On February 10th, MidAmerica Nazarene University’s (MNU) chaplain Randy Beckum gave his morning sermon, which wasn’t unusual – it was his job. But what was different that day was the response to the sermon – as one student paper put it, the sermon sparked an “outcry” and a torrent of criticism particularly on social media. The criticism ranged from complaints that Beckum had politicized his sermons to the idea that he had insulted Christians who served in the military.
What was this controversial sermon that Beckum gave? Here’s the full text and below you’ll find an embedded video of the sermon:
Beckum’s sermon that day was about America’s addiction to violence, citing the film “American Sniper” as a symptom of that, and how this was problematic for Christianity, a religion founded on the ideals of nonviolence. Here’s an excerpt:
As you know two movies came out recently. Selma, the story of one of the 20th century most influential Christian leaders, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led a non-violent movement that changed the course of American History forever. And American Sniper, the story of the most deadly Navy SEAL sniper in American history. Selma has made 29-30 million so far. American Sniper made over 103 million in the first 4 days. Gives you an idea about who our heroes are. I don’t think it is an under-statement to say that our culture is addicted to violence, guns, war, revenge and retaliation. Unfortunately, so are a lot of Christians.
He went on to say that we have to “be very careful about equating patriotism with Christianity,” and implored his flock to be “controlled by love, compelled by love for everyone.”
Shortly after Beckum’s sermon, it was announced that he would no longer be the vice president of the university’s Community Foundation. Although the university president claimed Beckum had previously expressed interest in stepping down from that position, his daughter disputes this assertion.
Many in the MNU community are wondering if Beckum was “punished” for his pro-peace sermon, and the timing of his dismissal as VP of the community foundation seems to validate those concerns. “Even the people that were frustrated with what (Beckum) had to say in chapel, or wanted to challenge it, were confused and almost offended by the demotion,” said Kristi Rose Jackson, who was elected to be student body president.
Sadly, it appears that MNU may have given into the furor and decided that a Christian clergyman preaching the peace the founder of the faith stood for is simply too controversial for their campus.
LISTEN: Mourners sing ‘Amazing Grace’ outside the Supreme Court to celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Heartwarming videos were shared on social media on Friday night showing the spontaneous gathering at the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The large crowd, with many people wearing masks, sang the hymn "Amazing Grace."
Here are some of the videos of the scene:
A moving moments as dozens join in to sing “Amazing Grace” on the steps of the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/NGZyZi4YR4
— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) September 19, 2020
WATCH: Trump reveals how he can manipulate Democrats to help him put Ted Cruz on the Supreme Court
President Donald Trump spoke about his plans for the Supreme Court during a Friday night campaign rally in Bemidji, Minnesota.
Trump took the stage before news was announced that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died and appeared to not know of the Supreme Court vacancy.
Trump explained to his audience why he had put Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on his shortlist for a Supreme Court nomination.
“I said, you know, I have to have someone that we’re going sure we get approved and the only one I could think of is Ted, because he’s going to get 50 Republican votes and he’s going to get 50 Democrat votes — they’ll do anything to get him out of the Senate," Trump said.
Mitch McConnell flattened by ex-White House official for plan to rush through Ginsburg replacement
Appearing with CNN host Anderson Cooper, former White House adviser David Gergen rained hell on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) after he announced he would rush through a vote on a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just hours after it was announced she had passed away.
Gergen, who served in the White House under both Republican and Democratic presidents seemed beside himself with anger when he talked about McConnell who notoriously blocked Merrick Garland from the court after being nominated by former President Barack Obama.
"Mitch McConnell has just thrown down the gauntlet, we're going to have a titanic fight over this," Gergen exclaimed. "Yes, as Jeffrey [Toobin] has said, it will mobilize a lot of people on the right, the hunger still to overturn Roe vs Wade to get social issues on the 6-3 court, they will think Donald Trump has delivered on his promises."