Meet the interfaith members of Burkina Faso's anti-terrorist militias
Plus building tension in Israeli government and a "Father Stu" review
Hi ReligionUnplugged readers,
In Burkina Faso, a West African country of 21 million, a militia group formed by the government defends rural areas. The VDP is a controversial group, facing accusations of human rights violations and beliefs that their existence will spur on a larger civil war.
In this week’s top story, contributor Joseph Hammond introduces some of the VDP’s members across faiths, from Christian to Muslim to animist.
Jerusalem correspondent Gil Zohar says another election in Israel is likely — the country’s fifth in three years. Much of the tension has risen over disputes related to the enforcement of kosher dietary restrictions and prayer spaces for non-Orthodox Jews.
Culture writer Joseph Holmes reviews “Father Stu,” which tells the true story of a hardheaded boxer who decides to become a Catholic priest. The movie’s most notable quality is that it doesn’t shy away from the grittiness of life — and includes things like sexual content and swearing — but ends as the main character develops a deeper faith in God than before.
Holmes says it “nails the faith-based formula better than maybe any other faith-based film.” Check it out here.
See you next week! If you like what you read, share this with your family and friends.
(REVIEW) “Father Stu” nails the faith-based formula better than maybe any other faith-based film. But it remains to be seen if audiences will come out to see a faith-based film with so much cussing — or where the hero leaves the girl to pursue God.
(ANALYSIS) The Jewish state may be on the brink of declaring its fifth election in three years after losing a legislative majority. Member of Knesset Idit Silman of the Yemina Party resigned last week amid building tensions over her view that government facilities should enforce Passover dietary restrictions for everyone and that the Western Wall should not include an ecumenical prayer space for non-Orthodox Jews.
Hillsong Music Pulls Out Of Casting Crowns Tour by Anne Stych
Hillsong Worship, the music arm of Hillsong Church, has withdrawn from a tour with Christian music group Casting Crowns in the wake of scandals at the Australia-based church.
Senate Approves Deborah Lipstadt Nomination For Antisemitism Envoy by Dave Schechter
Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt was confirmed on March 30 by the Senate to be the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. She is the second woman from Atlanta's Jewish community to get the position.
Churches across the U.S. are gathering buckets of supplies to help refugees in war-torn Eastern Europe, including one ministry that got a $10,000 donation from TV host Kelly Clarkson and another that’s getting help wrapping presents from St. Nicholas.
AARP Foundation attorneys will act as co-counsel in a class-action lawsuit alleging the African Methodist Episcopal Church mishandled nearly $90 million in retirement funds, the organization said. The AME stopped making payments to retired ministers covered by its pension plan earlier this year after a 2021 audit found that two-thirds of the denomination’s retirement funds had been lost in risky investments.
Two sociologists of religion, Philip S. Gorski and Samuel L. Perry, wrote an upcoming book titled “The Flag and The Cross,” which explores White Christian nationalism through the lens of history and recent survey data. Gorski and Perry attempt to explain its past while explaining its importance for understanding the future of American religion and politics.
(ANALYSIS) While Pope Francis was presiding over a ceremony at the Vatican to consecrate Ukraine and Russia, a group of high-ranking American bishops met in Chicago. The gathering, entitled “Pope Francis, Vatican II and the Way Forward,” aimed to create a dialogue between theologians and bishops.
During Lent, many Catholic churches participate in fish fries, a meal containing battered or breaded fried fish. Served every Friday following Ash Wednesday, the meals served during the Christian season of repentance have become a mainstay for many Catholic churches who use them to raise money and build community.
This week’s Weekend Plug-in starts with the historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will become the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Plus, as always, catch up on all the best reads and top headlines in the world of faith.
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The Slap, The Rumors And Denzel Washington’s Wise Words by Terry Mattingly
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The Future Of Prison Reform Amid Crime Panic
Executive Editor Paul Glader interviews Prison Fellowship's Director of Government Affairs, Heather Rice-Minus to discuss the longevity of prison reform at a time when some conservatives and Christians are concerned about crime rising in some categories and cities. Rice suggests criminal justice reform isn’t a lost cause for conservatives, Christians or anyone. She outlines how steps towards major reform were accomplished under the past two U.S. presidential administrations, and how President Biden might potentially have bipartisan support for larger reforms during his term. Find it on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or listen directly on our website.
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5 Jesus Movies You Should Watch This Easter by Clemente Lisi
As Christians around the world embark on Holy Week and prepare for Easter, here are five movies about Jesus, both featured in theaters and on TV through the decades, that rise above the rest.
The Mount Angel Abbey, a Benedictine brewery in Mount Angel, Oregon, welcomes visitors year-round to taste and believe that the Lord is good. They follow the tradition of Saint Benedict, the late fifth-century founder of the Benedictine order who created self-sufficient communities in which the monks could make their own food and drink.
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