to be carried in churches (and some other places). Reverend Raphael Warnock of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr.'s mother was shot and killed in the sanctuary, rightly criticized the law:

The message of today's bill signing is very clear: Our politicians, tragically, are owned by the gun lobby. ... When we say pass the peace, we mean P-E-A-C-E, not the P-I-E-C-E.
Sad but true!

* Adweek reported on the efforts of Faith Driven Consumer, an advocacy group, to rate companies based on how well they line up with a Christian worldview. These five-star rating system could be helpful to Christians hoping to live out their values more carefully and deliberately. However, the rating equation remains problematic. The ratings are based on company positions on abortion and same-sex marriage, along with a focus on wholesome, non-pornographic entertainment and philanthropic commitment. This rating system, however, avoids looking at issues of fair trade (or the inverse issue of exploitative labor) that would hurt many of the companies that got very good ratings. Additionally, the rating system does not consider the problems of consumerism and materialism, which would likely hurt many of the companies. Since Jesus talked a lot more about money than abortion and homosexuality, it seems odd to call this rating system a look at a "biblical worldview." Interestingly, last year I reported on an Australian Baptist effort to rate clothing companies based on ethical practices. Some companies declared by Faith Driven Consumer to be lining up with a "biblical worldview" have unethical practices (and vice versa). It would seem that how a company treats their workers would be more important than the stated political beliefs of the company's leaders.

* Pope Francis called a women who had written to him (as he called others who have shared concerns or problems), and he told her she could take communion even though she married a divorced man. Francis's comment goes against official Catholic law, but might signal changes coming. With calls like that, Francis continues to model both connectedness to people and a focus on grace.

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