Smart people saying smart things (4.8)

Fred Kaplan on the outline of the deal with Iran. Mary Hunt on the Vatican Council on Women. Helaine Olen on the amnesia of the poor scolds. Marika Rose on the meaning of “Christianity.” And Ed Kilgore reminds us that “We’ve Used ‘Religious Liberty’ for Discrimination Before.” [Read more...]

The Dyer consequences of ‘weaponized’ religious liberty for religious minorities and for the majority


The execution of Mary Dyer obviously had rather extreme consequences for her as an individual from a religious minority, but the consequences of that execution for the religion of the Puritan majority was even more extreme. It required that majority religion to take the shape of a political weapon. And it meant that this function as a coercive, weaponized tool of political power trumped any other consideration of creed or dogma or doctrine. [Read more...]

Between Scalia and Charybdis (another non-scholarly look at why an awful Supreme Court ruling was awful and made RFRA necessary)

"Sirens Scylla and Charybdis," by Wolfgang Schweizer.

This is a false choice and a Bad Thing: “It may fairly be said that leaving accommodation to the political process will place at a relative disadvantage those religious practices that are not widely engaged in; but that unavoidable consequence of democratic government must be preferred to a system in which each conscience is a law unto itself or in which judges weigh the social importance of all laws against the centrality of all religious beliefs.” [Read more...]

‘Weaponized’ religious exemptions, in turn, weaponize religion (part 1)

Print this out and you can save two bucks per adult on a genuine Amish buggy ride.

This weaponized use of religious exemptions has changed the context of the entire conversation that previously shaped our legal and neighborly accommodation of such exemptions. It is no longer about the classic examples of exemptions that are fundamentally defensive in character. This is an effort to use religious exemptions as an offensive weapon for political purposes that have nothing to do with the religious beliefs supposedly in question. [Read more...]

Artificial lemons


The Indiana governor just signed into law something called a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” But the law itself is nothing like its 1993 namesake. It’s an artificial Lemon. Indiana’s new law is not an attempt to hold statutes restricting religious liberty to strict scrutiny. It is, rather, a reaffirmation and expansion of the obnoxious logic of the Oregon v. Smith ruling that the real RFRA was written to correct. And it goes beyond that, to grant this power to discriminate not just to the state itself, but to private businesses and business owners. [Read more...]

Here, at last, is our 2016 campaign/’Too Many Cooks’ mashup


Back in January, I asked “Where is our 2016 GOP/Too Many Cooks mashup?” The Internet finally comes through thanks to — surprisingly — CNN. No, really CNN. Who knew they had it in them? (They left out George Pataki, and Snarf, but I’m not complaining.) [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (3.20)

Conor Williams dissects David Brooks. Robin DiAngelo on white fragility. Kevin Kruse on the corporate creation of “Christian America.” And Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess on the simplicity of consent. Plus, Christian leaders from across America come together to acknowledge that Franklin Graham is awful. [Read more...]

‘I was homeless, and you chased me away …’

Screen shot 2015-03-19 at 3.33.01 PM

“There is a way to keep safe, clean grounds while helping our homeless neighbors — and it’s both easier and harder than installing sprinkler systems or putting up fences. It requires the investment of time and resources to build relationships, listen and help.” [Read more...]