With the first week of 2024 already in the books, Good Faith Media has hit the ground running to fulfill our mission of providing “reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.”
If the previous years have taught us anything, it is that we can rarely predict the stories that will most shape us. But we have our eyes on several that will receive our and our readers’ attention.
We asked our team of writers, editors, content creators and executives to look ahead and point out stories to watch.
The most important story in 2024 is what percentage of white evangelicals will continue to support Donald Trump, a thrice-married, former casino operator who, throughout a four-year presidency, made over thirty thousand false or misleading statements, according to independent sources. In 2016, 81% of white evangelicals supported him, and up to 84% supported him in 2020. Now, facing over ninety indictments, Trump is appealing once again to evangelical voters. If they support him in anything like the numbers in 2016 and 2020, he has a very good chance of winning the electoral vote. –RB
With the Israeli bombardment of Gaza continuing into its third month, and with the potential for widening conflict, it will be essential to understand the roots of issues between Israelis and Palestinians. Many Americans are either misinformed or under-informed about what has been happening in Israel and the West Bank for the past 75 years. We’ll provide an article in the March/April issue of Nurturing Faith Journal with helpful background and talking points for discussing the current situation. –TC
In June 2023, the city of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, passed Ordinance 23-O-22, seeking to establish public decency standards. They banned indecent behavior in public to create a “family-friendly” atmosphere in public spaces. When read in tandem with a 1970s law regarding public indecency –which explicitly listed homosexuality as an indecent behavior, even apart from sexual acts– it seemed Murfreesboro outlawed being gay in public. The city even denied a permit for one of Tennessee Equality Project’s Pride rallies, citing the new ordinance as reason enough. The decision was challenged in court and eventually struck down. As a result, the city removed explicit mention of homosexuality from its definition of public indecency in favor of promoting extremely vague “community standards.” All things considered, it will be interesting to see if anti-LGBTQ+ groups in Tennessee will cite this ordinance in attempts to ban events like this year’s Murfreesboro Pride parade and if other cities across the country will attempt to follow suit. –KCF
The trailer for Alex Garland’s film “Civil War” was released three weeks ago, and there is a buzz about what the film will mean to a nation increasingly dividing itself. The film tells the story of a modern-day Civil War in the United States. It could offer a reflective and prophetic element, suggesting the United States is currently in the prequel stage of something like this actually happening. It could also stoke the fires and be a blueprint for extremists, Christian nationalists and far-right patriots.
The definition of antisemitism is radically changing to silence those who call out human rights violations occurring in Palestine, specifically in Gaza. To criticize Zionism is now defined as being antisemitic and pro-terrorist. And yet, those who are considered Zionism’s best friends— evangelicals—have a worldview (or end-of-times fantasy) where the Final Solution is fulfilled during the “second coming” by having all Jews thrown in the “lake of fire.” — MDLT
The 2024 elections will be a pivotal referendum on many fronts. Democracy and freedom almost died during the January 6, 2021, Christian nationalist domestic terrorist attack on our nation’s Capitol, and authoritarian threats remain. Will the 2024 elections reinforce democracy or steer the United States in an authoritarian direction? States are choosing sides on abortion access, some placing women’s bodies under government control, others protecting women’s rights. Voting access, gender equality, sexual orientation, social programs, guns, immigration, foreign policy, public education, and book censorship – all critical issues – will also be on the ballot. Collectively, these contentious issues reflect a more significant and ongoing political battle over church-state separation, equal rights for all and our shared humanity. –BG
The quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church, postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19, will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in late April. This will be the first General Conference since a mass exodus of congregations to the upstart Global Methodist Church (GMC) occurred. Although the cause of the split is essentially LGBTQ+ equality in the church, several other angles make the story interesting. The speed at which the split has occurred has been far more rapid than for other denominations dealing with the same issue. Also, as far as I can tell, the GMC appears to be the first denomination ever created for the sole purpose of LGBTQ+ exclusion. Seeing how United Methodists respond and adapt could be instructive, not just for faith communities addressing issues regarding sexuality, but for any Christian organization dealing with the accelerating dissolution of historic institutions.
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology during an election year will be an important story to watch. AI will influence ad campaigns across the political spectrum. With the presidency and control of Congress hanging in the balance, AI will most certainly be a player in attempting to secure votes. How will voters decide what is real or fake? –MR
Billionaire Elon Musk recently posted “DEI must DIE” on X (formerly Twitter). A triple threat, diversity, equity and inclusion have joined words like “woke,” co-opted by socially colored white “liberals” as part of performative allyship and thrown around by “right-wing” politicians as a pejorative, even though it has long been meant to signify remaining vigilant in the cause for social justice for the African American community. Companies created offices and positions for officers of diversity, equity and inclusion after the heinous murder of George Floyd and in response to the racial reckoning in 2020. DEI was meant to signify an intentional work culture of welcome and belonging. Promises of dedicated hiring practices, training and mentorship to create safe and equitable work environments as well as ensure equal access and opportunity for people who face historic and ongoing discrimination and are underrepresented in the workforce were largely reactive. They failed to become a part of the company’s culture and were often phased out when they didn’t add “value” to the business. I’ll continue to watch what companies do rather than what they say regarding the sociopolitical construct of race. –ST
Reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.