The tragic death of Trayvon Martin has raised many issues for Americans in particular. The authors of the two articles in this edition of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics explore a couple of these issues in light of the Christian faith.
In the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s death and George Zimmerman’s acquittal, Cheryl Pero uses the framework of Luther’s catechism to ask: “will we use this opportunity to expose, explore, and exorcize our racial problems or continue to pretend that we live in a “post-racial” society, in a state of denial?”
Benjamin Taylor offers a theological and ethical reflection on the “Stand Your Ground” law, examining its legal ramifications and its relation to Christian ethics. Taylor observes, “…although our country may stand divided for the moment, we do believe in the power of the reconciling love of the cross, the power which defeats death and gathers the people of God together once more.”
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Social statements of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America provide guidance to the church and its members on a variety of issues. Given the historical legacy of racism in the United States, this social statement focuses on and explores the question, “How, then, shall we live?”
Pahl illuminates the motif of “sacrifice” or “blessed brutalities” as one permeating all layers of the social and cultural fabrics in ways that purport to offer an explanatory framework for the analysis of contemporary imperial American practices. He reads patterns of “sacrifice” or “performative violence” into practices as diverse as domestic abuse, slavery, and cinematic representations of youth in order to gesture to their inter-linking with one another and to expose the misguided religiosity of such practices.
Review: The Sacredness of Human Life: Why an Ancient Biblical Vision Is Key to the World’s Future, by David P. Gushee.
Instead of focusing his project narrowly on the hot-button sacredness-of-life topics, Gushee comes at the topic more broadly: “If any human life is sacred, every human life is sacred” (3). The sacredness of human life, in this construal, is not simply a religious conviction held only by Christians or certain kinds of philosophers but an ancient conviction of most cultures, period.