Five for Friday: Voting Laws Roundup, Church Gains Right to Hire Police, No More “Come and Watch” Events

A raindow appears behind Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2013. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

CHICAGO, IL (April 21, 2017) — Covenanters routinely share links to social media articles and videos that Covenant News Service believes may be of interest to others. Each Friday we post five of them. Following is a sample of those submissions—their inclusion does not represent an endorsement by the Covenant of any views expressed.

Alabama Senate Gives Megachurch Right to Form Own Police Force

The 4,000-member Presbyterian church argues that it needs more protection than local police can provide. The measure now goes to the House, where it is expected to pass, then on to the governor to sign. One comedian commented that churches have the right to be safe, but wondered if the Alabama Legislature would be as enthusiastic if a mosque wanted to form its own police force. Critics are threatening a court challenge, saying the bill would violate the establishment clause.

Photo by Kathy Schorr

“It Goes into Your Psyche”: Photographing Gunshot Survivors

One night when photographer Kathy Shorr was home alone with her child, armed intruders broke into their home and robbed them—threatening Schorr and her daughter the whole time at gunpoint. Schorr says, “That’s a feeling that you never want to experience again, and you don’t wish on anybody. It’s a complete loss of control over your life, and somebody else taking that control.” Years later, she began to wonder how people coped with being shot. So she began an ambitious project of photographing survivors of gunshots at the location where the event occurred.

From the article: “Although initially wary of bringing back painful memories, Shorr found that the people she approached were enthusiastic about speaking to her. By the end of the project, survivors were getting in touch asking to be included; only two of those contacted declined to take part. Going back to be photographed was often the first time the subjects had returned to the scene of the shooting, so Shorr made sure she spoke to them for at least half an hour—one conversation went on for three hours—to establish a rapport and to make sure they were ready.”

Voting Laws Roundup 2017

So far in 2017, more bills have been introduced in state legislative sessions that seek to expand access to voting laws than to restrict access. The proposed restrictive measures generally have received the backing of only Republicans while expansive legislation has generally received bipartisan backing.

From the article:

  • At least 87 bills to restrict access to registration and voting have been introduced in 29 states. Ten bills have passed through at least one legislative chamber in 6 states.
  • At least 478 bills to enhance voting access have been introduced in 43 states. Thirty bills have passed through at least one legislative chamber in 15 states.
  • Three states have enacted new voting laws. Arkansas passed a restrictive voter ID bill, Wyoming passed legislation to ease restoration of voting rights for people with criminal convictions, and Utah passed bills to improve voter list maintenance and expand early voting opportunities.

Peter Dutton | Flickr

4 Reasons Our Church Stopped Doing “Come and Watch” Events (And 5 Alternatives)

Author Karl Vaters isn’t saying every church should jettison what he calls “come and watch” events, but he is saying that all congregations need to seriously think about what messages they are communicating. What makes this article especially helpful is that Vaters doesn’t just rant: he offers alternatives.

From the article: “When we try to compete with Netflix, YouTube or ESPN by offering a better show, we lose. But the good news is, when the church does what only the church can do, we truly have no competition.”

Adam Sandler and Winona Ryder in “Mr. Deeds”

Netflix Users Lost Half a Billion Hours of Their Lives to Adam Sandler Movies

I’m afraid to contemplate what this means or whether it explains anything at all.

From the article: “Netflix expects to pass a milestone this weekend when it signs up its 100 millionth subscriber, the company said on Monday. But its users have already accomplished something even more incredible—they have watched 500 million hours worth of Adam Sandler movies.”


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About the Author

Stan Friedman

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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1 Comment

  1. “Voting Laws Roundup 2017” is based on political outlook, progressive left. Leave one sided political analysis to the popular press.

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