Can a tender-hearted president solve the Southern Baptists’ trust problem?


(RNS) — The Southern Baptist Convention has trouble with a capital T — and that stands for trust. The lack of trust was palpable during the SBC’s recent annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, where local church messengers often overruled Baptist leaders from the meeting floor. “As far as trust in leadership — that is one … Read more

Indian Hindus turn to honoring ‘corona goddess’ to quell pandemic


MUMBAI (RNS) — As the first wave of COVID-19 spread through India last June, Anilan Namboothiri, a resident of the southern state of Kerala, set up a new idol in his home shrine that he honors as “corona devi,” or corona goddess: The unusual polystyrene figure, resembling the spiky COVID-19 protein, found its place alongside … Read more

James Forbes’ ode to Juneteenth calls on Americans to embrace the promise of freedom


(RNS) — The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr. was already an adult when he first began to understand the significance of Juneteenth. It was his wife, Bettye, whom he met in the early ’60s when they were both students at Howard University, who helped him gain an appreciation for the commemoration. She had grown up … Read more

‘We still have work to do’: How to understand the new Juneteenth holiday


(RNS) — President Joe Biden signed legislation on Thursday (June 17) recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday, marking June 19 as a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States and be mindful of Black Americans’ struggles for freedom. Celebrated for more than 100 years, though mostly in Black communities, and already … Read more

Boris Johnson and Britain are having their own Catholic crisis


LONDON (RNS) — As the American Catholic bishops debate whether President Joe Biden should receive Holy Communion given his support for abortion rights, outrage has been building in the United Kingdom since the country’s chief executive, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, recently came out as Catholic, to the concern of British Catholics, some parish priests and parliamentarians. … Read more

Southern Baptists approve abuse task force, say abusive pastors should be banned


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) — The newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention got his first marching orders on Wednesday (June 16). Messengers to the SBC’s annual meeting directed President Ed Litton to set up a task force to address concerns Southern Baptist leaders have mistreated abuse victims and mishandled allegations of abuse. The denomination’s … Read more

Mohler out, SBC presidential race a runoff between Litton, Stone


NASHVILLE (RNS) — A heated race for Southern Baptist Convention president is headed for a runoff. With more than 14,000 ballots cast, none of the four candidates for president received 50% of votes. Georgia pastor Mike Stone (36.35%) and Alabama pastor Ed Litton (32.38%), each received about a third of the vote. R. Albert Mohler, … Read more

SBC Executive Committee rejects request for system-wide abuse inquiry


NASHVILLE, Tenn (RNS) — As the delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting gathered on Monday (June 14) in Nashville, Tennessee, for the next day’s opening gavel, the denomination’s Executive Committee rejected a request to broaden an inquiry into its handling of sexual abuse allegations to include all the entities of the SBC. Committee … Read more

At least three critical race theory statements proposed for Southern Baptist meeting


(RNS) — If he had the chance to turn back time, Pastor Stephen Feinstein says, he might not have proposed Resolution 9. The innocuous-sounding and nonbinding statement adopted by Southern Baptists who attended their 2019 annual meeting has contributed to a fierce battle over critical race theory, an academic approach to understanding systemic racism. The … Read more

Liberty grad Nightbirde captures hearts, Golden Buzzer on ‘America’s Got Talent’


(RNS) — Hers was the ethereal voice “America’s Got Talent” host Terry Crews said “we all need to hear this year.” Jane Marczewski’s performance of her original song “It’s OK” won her the coveted Golden Buzzer from TV’s toughest judge, Simon Cowell, earlier this week on the NBC show, showering the singer, who performs as … Read more