Last week's headlines on politics, religion and culture
Update: Michael is interviewed on "In the Square," a podcast on progressive Christianity hosted by a Franciscan friar and political strategist, Eric Fought. Michael describes his analysis of the #SOTU, how he came to faith, and what it was like to work with Obama.
1. Many Conservatives Speak Out Against Cruz
First it was David Brooks, describing Ted Cruz as a Pharisee devoid of Christian values of compassion and humility, although many took him to task for his poor legal analysis of an old case that Cruz fought as Texas' solicitor general.
Then it was Matthew Lee Anderson, a conservative evangelical, who compares Trump and Cruz to the "undead," for they are rehashing old Religious Right tactics not in pursuit "of a common good for all people, but a nihilistic cynicism animated by resentment and anxiety."
Contrast Cruz's vision with Marco Rubio's, which was described by his faith outreach liaison as "liberalism in its truest sense, a place where every American is free to live out their beliefs and values in proximity with those who don’t necessarily share them and respect one another’s differences.”
A few months before the Iowa polls in 2007, the NY Post published an article, "Hillary Ready for her Coronation." All polls were pointing towards a Clinton victory. Jon Favreau, Obama's chief speechwriter, tells the story of the speech in a diner in Iowa that turned it all around.
One of the biggest news this past week was the freeing of three Americans, who have been detained in Iran for years, including a pastor, Saeed Abedini. It's worth reading the President's entire speech to put this hostage exchange in context of the seismic shift in Iran's relationship with the US. With the lifting of ten-year-long international sanctions, Iran's economy can now finally open up to the global market.
4. Too much politics? How about some football...
Many years ago, Gary Haugen, CEO of International Justice Mission (IJM) visited a high school to talk about modern-day slavery. One of the students listening was really impacted and promised that if he ever got a platform to shine some light on IJM, he would do so. That student was Kirk Cousins, who is now the quarterback of the Washington Redskins. Listen to this interview of both Cousins and Haugen.
Thank you for reading.