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In recent weeks, several high-profile religious leaders—including Pope Francis, Billy Graham, and Russell Moore—have expressed concern that churches can get so involved with controversial social and political causes that other important aspects of ministry are neglected, relationships suffer, and basic common teachings are overshadowed. Is it time for faith leaders to tone down the activism and pull back from engaging in contentious "culture wars"?

Contributors include John Beckett, Joseph Bottum, Deborah Dykes, David French, Josh Good, and Valerie Hudson.

The Patheos Public Square is produced in partnership with Christianity Today and the Progressive Christian Initiative.

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Featured Panelists

Change the World by Caring for Souls

Change the World by Caring for Souls

John Beckett, Druid Priest

If we think we can change the world through religiously motivated political activism, we are almost certain to fail. I'm convinced we will change the world by caring for souls, not by political mandates.

Preaching Social Ethics: Boring and Doomed

Preaching Social Ethics: Boring and Doomed

Joseph Bottum, The Weekly Standard

Christianity is fundamentally a metaphysics. Christendom is mostly an ethics. Our trouble these days is that Christendom is broken.

Heaven and Hell Have No Place in Public Policy-Making

Heaven and Hell Have No Place in Public Policy-Making

Deborah Dykes, The D.L. Dykes, Jr. Foundation

Salvation hysteria is a poor competitor to a Jesus of history who non-violently resisted the empire of his day and called the oppressed around him to join in God's program of justice.

Enduring Norms to Guide Millennials

Enduring Norms to Guide Millennials

Josh Good, American Enterprise Institute

Today's college grads should think in terms of a decades-long engagement with civic and political life, even if it often seems broken. What principles can guide the way?

Pull Back from Politics? Evangelicals Aren't Engaged Enough

Pull Back from Politics? Evangelicals Aren't Engaged Enough

David French, American Center for Law and Justice

It's easy to generate example after example where a biblical witness is necessary in the great questions of our time—not just in abortion and economics but also in matters of war and peace.

The LDS Church: From Proposition 8 to Religious Freedom

The LDS Church: From Proposition 8 to Religious Freedom

Valerie M. Hudson, Texas A&M University

Though California's Prop. 8 passed by a wide margin, the LDS Church and its members and allies received painful bruises for being involved in the campaign. Here are three lessons learned from that experience.

Religious Progressives Have No Choice But to Keep Fighting

Religious Progressives Have No Choice But to Keep Fighting

New messaging from conservative faith leaders may simply amount to what in D.C. is called "optics": a superficial retreat rather than a substantive one.

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