Actor Matthew McConaughey, who stars in the new historical epic Free State of Jones, says that the film’s main character was inspired by the Bible. Speaking with The Daily Beast, McConaughey says that the real-life character Newton Knight led a rebellion against the Confederacy because he believed that the Bible taught people to stand against injustice. He said,
Knight had a moral code rooted in the Bible and the Declaration of Independence: love thy neighbor as thyself, and all men are created equal. So he had a very radical relationship with his own independence, and interdependence—which is very American. Extremely American …
All of this, the abolition of slavery in the Civil War at this time, they were almost all led by religious movements—Christian movements—that were trumping the ideals that everyone else had. They went further into it and said, ‘No, this is not right—because of the Bible'
He also added that the character was “not a ‘turn the other cheek’ New Testament guy,” saying, "One of the things I noticed about him was if he saw something that was wrong or unjust, he really had no way to ignore it.” As The Daily Beast notes, the real Newton was "a fierce man" who even snuck into the home of a Confederate official that was charged with finding local deserters and "shot him dead, right in the back."
McConaughey also said that he doesn’t think people today do a good job of using religion to bring people together. Instead, he said, that too often, it’s used to build walls. He explained,
Religion actually means, if you look up the Latin root, ‘re’ which means again, and ‘ligare,’ which means to bind together. It means exactly the opposite of what and how we are often practicing it these days!
The movie tells the true story of a Mississippi farmer who led a rebellion against Confederate forces during the Civil War, eventually establishing a new community based on racial equality in Jones County. Discuss
Wycliffe, the company dedicated to helping countries translate the Bible into their own languages, announced to their staff that four of their translators were brutally murdered and others injured by militants in the Middle East earlier this month. In the announcement letter, prayer coordinator Mae Greenleaf explained the militants' raid on their translation office in the Middle East:
Militants killed four national translators and injured several others in a raid on a translation office in the Middle East. They shot and destroyed all the equipment in the office including the Print On Demand (POD) equipment. The invaders burned all the books and other translation materials in the office. Two workers died of gunshot wounds. Two other workers laid on top of the lead translator—saved his life—and died deflecting bludgeoning blows from the radicals’ spent weapons.
Though the militants seemed intent on destroying the translations, the computer hard drives containing the translation work for eight language projects made it out unscathed. The remaining translation team has decided to double their efforts to "translate, publish and print God’s Word for these eight language communities." Greenleaf goes on to ask for prayer for the surviving translators, and for the attackers:
Please ask the Lord to mend the hearts and wounds of the translation team who have gone through this horrible ordeal. ... Pray with me for the killers too. Pray for these whose hearts are so hard. Pray the Lord will open their eyes to what they have done. Please ask the Lord to meet them, each one, right where they are. Pray that He will show Himself merciful, that they will know His forgiveness, His love and His peace.