By: Wade Smith
Our nation is polarized, angry and fearful. Political rhetoric and vitriol continue to escalate. Our fear has robbed us of how to live. We've forgotten the meaning of liberty and the joy of pursuing happiness.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
Slavery is "more rampant than any time in history" with 45.8 million slaves worldwide, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index published by the Walk Free Foundation.
By: Joe LaGuardia
We often exercise theological gerrymandering to support our ideological beliefs about the day's most pressing issues. We must avoid any declaration that God is taking one side over the other.
By: Mark Woods
As the policies of Western democracies have contributed to ruin and unintended consequences in foreign nations, it's a reminder that good intentions don't always result in good outcomes.
By: Barry Howard
Our ancestors envisioned a nation in which liberty and justice would be for all people. Some folks, however, have reduced 'liberty' to a license for self-centeredness and 'justice' to mere retaliatory action.
By: Colin Harris
Many who work two or more minimum-wage jobs find it difficult to break poverty's chains. There's an interesting parallel between those who defend the current system and those from the past who defended slavery.
By; EthicsDaily Staff
Mark Woods, a Baptist minister and contributing editor for ChristianToday.com and former editor of The Baptist Times of Great Britain, is a featured columnist on EthicsDaily.com.
By: Larry Eubanks
Some say the Bible stops short of condemning slavery and actually seems to condone it. However, the biblical case against slavery is much stronger than that.
The question therefore, is not whether we will find rest by ridding ourselves of all yokes. The question is which yoke we will take up, the yoke of Jesus or the yoke of something else. The truth of the matter is, if we do not live for Jesus, we will live for something else. We will either serve Christ, or we will serve some other master. As Bob Dylan once sang, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.” Therefore, the question is: Will we submit ourselves to the heavy yokes of human approval, of material gain, of social status, of self-righteous pride? Or will we find rest by submitting ourselves to the gentle yoke of Christ?
By: Martin Accad
The horrors of the abandoned "slave castles" on Ghana's southern coast are unimaginable. But what things that we take for granted are the source of depravities to which we remain blind?
By: Paul Hobson
Peter Thomas Stanford's life didn't have a promising beginning, but the freed slave earned an education and became the first black minister of a British church in the late 1800s.
By: Jon Kuhrt
"12 Years a Slave" is a brilliant yet relentlessly traumatic film that shares a disturbing and epic tale of the way one man survives the kind of injustice that God hates. (Photo: Fox Searchlight)
Modern slavery is a vile injustice caused by humans, but it doesn't have to exist. It's a human problem, often caused by poverty and the exploitation of the most vulnerable. And we can end it.
Grace sets us free from false identity – Grace sets us free from exile – Grace sets us free from our spiritual poverty – Grace invites us to keep in step with the Spirit in order to join in the feast as one family. This is the good news at the heart of Galatians, God’s Gracebook. There is freedom in grace. Believe it. Receive it. Live it.
Does your faith make you a better American and citizen of the world? Do the dreams you pursue honor God and build healthy communities? Are the things important to God important to you? From what do you need to be liberated so you can pursue the dreams God has given you and live up to the potential God has placed in you? I believe God would like to talk to you about these things.
Friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are not private, autonomous selves who happen to sit together under one roof. We are the body of Christ, bound together in Christ so that we might freely love one another and be transformed along the way. We are rooted in community.
Our own government invades the private lives of every U.S. citizen without warrant and we yawn. We somehow justify those abuses in the name of peace and prosperity.
We're passionate in the U.S. about our rights and don't like to have them denied. As Christians, however, are we willing to forgo our rights to serve others?
The first-ever gathering of a group of minority scholars was a chance to share stories of oppression in the hopes of working toward restoration, justice and reconciliation.
The photo of President Obama and the four former U.S. presidents is a reminder that, with all of their faults and virtues, these men represent what unites us as a people.
Margaret Thatcher was described as a champion of "freedom and liberty," but what about of equality? All are essential and inseparable components in democratic life and community.
That’s just one reason we need the season of Lent. Lent is the time when you and I are encouraged to say goodbye to the past and travel along a new path. The past is past and it is time to move on. The question that comes immediately to mind is, where? The Apostle Paul would probably tell you that the question is not where but what. “A new creation,” he calls us[...]“Today,” God says to the people of Israel, “I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” “Behold, everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”
The Sam Sharpe Revolt is regarded as the most widespread and greatest of all enslaved peoples' revolts in the British Commonwealth. What role did faith play in the process of liberation?
Many of us gave thanks last week for our long-held freedoms, but folks in Greece are grateful that, unlike a generation ago, they are free to worship – and to count the taxis.
