MH News June 25, 2020

The Nashville newspaper The Tennessean reacted strongly to the inadvertent publishing of a full-page ad in their Sunday edition which included anti-Muslim text. An advertising manager was fired, and the parent company, Gannett, donated $14,000 (the cost of the ad) to the American Muslim Advisory Council. In addition, they gave the Council $50,000 in advertising credit. The ad was purchased by an Arkansas non-profit called Future for America, a group with thin ties with the Seventh Day Adventist movement and led by Bible prophecy teacher Jeff Pippenger. The ad predicted that Donald Trump would be the last American president and blamed the Muslims for an impending nuclear explosion in the United States.


San Antonio
Generous and popular philanthropist Barbara Baugh, known as Babs, was laid to rest in Houston, Texas. For years, Baugh had been president of the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation of San Antonio, Texas, built on the success of the world-wide food delivery company SYSCO. The Foundation has given millions to Baptist causes, especially the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Baylor University (with its Truett Seminary), Central Baptist Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas, Mercer University (and their McAfee School of Theology), and scores of smaller initiatives. Baugh was 78 and died after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.


Bethel University in Minneapolis leads the way among Christian colleges and universities in institutional shrinkage, much of it forced by COVID 19. They eliminated 11 majors, two graduate programs, 28 staff, and 36 faculty.  Other schools reporting dramatic cutbacks include Southeastern University in Florida, Hardin-Simmons University in Texas, Southern Baptist Seminary in Kentucky, John Brown University and Harding University both in Arkansas. Other schools responding to the even broader decline in college-age students include Taylor University in Indiana and Charleston Southern in South Carolina. These follow significant consolidation in 2019 by such schools as Gordon College in Massachusetts, Malone University in Ohio. Indiana Wesleyan University in Indiana, and Azusa Pacific University in California. Two schools have closed: Nebraska Christian and Concordia University-Portland.


Passion Church in Atlanta hosted billionaire owner of Chic-fil-A Dan Cathy and superstar performer Lecrae, both practicing Christians, in a public conversation about race in America. Lecrae described his life-long mistreatment at the hands of police, and Cathy implored white Christians to repent of racism and fight for racial justice. The Sunday service, moderated by pastor Louie Giglio, came between the death and burial of Atlanta resident Rayshard Brooks. That funeral service was hosted by Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and led by pastor Raphael Warnock (who happens to be running for an open Senate seat from Georgia).


San Francisco
The world-wide movement to protest racist histories and practices is sweeping up unlikely subjects in its wrath. In San Francisco, a city founded by and named for Christian missionaries, protesters toppled a statue of Junipero Serra, a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Protesters in Los Angels followed suit and brought down his statue in their city. Serra is revered by some Catholics for his efforts to settle the region and convert the natives; he founded 21 missions along the coast of what is now California. But native Americas recount a very different history, one that subjected them to slave labor, imprisonment, and broad restrictions on movement. “Father Serra represents the invasion of California and the taking of native lands”, explained history professor Cliff Trafzer the director of California’s Center for Native Nations at the University of California at Riverside.