Last Week, Today: The Biggest Challenge that the American Church Faces

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

Blog update: Sarah's interview with Jonathan Merritt is up on the blog. It was so good that we split it into two parts. The first part is on the biggest challenge that the American church faces in the next decade (answer: sexuality). The second part, which will be posted this Thursday, will be on how Merritt approaches his vocation as a writer in the public square. 

1. Stands on social issues tear at two main conservative bases

Recent clashes over LGBT rights and religious freedom in Georgia, North Carolina, and now Mississippi reveal a growing divergence between two traditional GOP blocks: conservative evangelicals and business leaders.

Here's some insight from Michael over these clashes: "Lesson from GA: it is very difficult to advance religious freedom protections re: LGBT progress in state with very few LGBT protections... How rel freedom loses: Christian adoption agencies are being shut down & youth groups kicked off campuses, but we're talking about bathrooms." 

2. A Culture War Breakthrough within SCOTUS?

The Supreme Court rarely asks parties to file supplemental briefs in order to find a solution that is satisfactory to all parties, but it is doing it with its current case on the contraception mandate. As EJ Dionne tweeted, "#SCOTUS rarely acts as a mediator but it's doing that on the #contraception mandate. A culture war breakthrough?"

3. Taking Anti-Anxiety Meds While Pregnant

Laura Turner writes in Elle about the tough choice she faced between taking anxiety meds while pregnant or "growing a fetus steeped in cortisol and adrenaline." 

4. The One Kind of Diversity that Colleges Avoid

John Hasnas, a professor at Georgetown, writes about how faculty searches weed out teachers with conservative views.

5. Liberalism, religious devotion and Islam

Navigating the tension between a liberal democracy (where individual autonomy is prioritized) and religious pluralism is not just a Christian issue -- it's a huge issue for Muslims as well. Brookings fellow Shadi Hamid has a series of thought-provoking tweets on the false neutrality of liberalism (also worth reading his earlier Atlanticpiece on France's false choice between liberalism and religious illiberalism). 

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