The Baptists defeated the Catholics, so to speak, in the championship game of the NCAA national women’s basketball tournament in Tampa, Florida. The nation’s leading Baptist university, Baylor University of Waco, Texas, scored with seconds remaining to defeat the nation’s leading Catholic university, Notre Dame University of South Bend, Indiana. It was the third national title for the Baylor Bears (2005, 2012, 2019). It would have been the second for Notre Dame, last year’s winner, who defeated 11-time national champion Connecticut in the semi-final round.
Two Christian movies are making their move this month. “Unplanned” is the story of Abby Johnson, director of a Planned Parenthood clinic who has a dramatic conversion to anti-abortion activism. It is part of a new strategy to move the pro-life movement into the public theaters. Later this month, an animated version of “Pilgrim’s Progress” is set to premiere. It is based on the long-time best-selling book written in 1678 by a Baptist preacher in England, John Bunyan. It has never been out of print, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and is the best selling book (after the Bible) of all time. It is the story of a man named Christian and his journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Many words and phrases from the book are now common in the English language.
The Museum of the Bible, the newest museum in a city of museums, this one funded by the Green family of Hobby Lobby fortune, is pairing up with the Templeton Foundation of Philadelphia to produce an exhibit on the human quest for “greater understanding of the shared curiosity about our world that stimulates both scientific inquiry and biblical interpretation. Museum CEO Ken McKenzie said, “Through this exhibit and accompany initiatives, we hope guests will leave with a deeper appreciation for humanity’s shared curiosity in the big questions that ultimately inspire both scientific inquiry and biblical exploration.”
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has soaked up a lot of the political coverage during the last week and not a little of it centers around religion. In an interview with USA Today, he questioned the notion that President Trump is a Christian. And on the Sunday television program Meet the Press, he attacked the “hypocrisy” of those Christians who support Trump. He is on record as questioning Vice President Mike Pence, comparing his focus on sexual issues with his lack of concern for those most often mentioned by Jesus: the poor, the prisoner, and the stranger. Buttigieg is an active Episcopalian who happens to be gay and happily married to Chasten Glezman, a high school teacher. Buttigieg now ranks third in popularity among Democratic voters in Iowa.
Race and religion had a bad week in these United States. First, The popular Sparrow Conference for women witnessed a white walkout when guest speaker of color Ekemini Uwan spoke about the dangers of “white supremacy.” A 87-year-old center east of Knoxville, Tennessee famous for addressing a range of issues — immigration, prison reform, the environment, worker rights, racial, gender and sex discrimination, was burned to the ground, with signs pointing to arson motivated by racial animus. And in Louisiana, as many as one hundred specialists are investigating fires that destroyed three rural black churches, with visible signs of arson left behind.