Last week's roundup on faith, politics, and culture
1. Black Activism, Unchurched (The Atlantic)
#BLM activists are largely organizing outside the confines of the church, a departure from the civil rights era in which the church played a central role. Emma Green reports on how different Baltimore pastors are responding to this shift and how #BLM is changing the church.
2. Building the Virtuous Neighborhood (The American Conservative)
Donald Trump has exposed a problem that the GOP hasn't taken so seriously: the evisceration of the working class. A few weeks ago, we linked to a speech by Michael Gerson, who called for a conservative vision for the working class and poor. Matthew Loftus, who worked as a primary care physician in Baltimore for several years, offers a thoughtful glimpse into what that could look like. (Also relevant is an older article by Hannah Anderson on what the truly local church could do.)
3. How Obama Set a Trap for Raul Castro (Politico)
Obama has a way of awkwardly forcing foreign presidents who usually heavily censor the media to respond to questions from the press. Here's how he set up Castro.
Also another important achievement: Obama has quietly signed a bill that closes an 85-year-old loophole that allowed the importation of slave-produced goods.
4. Supreme Courts Weighs Religious Liberty Case
The Little Sisters of the Poor is a religious nonprofit made up of Catholic nuns who care for the elderly poor. Since 2012, they have been arguing that they are forced to violate their beliefs about the sanctity of life due to the Affordable Care Act's requirements on employers providing contraception to employees, and that the religious exemption that they've been granted is not sufficient. More background on ithere. Transcripts of the oral arguments before the Supreme Court, which seems split 4-4, have been released. Read key excerpts on the implications for churches at large, and why Little Sisters believe they aren't given a fair religious exemption, one that other religious employers have been given.
5. Election updates
The big story is Utah. Donald Trump (14%) not only lost to Ted Cruz (69.2%), but he also lost to John Kasich (16.8%). What explains this? Mormons. Although traditionally conservative, they really don't like Trump, and polls show that they would rather vote for a Democrat over him. The LDS church has a long track record of vigorously supporting religious freedom for all, due in part to the persecution they have historically faced, and immigration (more than any other religious group, except Jews), perhaps due to their experience of going on mission trips overseas.
Thank you for reading!