Many households in Lebanon have domestic help from other countries. These workers, however, are modern-day slaves, who are often locked up and given no time off.
True freedom is more than showing our patriotism. It involves establishing a society based on equal rights for all, economic justice, compassion and charity.
After three years in prison in Iran, a pastor convicted of evangelizing to Muslims has been released. His persecution reminds us that worshipping Jesus is not contingent on our freedoms.
You're gonna have to serve somebody, Bob Dylan croons. Who or what do you serve? Your greatest freedom comes from a full and glad yielding to God.
When we think about religious freedom, we think about the freedom that is provided by the Constitution so we can choose whether or not we will worship.
This Independence Day, give thanks to those who gave their lives so we could enjoy freedom, to those who strive to make this a more perfect union, and to those whose political opinions differ from yours.
A Jamaican Baptist who spoke out against the injustice of slavery will have his legacy extended in a project that will deepen the understanding of black and ethnic minority Baptist Christians.
We are here, like our slave ancestors, to remind and encourage each other that we share a trusting faith in God's justice. And we are here to declare that God will not abandon us. God will not turn us loose. God will not forget us.
Britain's prime minister created a stir when he asserted in a speech that Britain was a Christian nation. He's right at one level. Britain is culturally Christian.
From governments debating climate change to bankers being less philanthropic than their predecessors, it appears well-off nations and people choose their own interests over the common good.
After Occupy London Stock Exchange began, protesters soon set up camp outside St. Paul's Cathedral near the financial district. How St. Paul's should respond led to two church leaders' resignation.
As the cost for higher education become more expensive, many young people in Great Britain aren't applying for college. Should Baptist Christians care about this trend?
British Baptist history will be more accessible thanks to a grant, but how well do Baptists know their own history? If we don't know where we've been, it's harder to know where we're going.
The Archbishop of Canterbury pulled no punches during his sermon in Zimbabwe, delivering strong words against an excommunicated bishop who has used his political muscle to drive Anglicans out of their churches.
A college education means more than getting ready for a career and boosting your personal income, according to a letter from university chaplains in Britain. Universities serve the common good.
Women in Saudi Arabia may be allowed to vote and run for office in four years, but today they still can't drive cars freely. One woman even received 10 lashes for driving.
Sometimes, people are enslaved not only physically but also mentally and emotionally, molded to no longer want to be free. Sooner or later, however, they realize they were created for more.
At times, we're quick to pray. At other times, we're quick to ask why we should pray at all. Questions are important, but prayer is not something to be analyzed. It's just what we do.
As Libya illustrates, the world is still not so safe that it can do without a powerful and effective military alliance. And Christians must more deeply engage questions of peace, war and the appropriate use of force.
More than 11 million people in the Horn of Africa are expected to need food assistance until August 2012. And the lack of a U.S. response to this hunger crisis points to a failure in leadership.
Christian young people are more likely than non-Christians to respect differences in people of other faiths, according to new research. But what about older church leaders?
The tragedy in Norway will be dissected by many seeking to interpret the chilling wickedness of one man's actions. The nation’s churches will need to speak to people of hope, God’s eternal love and forgiveness.
As parents and children starve in a drought-ravaged region of Africa, what will it take for those of us blessed with plenty to abandon our complacency and respond with compassion and sacrifice?
Everyone seems to be out for blood in the phone-hacking scandal that's rocking Great Britain and News Corp. Instead of pronouncing judgment, Christians should ask the uncomfortable questions.
Jesus said the poor would always be with us, but it wasn't a call to inaction. British churches are doing their part by supporting the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals, targeting poverty, malnutrition and education.
Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world will gather next year in London for the Olympics. Will local churches become engaged or remain indifferent?
WASHINGTON (RNS) An conservative Christian organization has removed language about slavery from a pledge to uphold traditional marriage.
It's easy to take our freedom for granted, especially from more subtle threats. The tyranny of unbridled self-interest, for example, is as much a threat to genuine freedom as is any despot.
There are two models to planting new churches. One is the traditional approach; the other might not be in good in pulpit but they’re good in a crisis. It’s not a question of which is right, but which are you suited for.
How do you grow spirituality in a community when religious expressions are as varied as human nature, geography and culture can make them? The first step is to know the terrain.
Indicted for genocide 16 years ago by the United Nations, accused war criminal Ratko Mladic's capture begins to close some of the unfinished business remaining after the Bosnian War.
How could Harold Camping's followers sustain their end-of-the-world fantasy? While their example is extreme, it can happen to any of us when we detach ourselves from the wider currents of social and intellectual life.
