MH News August 27, 2020

New York
Roman Catholic Cardinal in New York, Rev. Timothy M. Dolan, delivered the invocation for the 2020 Republican convention meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. He recorded it in New York earlier in the week. The 60-second prayer thanked God for living in a country that respects religious freedom and prayed for people battling COVID-19 and those caring for them, the unborn, the elderly, immigrants and refugees, soldiers, and people facing serious challenges including those whose lives are “threatened by religious persecution throughout the world, or by plague, hunger, drugs, human trafficking or war.” He concluded the prayer by invoking God’s blessing on the presidential nominees of both major political parties and for God’s “wisdom upon an electorate so eager to perform its duty of faithful citizenship.”


Jerry Falwell, Jr. has resigned as president of the world’s largest Christian university, pushed out by sordid revelations of sexual misbehavior involving him, his wife, and a young man in Miami. Falwell and Becki Falwell reportedly met Giancarlo Granda, then a 21-year-old pool attendant and Florida International University student, while vacationing in Miami. The Falwells went into business with Granda, purchasing a South Beach youth hostel. But Granda has now released documents asserting an eight-year affair in which both Falwells were involved. The university board accepted his resignation effective immediately; it is not yet clear what type of severance Falwell received from the school.


The new book by sociologist of religion Robert P. Jones demonstrates that the oft-referred “white Evangelicals” were not the only Christians to vote overwhelmingly for Donald J. Trump for president in 2016. His polling research demonstrates that White Christian America includes white Catholics and white Mainline Protestants along with white Evangelicals; and that they all voted strongly for Trump in 2016 and are poised to do so again in the 2020 election. The book is entitled White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity.


Two granddaughters of the late Charlotte-based evangelist Billy Graham came out this week on opposite sides of current political debate. Cissie Graham Lynch was on the program of the Republican Convention with a three-minute endorsement of Donald J. Trump for re-election as president. “Under the Obama-Biden administration our freedom of religion was under attack.” Her first cousin  Jerushah Duford took the opposite side when she wrote in an op-ed for USA Today. “Like so many others, I feel disoriented as I watch the [Evangelical] church I have always served turn their eyes away from everything it teaches.”  She called on people of faith to reject Trump as morally unfit to serve as president.