Inazu is the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law & Religion at Washington University Law School. He is the author of Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference. That book was published two years ago and Inazu continues to believe in his thesis. Here is a taste of his recent piece at Christianity Today: The … Continue reading John Inazu Still Believes in Confident Pluralism
A few things online that caught my attention this week: Jon McNaughton: Trump’s court artist Some minor controversy at The Kings College Did Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence? Wilfred McClay on loyalty John Inazu on tax exemptions for religious institutions Evangelicals arguing about David and Bathsheba Italians and whiteness Kate Bowler on the preacher’s … Continue reading Sunday Night Odds and Ends
I was on Fall Break this weekend and probably spent way too much time reading and watching the news, following the Values Voter Summit, and tweeting. With the exception of the beautiful central Pennsylvania weather, I leave the weekend pretty discouraged. First, there was Beto O’Rourke’s remarks about removing the tax exempt status from churches, … Continue reading Thoughts on a Discouraging Weekend
Beto O’Rourke went to high school at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia. He graduated from the boarding school in 1991. Woodberry Forest is an all-boys school. Like most schools, colleges, and universities, it is a non-profit organization with tax-exempt status. I have lectured on Woodberry’s beautiful campus, ate dinner in its dining hall, and spent … Continue reading What Does Beto O’Rourke Think About His High School Alma Mater?
Here is Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on CNN last night: Every Democratic candidate for President of the United States should be asked this question. I have always appreciated Beto’s sense of conviction, but I hope he rethinks this one. His answer to Don Lemon shows a fundamental misunderstanding of religious liberty. In fact, this … Continue reading Beto O’Rourke: Churches and Religious Institutions Should Lose Tax-Exempt Status If They “Oppose Same Sex Marriage”
Universities like Duke claim to be bastions of free speech, inclusion, and pluralism, but they tend to define these commitments very narrowly. For example, the student government at Duke recently rejected Young Life‘s official status on campus because the Christian ministry supports traditional views on marriage and sexuality. Here is an article from the Duke … Continue reading Duke University Rejects Young Life
The administration of the University of Iowa does not want a Christian student group called Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) on campus because they do not permit LGBT students to hold leadership positions. After de-registering BLinC as an official student group, a federal judge temporarily re-instated the group. Over at Inside Higher Ed, Eboo Patel writes: … Continue reading What is Going on at the University of Iowa?
At the State Department’s recent “Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions claimed that there is a “dangerous movement, undetected by many” that is “challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom.” This “dangerous movement,” Sessions added, “must be confronted and defeated.” I am part of the camp that believes people with … Continue reading What Does the Trump Administration Mean by “Religious Freedom?”
Last week I did a post on evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem’s biblical defense of Donald Trump’s border wall. Here is what a couple of smart people tweeted about Grudem’s defense of the wall: I admire much of Wayne Grudem’s work. But this is crass politicization of biblical interpretation. It helps confirm secular critics’ worst caricatures … Continue reading What Happens When a Culture Warrior and a Confident Pluralist Exchange Tweets About Trump’s Border Wall?
As some of you know, I spent the last couple of days in Regina, Saskatchewan. The Canadian Society of Church History (CSCH) invited me to deliver the keynote address at its annual conference. (Thanks for everything Stuart Barnard!). The collegial historians associated with the CSCH made me feel very welcome and I thoroughly enjoyed getting … Continue reading Christian Political Engagement in the Age of Trump
I wrote this early last week and never got the chance to place it somewhere. Regular readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home will recognize it as a compilation of a couple of blog posts I wrote in the wake of the dedication of the new Jerusalem embassy. –JF Jesus said “I am … Continue reading Is Robert Jeffress a “Bigot” for Claiming that Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven?
On Monday, Robert Jeffress, the controversial pastor of the massive First Baptist Church in Dallas, offered the invocation at the dedication of Donald Trump’s new American embassy in Jerusalem. When it was revealed that Jeffress would be praying at the event, the pundits pounced. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP candidate for president, led the way. … Continue reading Is Robert Jeffress Really a Bigot?
Over at First Things, church historian Carl Trueman argues that Christian colleges need to prepare financially for a bleak future in a post-Christian age. He writes: The specific point of conflict is likely to be (once again) Title IX legislation that prohibits sexual discrimination at any institution of higher education receiving federal funding. The law does … Continue reading What Looms on the Horizon for Christian Colleges?
A few things online that caught my attention this week: Samuel Moyn reviews James C. Scott, Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States A public intellectual explains how she became a public intellectual Natural disastersNatural disasters are never entirely natural Fear in U.S. history The art of disagreement Richard Moe reviews Ron Chernow, Grant. … Continue reading Sunday Night Odds and Ends
Washington Post commentator Michael Gerson has joined the list of Dianne Feinstein critics. In case you are not up to speed, Feinstein appears to have shown anti-Catholic bias in her recent questioning of federal court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. She may have also violated Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. We have posted on this … Continue reading Michael Gerson on Dianne Feinstein’s “ignorance of religion itself”
It is a disaster for all the reasons Chris Gehrz makes clear in his post today at The Pietist Schoolman. (I should add the title of this post is mine). The so-called “Nashville Statement” is indeed “theology for the Age of Trump.” I don’t really have much to add to Gerhz’s post. I encourage … Continue reading The Nashville Statement is a Disaster
John Inazu, a law professor at Washington University and the author of Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Among Deep Differences, has weighed in on Princeton Theological Seminary’s decision to rescind the Kuyper Prize from evangelical Presbyterian minister Tim Keller. Get some background on this story here. Inazu raises some interesting questions in his post at the website … Continue reading Confident Pluralism, Princeton Seminary, and Tim Keller
Alternative title for this post: “The heroes of Rod’s book are almost all monks.” David Brooks has reviewed Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option. Here is a taste: Rod is pre-emptively surrendering when in fact some practical accommodation is entirely possible. Most Americans are not hellbent on destroying religious institutions. If anything they are spiritually hungry … Continue reading Answering “Secular Purism” With “Religious Purism”
Are American Christians being persecuted for their faith? I am not sure persecution is the right word. No one is coming into the homes of Christians with weapons threatening to kill them if they do not publicly denounce their faith. But if this was happening, wouldn’t it be a good thing? Didn’t Jesus say “Blessed … Continue reading The Benedict Option and Christian “Persecution” in America
In his March 2017 Christianity Today cover story, conservative writer Rod Dreher introduces evangelicals to “The Benedict Option.” I like Dreher’s published works. I read his book Crunchy Cons at a time in my intellectual journey when I was also reading a lot of Wendell Berry, Christopher Lasch, and others writing about the importance of … Continue reading The “Benedict Option” Versus “Confident Pluralism”