A small church on the edge of Louisville was the setting for the movie “The Starling Girl” set to open this week. It tells the story of two members of a fundamentalist congregation—a young girl navigating adolescence and religious expectations and a young minister fresh back from a mission trip. Their stories intertwine, breaking many rules along the way. A fitting commentary arising out of the #MeToo movement as well as the personal experiences of writer/director Laurel Parmet.
The ongoing struggle among the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention was signaled when Georgia pastor Mike Stone of Georgia, who lost a hotly contested election in 2021, announced his intention to stand for election as President, challenging incumbent Bart Barber of Texas. Stone has been critical of Southern Baptist efforts to address a history of sexual abuse among its ministers; he pledges to shift the convention’s response from the current Guidepost Solutions to another organization.
The people of England celebrated the crowning of King Charles III is a day-long ceremony marked by extensive religious rituals and rhetoric. The monarch of England is also head of the Church of England, and the Church of England is head of the global Anglican communion. The coronation took place is Westminster Cathedral and included prayers, hymns, and recitations familiar to Anglicans. For the first time, religion leaders involved included both non-Anglican and non-Christian clergy.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has identified “regression” last year in countries including Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua and Russia. The annual report by the independent, bipartisan commission makes recommendations to the U.S. government for the promotion and protection of religious freedom abroad. It named 17 countries on its list of Countries of Particular Concern” — Burma (Myanmar), China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Syria and Vietnam.