Baptists in Israel are mainly Arab, an evangelical minority within a Christian minority. That they have survived 100 years in good heart is a cause for deep gratitude and rejoicing.
In your life, as you journey down this road of following Jesus, if you ever wonder about what you ought to do next and you find the Bible to be more of a puzzle than a help, do this: focus on Jesus... what he said, what he did, and to whom he took his message.
As church attendance dwindles and congregations grow grayer, we must ask why young adults stay away. If we can't give them a cause they believe is worth living for now, it's no wonder they dismiss us as irrelevant. We are.
Hundreds of thousands of people protested government cuts in Great Britain. Whether their voices make a difference or not, churches must be ready to respond to new opportunities for ministry and service.
The military campaign against Libya rests on untested assumptions and unexamined myths. Christians should be slow to pronounce the rightness of the campaign until they address those myths.
Following Japan's devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami, no one can truly say that they see how good will come from this. If we could see, we would not need to hope.
The events unfolding in Libya range from inspirational to horrific. We see courageous people facing down a tyrant's soldiers, but we're also learning about secret prisons where unimaginable brutalities were inflicted.
How do we understand the extraordinary events of the Middle East, including the tottering regime of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya? God does not care very much about political calculations, but he does care about justice.
Eighty years ago, "The Star-Spangled Banner" became our national anthem, extolling America as "the land of the free." Today, many still long for the freedom that brought many of our ancestors to this nation.
Since Great Britain turned its back on the death penalty, the mother of a man executed in the United States wants the United Kingdom to ban British companies from exporting drugs for executions.
While membership and baptisms are down in British Baptist churches, the decline can be turned around if people realize churches offer something worth having. Can worship be accessible without being banal?
NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The Archdiocese of New Orleans unveiled a new online database containing records in colonial New Orleans.
What does the future hold for the church in 2011? The challenge will be to live not just as Christian citizens of our own country, but as citizens of the world.
WikiLeaks reveals what many people feel about those who govern us. Namely, we believe they can't be trusted. WikiLeaks both feeds and symbolizes conspiracy theories that tell us we are being lied to.
Somehow, like Amos Fortune, Paul experienced the worst life could dish out and still believed the best about life’s ultimate outcome. Was Paul an incurable optimist? No. In fact, Paul was very realistic about the trials and tribulations of life.
The engagement of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton re-awakened feelings of good will toward the royal family. But will the royal wedding blind Britons to issues of inequality and injustice?
An archbishop's call for Iraqi Christians to seek asylum in Britain may give the green light to many who had been wavering. But Britain's treatment of asylum seekers has been shabby at best.
In the Scriptures about the Sabbath, gainfully employed Christians focus on the day of rest. But there's another interpretation. Minorities, for whom the jobless rate is higher, are eager to honor the Sabbath with six days of work.
EDINBURGH, Scotland (RNS/ENInews) British churches have criticized plan to remove unemployment benefits from people who refuse to accept jobs.
The attack of a Catholic church in Baghdad, resulting in the loss of dozens of innocent lives, has focused attention once more on the plight of the Christian population in Iraq as well as the Middle East.
A British watchdog group issued a report examining how fair Great Britain is. While equality is impossible in many areas, Christians are called to work for a fairer society.
Christianity has suffered hard losses in Britain. Churches are emptier, and young people harder to influence. While the church may die in its present form, it will be reborn in a new one.
The Pope's visit to Great Britain is generating far less interest than organizers hoped – and that's a pity. We don't have to be Catholics to recognize that Pope Benedict is a thinker and spiritual teacher of the first rank.
Ten volunteer medical workers providing health care in northeast Afghanistan were ambushed and killed. Whatever their private religious views, they shared a sense of compassion, duty and a desire to serve.
MOSCOW (RNS/ENInews) The Russian Orthodox Church is praying for relief from the heat and drought that has gripped Russia.
Many fiscal conservatives have denounced spending money to help unemployed working people survive the current recession, yet they have said little against the three-quarters of a trillion spent on the Iraq War.
But Christians in America are called to reserve their first loyalty not to the government in Washington but to the Kingdom of God. Our Commander in Chief is ultimately Jesus, not the President.
That Baptists in the United States are among the more enthusiastic supporters of the death penalty is a shame upon the wider Baptist world. It is time for the death penalty to be abolished everywhere.
While the British government talks about prison reform in its own country, it cannot turn a blind eye to women in Afghanistan who are unjustly imprisoned – some because they fled domestic violence.
Jesus may not have talked about the unemployed, but he could have. What would he have said about more than 14.6 million out of work today and about the politicians who don't care to extend unemployment benefits?
