Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday, on May 3, 2023. The month of May has a lusty beginning according to Shakespeare and others, a report will explain. “When is Cinco de Mayo?” Legendary people with inquiring minds want to know. Today is not Cinco de Mayo, but May 5 is not Mexican Independence Day. You probably already know that Mexico won a battle with the French in Puebla on May 5, 1862; Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest led the Mexican War of Independence from Spain, celebrated since September 16, 1810. Viva la Independencia!
The month of May is Asian and Pacific Island Heritage Month, according to a calendar listing from the U.S. bishops’ conference. No further information was attached to the listing, but just like Maypole dancing has pagan connections, Asian-America observances come from a secular source – the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC). “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity” is the theme this year. Congratulations to the more than 30 ethnically distinct groups originating from Asian and Pacific regions as recognized by the United States Bureau of the Census.
Seeking peace in Ukraine and Sudan
Pope Francis departed from Hungary with a plea for peace in Ukraine and a warning against isolationism. The Pope departs Hungary pleading for peace in Ukraine and warning against isolationism. NCR has the report, and La Croix International describes the tightrope walk of papal diplomacy.
Pope departs Hungary pleading for peace in Ukraine, warning against isolationism
Christians in Sudan are urging the international community to find a resolution for their nation’s bloody civil war which has been raging since April 15.
Singapore executed a 46-year-old man last Wednesday after he was accused of coordinating a roughly two-pound marijuana delivery, despite pleas for clemency and protests that he was convicted on weak evidence. USA Today also reports on efforts to hide the means of execution in several of the United States. And today may be too late to sign the petition, but we offer a link to plead with Florida to stop an execution. Sign the petition HERE.
Justice, equal rights
It’s been more than half a century since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on scraps of paper, but faith leaders say his response to white clergy critics endures as a “road map” for those working on justice and equal rights.
The competition between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis is intensifying as the former president is scheduling a return trip to Iowa on the same day that the Florida governor was already going to be in the state that will kick off the Republican contest for the White House.
Republicans must address the abortion issue ‘head-on’ – so says the chair of the Republican National Committee.
The group, Pastors for Trump, is drawing sharp rebukes from mainstream Christian leaders for being extremist, distorting Christian teachings and endangering American democracy by fueling the spread of Christian nationalism. The story comes from The Guardian.
Disney sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday over the Republican’s takeover of its theme park district, alleging the governor waged a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” after the company opposed a law critics call “Don’t Say Gay.”
A federal judge overseeing the New Orleans Roman Catholic bankruptcy recused himself in a late-night reversal that came a week after an Associated Press report showed he donated tens of thousands of dollars to the archdiocese and consistently ruled in favor of the church in the case involving nearly 500 clergy sex abuse victims.
Mark Silk, writing about Spiritual Politics, reacts to criticism on the separation of church and state.
Why yes, “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution. But neither does “religious liberty” or “religious freedom,” yet you don’t find a lot of folks saying that these aren’t American things.
Atheist Street Pirates
It started as a small group of atheists tracking and removing religious signs from public streets in Los Angeles. Now, this network spans more than a handful of states, with volunteers documenting and taking down illegally placed religious material on utility poles and overpasses across the country.
Church News and Opinions
Where is Catholic leadership on fossil fuels? As of April 20, half of all Catholic dioceses in England and Wales have chosen to end financial investments in fossil fuels, the largest contributor to climate change. Zero Catholic dioceses in the United States have announced plans for divestment.
In North Carolina, a church network turns unused church buildings into homes for refugees. A glut of underutilized church properties offers a solution to the severe shortage of affordable housing for newly arrived refugees.
Navajo Catholics in the U.S. southwest are expressing upset over a decision to transfer administration of an historic mission founded some 125 years ago from the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor to the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico.
The story was written before it happened, but provides details: Cardinal Wilton Gregory received Illinois’ highest civilian honor last Saturday, the Order of Lincoln.
Finally, the Black Protestant church is ‘still vital.’ The Associated Press reports on church attendance dropping, but Pew Research finds vitality despite the attendance drop.
Rabbi Harold Kushner, who wrote bestselling works of practical theology, dies at 88. ‘When Bad Things Happen to Good People’, published in 1981, represented Kushner’s attempt to make sense of his son’s suffering and eventual death.
Harry Belafonte, entertainer and activist, is dead at 96. The famed singer and actor, whose financial support helped sustain the Civil Rights Movement, succumbed to heart failure in New York.
The merry month
“Love, whose month is ever May,” Shakespeare wrote in the comedy “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” Centuries later, Phillipa Soo is crooning about the “Lusty Month of May” in the Broadway revival of Lerner and Loewe’s hit “Camelot.” Religion News Service says the pagan roots of the celebrations are alive and well.
Support Wisdom Wednesday
We hope you have enjoyed this roundup of recent news about faith, politics, and culture. We will return next week with another edition of Wisdom Wednesday.
If you’d like to support our continued work to bring you wisdom each week, please consider making a donation. Your support provides the breath that makes our voice heard in the U.S. and beyond.
The AUSCP is a 501c3 organization and your donation is tax-deductible.