72 minutes | Feb 11th 2021

Old Testament Wisdom for Renaming Public Schools

One third of San Francisco public schools will be renamed in the coming months following a decision by the city’s school board to remove the names of individuals who had owned slaves, actively participated in segregation, or were colonizers.The decision, which includes 44 school sites, attracted national attention as it includes schools named for Thomas Jefferson Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.The decision has drawn scorn from conservatives who see the decision as yet another example of liberal hysteria but also from other liberals. Last week, The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner grilled Gabriela López, the head of San Francisco Board of Education who refuted some of the historical claims that had been made by the committee which had investigated the named figures. (Read the interview.)But the government isn’t the only actor wrestling over questions of renaming institutions. As Ravi Zacharias’s misdeeds have been exposed in recent months, the ministry named after him has wrestled with whether or not it should continue to bear his name.Of course, renaming places, and people, for that matter is not new. Throughout the Old Testament, God renames places and people. But why? That’s what we wanted to get into on the podcast this week.Carmen Joy Imes is associate professor of Old Testament and program coordinator of Bible and theology at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta and the of author of Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters and its forthcoming sequel, Being God’s Image: Why Creation Still Matters. She also joined Quick to Listen in 2020. (Listen to “When Those in Power Get Sick.”)Imes joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss Old Testament precedent for renaming people v. places, what it means for humans to have the ability to name, and whether or not churches should bear people’s names.What is Quick to Listen? Read moreRate Quick to Listen on Apple PodcastsFollow the podcast on TwitterFollow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted OlsenFollow our guest on Twitter: Carmen Joy ImesRead Imes’ blog: Chastened Institutions Music by SweepsQuick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt LinderThe transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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