The situation in the Gaza Strip polarizes opinions. One extreme believes the blockade should be unconditionally lifted; the other believes Gaza deserves all it gets. What will it take to begin reconciliation?
Gordon Brown's announcement to resign as the head of Great Britain's Labour Party represents the final dissolution of the force that took Labour to three election victories and kept it in power for 13 years.
With the British government facing tough decisions about taxation and spending, churches will need wisdom for the part they play. Will they be willing to support unpopular measures for the sake of the greater good?
The race for Number 10 Downing Street is on in Britain. As Christians prepare to join other British citizens at the polls, may they be led by their love for Jesus and not by habit, prejudice, self-interest or tribal loyalty.
How should individuals react when their consciences conflict with the law of the land? In Britain, some Christians say they should be allowed to refuse bed-and-breakfast lodging to people on the grounds of their sexuality.
Many opponents of Christianity make the mistake of thinking that religious people can be argued out of faith. But faith doesn't work like that. It's not indifferent to reason but it is rational on more levels than one.
With its proposal to include Jefferson Davis' inaugural address with Abraham Lincoln's speeches, the Texas Board of Education seems to be aligned with those who claim the Civil War wasn't about slavery.
Hope '08, an evangelistic initiative in Britain designed to help churches serve their communities, was viewed as a success. When the initiative is offered again, simply as Hope, what lessons will help improve it?
While many Christians may sympathize with one British political party's plan to give tax breaks to married couples, we should be wary of knee-jerk plans just because they tick our moral boxes.
I realized, as we talked, that what we were doing in that moment was not so much to celebrate pink cowgirl shoes – nor even how very cute Anna Claire is – as it was to create a memory... a memory for a little girl who one day may just reach back in the recesses of her mind, and when she needs the promises of God the most, will remember those cowgirl “shoes” and when she wore them to church and so many people made over them and told them how cute they – and she – was. And because of that, I wonder if she might say, “You know, I belong to God. I belong to God.”
The builders of the Tower of Babel were consumed with overweening pride and a fear of insignificance. Both factors are evident in the construction of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world.
It's 95 years ago on Christmas Eve. Several British and German troops broke into an unofficial truce, a spontaneous outbreak of decency. Today, can we learn to set aside our differences?
A recent survey claims that religious faith has declined sharply in Britain over the last two decades. Before bemoaning the evaporation of the Christian faith, here's another perspective to consider.
People hesitate to argue with a mechanic over the best way to fix an engine or with a surgeon over the best way to replace a hip. Why do so many have no hesitation to dismiss scientists about climate change?
Many of India's Dalit people – once known as the untouchables under that country's caste system – living in the United Kingdom report that they remain victims of caste discrimination. The abuse should stop.
The United Kingdom has undertaken its first Interfaith Week, but it's unlikely to draw a warm and enthusiastic response from Baptists. Can we not make an effort to encounter people of other faiths simply as people?
With a huge lottery jackpot of more than $151 million awaiting two winners, it's a reminder why many Baptists do not participate in this or other forms of gambling. We bear witness to a better way.
BMS World Mission's letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown was a refreshing change of pace. Too many Christians engage in an adversarial tone when they enter the political arena.
The system failed Fiona Pilkington, who took her life and her daughter's after years of bullying. When will more Christians speak up for those who can't speak for themselves?
The mark of a civilized society is that it will work to limit poverty. Is it possible to make sure that everyone has enough to live on without removing the incentive for people to work?
Britain's National Health Service may not be perfect, but the system acknowledges people have a right to care because of citizenship, not because of wealth or employment.
Although people of faith should be allowed a voice in the public square, their views seem to be marginalized on many fronts, including education, government and health care.
Looking beyond Baptists' 400th anniversary, several Baptist leaders from around the world discuss what they hope will become Baptist hallmarks in the future.
If individuals and groups truly have freedom, the public square will become a battle ground of conflicting views. Christians need to learn to live with being in a land of many voices.
Before the fireworks and the barbecues kick in, reflect on this prayer for liberty. A prayer of thanks for our nation, a prayer of protection for those who serve, and a prayer of intervention to guard the innocent.
As Christians and Muslims increasingly live side by side, the tension between the two mission-focused faiths is inevitable. That's why the guidelines prepared by the Christian Muslim Forum are a valuable resource for interaction.
A college professor had lectured on "the least of these" for years. But it wasn't until she adopted her infant daughter, who was on the verge of being sold into slavery, that the subject went from her head to her heart.
The people of Iran represent billions of others, oppressed and threatened by leaders more concerned about protecting their power base than serving the public's need to live life unfettered. They stand in need of prayer.
