Rev. Rob Schenck

Is Lucy McBath the new religious star of the Democratic Party?

Is Lucy McBath the new religious star of the Democratic Party?

Unless you live in Georgia, you probably don’t know who Lucy McBath is. Yet, she is the Democratic nominee for Georgia’s 6th congressional district, facing incumbent Karen Handel.

On July 24, she beat another Democrat to be the party's nominee. She has an appealing story and several publications have tried to tell it. But only one mentioned her faith, and that was Mother Jones.

When CNN did a piece on her, there was no mention of her faith. Neither did the Washington Post nor did the Atlantic. So here’s what Mother Jones ran.

On a Friday morning in December, a freak storm has sent snow billowing down the wide streets of Marietta, Georgia. But despite icy roads and an accident-related traffic jam near her house, Lucy McBath comes walking through the ’50s-style double doors of the Marietta Diner, a smile spread across her face.

As she settles into a booth beneath Christmas decorations hanging from the ceiling, it’s clear no storm will stop her. “I have 100 percent security in the fact that God will lead me where I need to be,” she tells me. “I will continue to go through any door that he opens for me because that will allow me to make the best and the most important impact for serving people.”

The past five years of McBath’s life have been a series of doors opened by a terrible tragedy. The day after Thanksgiving in 2012, her 17-year-old son was shot while sitting in a car with a group of friends at a gas station following a dispute with another driver over the volume of the teens’ music. The gunman, a 45-year-old white man named Michael Dunn, fired 10 shots at the teenagers. Jordan Davis was hit three times. His best friend tried to pull him away from the gunfire, but Jordan’s body just fell into his lap. He died at the scene.

The teens were black, and the shooting happened nine months after another black teen, Trayvon Martin, was gunned down by neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman, causing national outrage. The week after Jordan’s death, McBath’s ex-husband got a text from Trayvon’s father: “I just want to welcome you to a club that none of us want to be in.”

A deeply religious woman, McBath spent the next year seeking justice for the son she had named for a biblical crossing of the Jordan River.

What’s fascinating about this woman is how her grief helped her to become a national spokeswoman against gun violence. In 2015, she appeared in a documentary co-starring a conservative evangelical Protestant minister.

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Guns, the f-word (the other one), Disney, evangelicals and Denzel Washington, oh my

Guns, the f-word (the other one), Disney, evangelicals and Denzel Washington, oh my

What we got here is FAILURE to communicate.

That's a movie reference, you see, to one of the great religion-haunted films in the history of Hollywood. But never mind, I thought that might be a good place to start in a short post about some bizarre mangling of religious language in a piece by The Hollywood Reporter. I've been wanting to get to this one for some time now.

So there is this new documentary film called "The Armor of Light" and the key player behind it is one Abigail Disney. The trouble starts right in the epic double decker headline. See if you can follow this one:

Walt Disney Heiress Courts Evangelicals With Anti-Gun Movie
Well versed in her family's conservative politics, Abigail Disney discusses her new film 'The Armor of Light' (out Oct. 30), which tackles the gun controversy while also reaching out to fundamentalist Christians in a new way: "This film goes to them on their own terms, and they appreciate that."

OK, GetReligion readers already know that use of the term "fundamentalist" is very tricky, for journalists who have any intent of using religious language accurately or, well, paying any attention to the Associated Press Stylebook. As the bible of daily journalism notes:

"fundamentalist: The word gained usage in an early 20th century fundamentalist-modernist controversy within Protestantism. ... However, fundamentalist has to a large extent taken on pejorative connotations except when applied to groups that stress strict, literal interpretations of Scripture and separation from other Christians.
"In general, do not use fundamentalist unless a group applies the word to itself."

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