Five for Friday: Faith-Based Films, Unsanitized Syria Truth, Gene Editing

CHICAGO, IL (May 12, 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.

“Faith-Based Film” Label Needs to Go, Experts Say

“Faith-based film” is a meaningless phrase, say some influential Christians in Hollywood—who also have made a living off making them. This may be the only time you see “Hacksaw Ridge” and “God’s Not Dead” mentioned in the same article.

From the article: “Producer Mark Joseph, whose credits include ‘The Vessel,’ ‘I am David’ and ‘Ray,’ told Fox News that the term is unnecessary. ‘The term faith-based is an odd term to describe movies—or anything else,’ he said. ‘For most Americans faith is a normal part of our lives so it’s only normal that faith is weaved into movies as it’s weaved into most of our lives.’”

Would You Edit Your Babies’ Genes to Keep Them Healthy?

Some parents already have been charged with crimes when, because of their religious beliefs, they prevented their children from receiving antibiotics, surgeries, or blood transfusions. One of The Atlantic’s best writers, Conor Friedersdorf, raises the question about what will happen to parents if they refuse technology that could prevent their children from developing certain health conditions or diseases. The article raises questions about how we view personhood, wellness, and society’s role in determining value.

The page continues to be updated with new letters from parents, scientists, and others in response to a previous story. It’s nice to see a reasoned discussion—like the ones the church should be having.

CNN Airs Graphic Video Showing Victims of Syria’s Chemical Attack

CNN aired graphic video of the victims of the Syrian government’s April 2017 chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, that killed more than 90 people, including many children. Some of the footage shows children dead or dying in the back of pickup truck after the attack, and rescue workers trying in vain to wash the chemicals off other victims. The network’s correspondent said it was important to show the video because it provides “an unvarnished, unsanitized, up-close look at the horror of a war crime.”

Which Tech Giant Would You Drop?

Unless you are living off the grid in some remote area of the country—and since you are reading this, you obviously are not—you are probably connected in some way with at least one of the Big Five technology companies: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet. (Alphabet is Google’s parent company, which is responsible for the Google search engine, Gmail, Google Calendar, YouTube, and Android, among a plethora of other products.)

But if you were forced to give them up, in which order would you do it? Click on your choices in the article and compare your answers with others.

America’s Teachers to Everyone: Stop Looking to Finland (Or Japan, Or Canada) for an Easy Fix

When people criticize the American educational system, almost inevitably someone opines that the United States would do well to follow the examples of other countries. But it’s not that simple and probably a bad idea, this author says.

From the article: “Simply raising the requirements for teacher certification, based on what has worked in some high-performing countries, is not effective. An effective policy requires changes at the level of teacher recruitment, teacher education and long-term support for professional development.”

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About the Author

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. With regard to designer babies: let us never forget that it was the Third Reich that spent huge amounts of time, effort and money to create a master race. They would have been successful in their goals if they had the scientific knowledge and tools of today.

    Considering education: what is needed to make public education even better than it has been is are school boards, superintendents and principals who resource and support teachers! Nearly everyone can easily remember a teacher or two who made a large contribution to their lives. Few are those who honor or celebrate the work of a superintendent or even a principal. The administration should be focused, not on the student, but on helping teachers become increasingly effective.

    1. Encouragement and one extra planning period have shown to dramatically increase effectiveness. Thank you for your comments.

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