The British National Party, which recently won two seats in the European Parliament, speaks the language of hatred. While Christians should have nothing to do with the party, they need not fear it.
Don't underestimate the power of confidence. When members have confidence in their churches' future, they won't regard money, time and talents spent on them as wasted. And lives will be changed by the power of the gospel.
Although President Obama announced that workers laid off since Sept. 1, 2008, would receive federal help with health care premiums, not everyone benefits. The reduction doesn't apply to churches or non-profit religious groups.
Few are answering the call to a vocation of full-time mission service overseas, a mission worker told Baptists at the annual Baptist Assembly in Great Britain. With the needs so great, why are the laborers so scarce?
Sunday marked the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in the United Kingdom. What is surprising about the observance is the heat the issue raises, even so long after the event.
News that even in these straitened times international donors have responded so generously to the needs of Gaza is very welcome.
The strong support for a role for religion in UK public life shown in a recent BBC poll should in some ways at least come as no surprise.
To combat deep-rooted hatred and rejectionism, a profound spiritual movement is needed, and far from being a cause of divisiveness - as it is perceived in this country - religion is the only power which has a language of the necessary depth and subtlety.
Serious times call for serious people, and it's hard to imagine more serious times than these. War in Afghanistan is going badly (read the history books, and you will realise that the only non-Afghan who could not have written that sentence was Alexander the Great).
The Democratic Republic of Congo's problem is its wealth. It is the size of Western Europe, and it is quite staggeringly rich in diamonds, coal, oil, and coltan, an essential ingredient in mobile telephones.
Rev. Mark Woods, editor of Britain's Baptist Times, examines economics across the pond and "the glorification of greed in popular culture."
The question came up on an American Airlines flight from Nashville to Dallas. I was reading the September-October issue of Sojourners, a liberal Christian magazine, and my seatmate was reading over my shoulder. We were both taken with a letter to the editor that opposed an apology for slavery.
A delegation of British Baptists in Jamaica this week apologized for England's role in the transatlantic slave trade, a scourge that shaped Caribbean history with effects that linger until today.
A delegation representing British Baptists travels Thursday to Jamaica to personally apologize for their nation's role two centuries ago in transatlantic trading of slaves.
British Baptists have adopted a statement apologizing for transatlantic slave trade and expressing "true repentance" for failure to listen to the pain of black brothers and sisters resulting from that legacy.
"Amazing Grace" finally arrives on DVD today, nine months after its theatrical release.
"All your waves and billows have gone over me." (Ps. 42:7) The Psalmist was referring to a spiritual state of abandonment, using terms reflecting a sense of helplessness in the face of events beyond human control.
William Carey published his "Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Convert the Heathens" in 1792. Its title was not exactly snappy, but its effect was seismic. From it arose the modern missionary movement.
"Amazing Grace," the story of William Wilberforce's effort to abolish slavery in the British Empire, delivers everything you want: solid script, outstanding performances, clever wit, tight drama, inspiring story.
For most of the year Britain is, at least on the surface, a fairly secular country. In spite of the presence of the Church of England in its structures of government--Anglican bishops sit in the House of Lords, the second chamber of Parliament--and the high profile of many Christian leaders, the rate of churchgoing in Britain is only about 7 per cent, and it continues to fall.
The head of Britain's evangelicals said if Christians allow themselves to become divided over "truth," there is something wrong with the truth they are telling.
It's a truism to say that everyone remembers where they were on September 11 five years ago. This editor was at a hospital chaplains' conference. The schedule collapsed along with the Twin Towers. We clustered around the TV set, appalled by what we saw.
A hard-hitting report on the effects of climate change from Christian Aid warns that poor people will continue to suffer disproportionately from its effects, and that progress on development could be nullified or even reversed unless action is taken.
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil--More than 60 Baptists attended a meeting with Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Denton Lotz at the ninth World Council of Churches assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Even today, the image that comes to mind when many people in Europe hear the word "missionary" probably includes pith helmets and the British Empire.
An extraordinary gathering of Baptists in Birmingham, England, took place last month. It was remarkable not just for the numbers gathered there--at least 12,000, and many more when day visitors are counted--but for the spirit in which the Baptist World Congress was conducted.
Southerner Thomas Wolfe may be right in suggesting that one cannot go home again-to live, that is, but no matter where in the world we may live and work, it is always good to go back home for a visit: It is always good to drive by the little church building, the old grammar and high school, to look at the simple house, to visit the cemetery, to eat black-eyed peas and stewed tomatoes, and to visualize and sense loving friends seated around the oilcloth covered table.