Those Suspicious Medical Missionaries

“It’s great that these people are doing God’s work, but do they have to talk about Him so much?” So muses Brian Palmer at Slate about the work of medical missionaries like Dr. Kent Brantly, who contracted Ebola in Liberia. I’m almost embarrassed to write about this piece, because it is such an easy target. [Read More...]

An Interview with Steven Smith on Religious Liberty

I recently interviewed Steven D. Smith about his new Harvard University Press book, The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom. Smith is Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego and Co-Executive Director of the USD Institute for Law and Religion.  [Kidd] Thanks for taking the time for an interview, Professor Smith! [Read More...]

Clemson vs. The Secularists

The football program at my beloved alma mater, Clemson University, has become the target of legal threats by the militant secularist/atheist group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation. This group trolls about the country, looking for evidences of religion in public life, and threatening lawsuits whenever such evidences are discovered. Clemson’s coach Dabo Swinney is an [Read More...]

The Quaker Contribution to Religious Liberty

As I noted in a recent post for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Founding Fathers were quite familiar with the concept of religious exemptions from laws. In the eighteenth century, among the groups most often calling for such exemptions were the Quakers. The Quakers were pacifists who would [Read More...]

Unintended Consequences in American Religious History

Evan Treborn has a gift.  The main character in the 2004 science-fiction film The Butterfly Effect, Evan possesses the ability to travel back to particular points in his life, changing the events of that moment.  Over the course of the movie, he does this several times, hoping to change outcomes for the better.  Of course, [Read More...]

Yes, Religious Liberty is Threatened in America

Oral arguments begin today at the Supreme Court in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, a case precipitated by the HHS Mandate, under which corporations must provide abortifacient and contraceptive coverage to employees. This requirement, the most controversial in a host of controversial provisions under Obamacare, has elicited a host of lawsuits from a variety of religious organizations, [Read More...]

The End of Religious Freedom?

Smith Freedom

What is religious freedom? Is it the freedom to worship or otherwise interact with God, gods, or other things and entities as one sees fit? Is it freedom of conscience in terms of the supernatural? If religious freedom also involves the right to live out one’s religion in the public sphere, how far does that [Read More...]

Thoughts on That Last Thin Mint

Cookie Poster

This week closes Girl Scout cookie season in Massachusetts.  (There are people out there who politely beg off buying a box with the excuse that they still have some of last year’s in the freezer: that’s just wrong.) The Girl Scouts have successfully avoided much of the controversy dogging the Boy Scouts, although they have [Read More...]

Personality-Driven Leadership in the Local Congregation

Hatch - Democratization

In my last post, I suggested that the evangelical embrace of personality-driven leadership forms the backstory to the Mark Driscoll-Janet Mefferd imbroglio over plagiarism.  Several commentators on the blog raised astute questions regarding the pervasive nature of this aspect of American evangelicalism.  After all, doesn’t personality-driven leadership characterize evangelicalism in local congregations, not just mega-ministries [Read More...]

Flipping the Bird: Reflections on a Thanksgiving Fraud

McKenzie

Americans generally view Thanksgiving as an idyllic affair. Kind Indians wearing paper feathers teaching black-and-white clad Pilgrims to survive in the New England wild. Sitting down to eat tryptophan together. And celebrating, if Rush Limbaugh is to be believed in his just-released book Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, that “capitalism and Scripture saved the [Read More...]


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