By Melissa Wuske
Flag Facts for the Fourth
The iconic American flag has a rich lore, full of myths and little-known facts: Our current flag was designed by a high school student; Robert G. Heft submitted it as a school project, and it was eventually chosen by President Eisenhower. Heft designed a 51-star option also, in case the need arose. Wearing items made to look like the flag or dipping the flag to honor a person or thing are both flag no-nos. Old Glory and the Star-Spangled Banner are both specific flags; Old Glory was made for Captain William Driver’s whaling ship in the early 1800s, and the Star-Spangled Banner is the flag, as noted in the song, that Francis Scott Key saw flying over Fort McHenry.
Translators Respond to Terror
After suspected Islamic radicals in an undisclosed part of the Middle East killed four of its translators, Wycliffe Associates held a training session, also in an unstated location, to help Bible translators in areas under terrorist control where Christians are at risk. According to Wycliffe, after the attack, “The remaining translation team has decided to redouble their efforts to translate, publish, and print God’s Word for these eight language communities.” The training focuses on new strategies that shorten translation time, so that portions of Scripture can be available in weeks or months instead of years, minimizing the time translators are at risk.
“God’s Word will be placed in the hands—and the hearts—of people in multiple nations, nations I can’t name because the risk is so great,” said Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “Our response to the terror and tragedy is to flood the area with God’s Word in the language of the local people.”
Power from Food Waste
Heartland Biogas Project is turning food waste from Colorado into electricity. Heartland uses anaerobic digestion, a technology that basically digests food like a human stomach. Giant vats filled with a mixture of food waste—anything from spoiled milk to grease to banana peels—and manure react to helpful bacteria. The result is a water-based sludge (reused for future digestion processes), a solid material useful in compost, and methane gas, which is channeled in to a pipeline to produce electricity.
Much of the 130 billion pounds of food Americans wasted in 2015 (which is about a third of the total food supply) produces methane in landfills, but then the gas isn’t put to use.
Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?
Because white evangelicals (75 percent of all evangelicals) are the segment of religious people most opposed to immigration reform, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) targeted this group in a recent study on immigration options. Around 54 percent of white evangelicals were in favor of the opportunity for undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship, and 12 percent support allowing people to earn permanent legal status.
“The growing number of evangelicals who believe we should continue to be a country that welcomes immigrants is a clarion call at a crucial time in our nation,” said Stephan Bauman, President of World Relief. Another indicator of the future is the opinion of younger evangelicals: 55 percent think immigrants strengthen society. These areas of agreement are vital since immigration is a polarizing topic. “While there may be differences over policy details, evangelicals agree that the Bible calls us to treat immigrants with respect and compassion,” said Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations for the National Association of Evangelicals.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).