Last Week, Today: Even the government’s smartest lawyers can’t figure out religious liberty

Essential Reads on Faith, Politics & Culture

Update: MTV interviews Alan Noble and Michael Wear on how Public Faith represents an "armistice for the culture war."

Even the government’s smartest lawyers can’t figure out religious liberty

Emma Green provides a well-balanced, astute perspective on the recent US Commission on Civil Rights report on religious liberty.

Donald Trump’s anything-goes campaign sets an alarming political precedent

Jonathan Martin writes on the potential implications that Trump's campaign will have on future political races, "in which candidates pay no penalty for unabashedly telling untruths, disregarding the public’s right to know, and lobbing racially charged accusations."

Also worth reading is Evan Osnos' well-researched piece on what Trump's first term in president would likely look like.

U.S. household incomes soared in 2015, recording biggest gain in decades

Some important facts to note from this article: 
- In 2015, "the poverty rate fell by 1.2 percentage points, the steepest decline since 1968." 
- Median household income rose 5.2% in 2015, which is the largest single-year rise in the history of our measuring that statistic (since 1967) 
- In 2015, "incomes increased across racial and ethnic groups as well as for both men and women. The gender pay gap narrowed to a record low"

I used to be a human being

Andrew Sullivan pens an essay on how his relationship with the internet almost killed him -- quite literally.

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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.