Last Week, Today: Are Conservative Christians ‘Religious Extremists'?

Last week's roundup on faith, politics, and culture

Update: POTUS has just announced a SCOTUS nominee, Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The White House noted the widespread respect that Garland commands, from Democrats and even Republicans, such as Orrin Hatch and John Roberts. Michael tweeted, "It shows a White House committed to overriding political strategy of appearing 'reasonable.'"

1. Are Conservative Christians ‘Religious Extremists'?

New data from the Barna Group shows that most Americans consider the beliefs and practices of traditionalist Christians -- from refusing to serve someone whose lifestyle conflicts with your beliefs, to attempting to convert someone, to praying out loud in public for a stranger -- "extreme." Jonathan Merritt argues that applying the label 'extremist' in the name of tolerance is its own form of intolerance. 

2. If evangelizing is now "extremist," then listen to this...

Nicole Cliffe, editor of The Toast, nervously tells her story to Caritas podcast about her conversion to Christianity as an adult atheist. Sneak peek: Dallas Willard and Laura Turner play important supporting roles. Holy Spirit is main actor, though.

3. How Donald Trump Made Me Hispanic

Ricky Alcantar, an evangelical pastor in El Paso, is technically Hispanic but has never really "felt" Hispanic all his life... until Donald Trump came on the scene. 

4. Nina Simone's Face

Nina Simone, a popular R&B and jazz singer, was extraordinary not just because of her music, but because of her face, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes. With her dark skin and big lips, she "was in possession of nearly every feature that we denigrated as children," and "yet she somehow willed herself into a goddess." This is why the casting of Zoe Saldana, who doesn't share much of Simone's features, in the Nina Simone biopic is troubling.  

5. Election update...

  • Marco Rubio's out. What's next for him? Jon Ward asks
  • Conservatives are starting to drift towards Cruz. Brad Littlejohn, PhD in Theology & Ethics, makes the case for why a Trump nomination might be better than a Cruz nomination. 
  • John Kasich won Ohio and is hanging in the race. Laura Turner nails why Kasich's sincere faith is hurting him with conservatives. 
  • Bernie Sanders is now much, much farther behind Hillary Clinton, even if he did do well in Illinois and Missouri. 

Thank you for reading!

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