Last Week, Today: The divided soul of the Democratic Party

Essential Reads on Faith, Politics & Culture

The divided soul of the Democratic Party

Faith was widely displayed in last week's Democratic National Convention, from Hillary Clinton's Methodism, to Tim Kaine's Catholicism, to Rev. Barber's fiery speech. Democrats seem poised to take over the ground that some sayRepublicans have effectively ceded on faith, but there are tensions in the party around faith that will be difficult to navigate in the months and years ahead. David Gibson has the scoop.

Read alongside: This America magazine profile of Tim Kaine and how he tries to balance his Catholic faith with his party's politics.

A moment like this used to get a black man killed

Charles Pierce delivers a beautiful, almost musical riff on Obama's speech at the DNC and the unique "aesthetic of cool" that Obama has developed.

"So much of the president's aesthetic of cool comes from his ability to internalize the original promises of the country, the ones made by people who owned other people as property, who talked big but lived small, and to transform them into his own language, to run riffs on Jefferson the way that John Coltrane ran riffs on Rodgers and Hammerstein."

The thing both conservatives and liberals want but aren’t talking about

If the Democratic Party is the party of "nanny-states" and the GOP party, at this point, is a party of ethno-nationalism, what is missing from both sides, Shadi Hamid argues, is a "civic communitarinism," or a "recognition that meaning ultimately comes from local communities rather than happiness-maximizing individuals or bloated nanny-states."

It's worth noting that Hillary Clinton's speech at the DNC, David Grahamwrites, seemed to speak to that very value. She is offering a "small-c conservative viewpoint, emphasizing community, family, and cooperation," in contrast to Trump's semi-authoritarian promise that "I alone can fix it."


A few days ago, Paul Vallely wrote in the NYT that Rev. Jacques Hamel should not designated as a "martyr" for that label would aid ISIS' narrative that it is engaging in a "war of religions." Alan Jacobs severely picks apart Vallely's op-ed; "the ancient commitment to honor the martyrs of Christ" takes priority and primacy over any political strategy.

Federal appeals court strikes down North Carolina voter ID requirement

A three-judge panel has tossed out North Carolina's requirement that voters present photo identification at the polls, as well as restored voters’ ability to register on Election Day, to register before reaching age 18, and to cast early ballots.

These voting requirements, the judges noted, were drafted only after Republican leaders received data indicating that African-Americans would be the voters most significantly affected by them. They wrote that the provisions deliberately “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision” in an effort to depress black turnout at the polls.

Muslims go to Catholic Mass across France to show solidarity

This past Sunday, many Muslims in France and Italy attended Catholic Mass as a gesture of solidarity. “These people [terrorists] are tainting our religion and it is terrible to know that many people consider all Muslim terrorists. That is not the case,” an imam who attended mass said. “Religion is one thing. Another is the behavior of Muslims who don’t represent us.”

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Michael’s book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America is available for pre-order now on Amazon,IndieBoundBooks-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.