A white Catholic man from Delaware and a black Baptist woman from California claimed the winning prize in the presidential campaign last week. Long time senator and vice president Joe Biden and lawyer, prosecutor, and senator Kamala Harris were elected as president and vice president of the United States. Harris is a member of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco. She also has family roots in the Buddhist faith tradition. They are scheduled to take office on January 20.
Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., a prominent conservative pastor and evangelical adviser to President Donald Trump, died this week at the age of 66. No cause of death was made public, but the minister had recently tested negative for COVID. He was the senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, in the greater DC metro area. Jackson graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts and later earned a MBA from Harvard Business school before becoming a pastor. Jackson was one of dozens of evangelical Christian leaders who encouraged the Trump administration on criminal justice reform by signing a “Justice Declaration” in 2017.
Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz was dismissed from his position after confessing to “moral failure” by which he meant an unfaithfulness to his wife. Lentz posted on Instagram: “This failure is on me, and me alone, and I take full responsibility for my actions.” Lentz, age 41, is one of a number of pastors GQ magazine had described as “hyperpriests” by which they mean people who lead churches frequently attended by celebrities (such as performer Justin Bieber and athlete Tyson Chandler). Lentz himself was an athlete at North Carolina State University and attended King’s College and Seminary in Los Angeles.
Florida minister and presidential advisor Paula White conducted several post-election prayer meetings in which she called upon God to “override” the voters of the nation and keep Donald Trump in office as president. She famously invoked the coming of what she called “African and South American angels”, a reference that seemed to stump most people. That sermonic appeal was accompanied by a period of public speaking in tongues that has gained 640,000 views on YouTube.
Oklahoma City is one of five American metropolitan communities to elect Muslims, for the first time, to represent them in their respective state legislature. Mauree Turner, a 27-year-old convert to Islam was elected to Oklahoma’s legislature. Others were elected in Colorado, Delaware, Florida and Wisconsin. More than 100 Muslim candidates ran for elected office this year, headlined by Ilhan Omar and Rashid Tliab, both of whom won re-election to their second term as members of the United States House of Representatives. All seven of these candidates ran as Democrats.