The America I Thought I Knew

[Note: I've still got a lot of raw emotions, and this post is written in the spirit of catharsis. If that's not what you need right now, feel free to skip it. You may also like this one: Dear America, Stop Gaslighting Me]Over the last few days, I've been cycling back and forth through all the stages of grief, trying to come to terms with what's happened. I've come to realize that the reason that last week's election results were such a devastating and unexpected blow - even besides the … [Read more...]

What to Do Now

This is a guest post by my wife Elizabeth, who blogs and podcasts at Political Flavors. Follow her on Twitter at @MissCherryPi.I'm an optimist and so Trump's election came as a huge shock to me. I was so sure Hillary Clinton would be our next president I never even considered what this would feel like. On election night, family and friends who knew of my certainty in a Clinton victory texted me things like "I'm scared. Please reassure me." and I responded "Don't worry, everything's fine! It … [Read more...]

The Morning After

I was so, so wrong. I'm still numb. Disbelief.If there were anything that gave me even slim comfort on this awful day, it would be that all the polls got it just as wrong as I did. I don't feel that I did the wrong thing by relying on the best data we had. But it's clear that this was the worst polling failure in the history of politics. A lot of pollsters are going to have some serious explaining to do before I ever trust them again.I thought I knew my country. I was wrong. I thought … [Read more...]

Election 2016, Everybody Stop Freaking Out Edition

First things first: Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote for president. Vote in downballot races. Vote if you live in a swing state. Vote if you live in a safe state. Find your polling place. Make a plan for how and when you'll get there. Most of all, get out and vote. And after you've voted, if you have the time and the inclination, help others do it too: Phone bank. Knock doors. Help drive eligible voters to the polls.Have you done all that? Good. Now, here's what I have to say to liberals: For the love … [Read more...]

How Liberal is Catholicism, Really?

Last month, I wrote about a Catholic church's attempt to rebrand itself as a hip, welcoming institution. At the time, I noted that the clergy were striving to broadcast an aura of tolerance without changing any of their actual rules.More recently, I mentioned a conservative archbishop urging liberal and moderate members to quit the church. Much debate ensued, but there was at least one person who felt I was being too harsh:Catholic social doctrine is only "conservative" on a very … [Read more...]

Repost: The Coming Secular Era

[I'm working on a new talk and another big project I hope to announce soon. Blogging may be intermittent for the next few days. In the meantime, enjoy this classic post.]The most important changes don't come in the form of attention-grabbing headlines, but subtle trends that quietly gather momentum until, by the time they finally burst into public view, they're unstoppable. Such is the case with the most important, and paradoxically most underappreciated, trend in American religion today: … [Read more...]

A Fireside Chat with the Tempter

It was a chilly autumn night, and I was up late in my study. In the hearth, a bright blaze of logs had long since crumbled into glowing coals, filling the room with warmth. Outside, an orange harvest moon hung low over dark treetops, and jack-o-lanterns hid among the tangled stubble of the garden path, their grinning faces reflected in the dark glass of the window.My thoughts were growing heavy, turning pleasurably to sleep, when I was roused by a sudden, sharp rapping at the door. The … [Read more...]

The Deserved Death of Coal

I grew up in a house with a coal-burning furnace. Once a month or so, a dump truck would back up to our garage and refill the coal bin. I was fascinated by those soft, glossy black chunks which looked like rock but burned with ferocious fire in the belly of the furnace, keeping the house toasty warm on even the coldest winter days.I mention this just to show that I feel a little bit of nostalgia for coal. And as a New Yorker, I have to concede that coal-fired ovens make the best pizza. But … [Read more...]

Jack Chick’s Cowardly Evangelism

Jack Chick has died. His publishing company broke the news on Facebook:To be honest, I was surprised because I thought Jack Chick had died long ago. I assumed the tract business was being run by descendants or new owners who hired artists to draw under his name. Chick's reclusiveness probably fed this perception: according to his Wikipedia page, he only did one interview after 1975, and there are few pictures of him, none of them recent.As many atheists know, Chick tracts push an … [Read more...]

Why Liberal Catholics Should Leave the Church

I knew that the Catholic church was having recruitment problems, but not like this. Charles Chaput, the ultraconservative archbishop of Philadelphia, gave a speech in which he encouraged liberal and moderate Catholics to leave the church:"[W]e should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness."Losing people who are members of the church in name only is an imaginary loss," he continued. … [Read more...]