“No Politics in Church? Not So Fast.” | Religion & Politics // As many of us have heard, Pew Research recently came out with a study highlighting the decline of Christianity and the rise of the unaffiliated and atheist. Many of these studies have shown that one of the primary reasons people leave the Church is because they feel it is too wrapped in partisan politics. This piece tries to offer a way forward.
North Carolina Governor Vetoes Religious Conscience Gay Marriage Bill | New York Times // Shocking everyone, the incredibly Republican Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory vetoed a bill from the Republican legislature that would have let judicial magistrates refuse to certify gay marriages if they had a religious objection. No matter where you land on this issue, this is an interesting test case for the complexities of how Christians–in and out of office–should engage with issues politically. McCrory, a Christian who personally opposes gay marriage, felt that civil law should trump religious conscience in this case. Do you agree or not?
“The Pulpit & the Ballot Box” | NYT Opinion // This is an incredibly fascinating discussion, bringing together six very different commentators to talk about their views on politics and religion. Worth a read to hear a lot of different perspectives.
“How Nebraska Abolished the Death Penalty” | The Atlantic // Recently, Nebraska overcame a gubernatorial veto to became the first conservative state to abolish to death penalty. Many of the legislators voted for it for religious reasons. Others did it for fiscally conservative reasons. Either way, it’s a fascinating example of the collision of religion, politics, and partisanship. If you support the death penalty for religious reasons, would you abandon that conviction for political or economic considerations? If you oppose it, how do you feel about the issue being discussed and decided on non-moral grounds?
Book Recommendation of the Week
Bad Religion | Ross Douthat // This is one of my favorite books of all time. In it, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat gives us a brief history of Christianity in America, to show how and why Christian faith has become what it is today. He argues that Americans are no less “religious” than ever, they just believe heresy. The final chapter where he charts a way forward is, on its own, worth buying the book.
Quote of the Week
“Most people now are looking for “a better place,” which means that a lot of them will end up in a worse one…. There is no “better place” than this, not in this world. And it is by the place we’ve got, and our love for it and our keeping of it, that this world is joined to Heaven.”