Weekend Reading

1. What is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and why does it matter? Should we really ban Indiana for considering such a bill? Joe Carter explains some background on the issue. which is much different than what most people understand from many of the reports going around:

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is a 1993 United States federal law aimed at preventing laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on March 11, 1993 and passed by a unanimous U.S. House and a near unanimous U.S. Senate with three dissenting votes. The bill was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

According to the text of the law, the purposes of the RFRA are:

(1) to restore the compelling interest test as set forth in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963) and Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) and to guarantee its application in all cases where free exercise of religion is substantially burdened; and

(2) to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by government.

2. Social Justice considerations often target racial minorities, leaving the largest group of those in need of justice in the US out. Here is Anthony Bradley explaining why poor whites need social justice, too:

If you want to hear crickets in a room full of educated, missionally minded, culture-shaping evangelicals, ask this question: “What are you doing to serve the needs of poor white people?”

A recent seminary graduate, who is white, asked me what he needed to do to prepare to plant a church in a small lower-class town that is 76 percent black and 21 percent white. He was rightly cautious after reading in Aliens in the Promised Land about Rev. Lance Lewis’ call for a moratorium on white evangelicals planting churches in black areas because of evangelicalism’s cultural obtuseness and patriarchal disposition toward ethnic minorities. Since most black communities in the South are already saturated with churches, I asked this young man why he was not interested in planting a church among the lower-class whites in his county. His response: “It had not occurred to me to plant a church among lower-class whites.”

3. How many stars are there? Here's a video that tries to explain the concept:

As you can probably imagine, one of the most difficult things the family members or loved ones of a victim of an airplane crash face is not having a body to mourn. Sometimes bodies are recoverable, but in many cases, as in the recent Airbus tragedy, they are not.

An airplane crash makes death even more dramatic, too, since the loved one is seen by friends and family one moment only to take off on a plane the next and never be seen again.

Then there are the questions that follow in the wake of the tragedy. Did my loved one suffer? Was it traumatic? Did they have time for any last thoughts? Did they survive the crash only to later?

Now in the case of the recent Airbus tragedy, where it now appears the accident was caused purposely by the co-pilot, there are even more sickening questions. I personally can not imagine what those mothers with babies were thinking as they were holding this little life in their hands, knowing it was about to end.