Welcome to the inaugural G3 Weekly, which will be summarizing each week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, outrage over the Supreme Court’s imminent overturning of Roe v. Wade has reached new heights, with abortion activists threatening to murder the court’s conservative justices. As graduation season continues, clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson went viral for a commencement speech that considered Christianity’s answers to suffering and temptation. Meanwhile, persecution in Nigeria threatens the African church as a university student was beaten and burned by a mob over accusations of blasphemy.
Abortion Activists Threaten to Murder Supreme Court Justices
A memo from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security shows that the federal government is bracing for political violence as the Supreme Court prepares to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
“Law enforcement agencies are investigating social-media threats to burn down or storm the Supreme Court building and murder justices and their clerks, as well as attacks targeting places of worship and abortion clinics,” reported Axios, which obtained the memo.
When contacted by Axios, the agency confirmed that it remains “committed to protecting Americans’ freedom of speech and other civil rights and civil liberties, including the right to peacefully protest,” even as it mobilizes resources to combat violence.
Earlier this month, Politico leaked a draft majority opinion from Justice Samuel Alito showing that the Supreme Court is poised to nix Roe, the 1973 case in which the court guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion, and Casey, the 1992 case in which the court upheld Roe. Alito argued that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start” in his opinion.
As a result, crowds of pro-abortion protesters have demonstrated outside the homes of John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, and other conservative justices—even though pickets and parades intended to influence judges are banned under federal law.
Meanwhile, the conservative evangelical world is weighing policies that could define a post-Roe America. Most notably, debate has ensued over a letter from dozens of pro-life organizations that anathematized “any measure seeking to criminalize or punish women” who seek abortions as “not pro-life.”
Jordan Peterson Discusses Christianity, Suffering, and Temptation in Viral Commencement Address
Canadian professor and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson delivered a commencement speech at Hillsdale College that considered how Christianity deals with landmark life choices and the temptations that accompany them.
Peterson advised the graduating seniors that they will meet “the devil at the crossroads”—granting them the opportunity to “aim up or down.” As an alternative to nihilistic despair and self-exaltation, Peterson called faith a “form of courage” that allows individuals to persevere through life’s challenges.
“One of the things I’ve thought a lot about in relationship to faith—we have this idea, and it’s not a good idea, and it’s certainly an idea for which religious people are often pilloried—that faith means the sacrifice of reason and the willingness to believe things that are patently not true… I don’t think that’s what faith is at all in some fundamental sense. I think faith is a form of courage.”
Peterson said that aiming higher teaches one to “approach the good that is the sum or the essence of all those proximal goods.”
“The essential insistence in Christianity is that the good that unites all those goods is the same good that’s reflected in the image of Christ, which is an image of acceptance of the suffering of life, and the necessity of serving the lowest as the highest calling,” Peterson said. “That’s something that might be true—like really, actually, 100% true—more true than anything else.”
Peterson has often weighed Christianity and the testimony of the Scriptures in his various public appearances. In a podcast interview with Joe Rogan, the academic called the Bible “the precondition for the manifestation of truth, which makes it way more true than just true.”
Persecution Continues in Nigeria
In the western African nation of Nigeria, a Christian university student was beaten and burnt by a mob of her fellow classmates after she discussed Christianity in a class group message.
Deborah Yakubu—a student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, Nigeria—had an argument in which she criticized Islam and credited Jesus for enabling her to pass her exams. When she refused to recant her statement, school security sought to protect her. However, students overpowered the guards and beat Yakubu with planks and stones.
“After killing her, her remains was set ablaze and burnt beyond recognition in the school premises,” a source told The Guardian. The university was immediately closed down in fear of further violence.
Police have arraigned two suspects—Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci—in relation to Yakubu’s murder. A violent street protest followed the arrests.
Nigeria—which is divided between a largely Islamic north and a largely Christian south—is a hotbed for attacks against Christians. “Persecution in Nigeria is, simply put, brutally violent,” explains Open Doors. “In much of northern Nigeria, Christians live their lives under the constant threat of attack from Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province, Fulani militants, and criminals who kidnap and murder with few consequences. The violence is so bad it has begun to travel south, as well.”