Last Week, Today: Speak truth to Trump

Essential Reads on Faith, Politics & Culture

Update: For those of you in Atlanta, Michael will be speaking tomorrow night in Emory University on "The Politics We Need: Faith, the Presidential Election and the Choices Ahead," as part of Emory's lecture series on faith and politics.

Speak truth to Trump

Andy Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today, lays out in stark terms why the choice to vote for Trump out of "reluctant strategic calculation" is an idolatrous act. "Strategy becomes idolatry when we betray our deepest values in pursuit of earthly influence," he writes.

Evangelical exiles: How Trump is driving some believers away from the GOP

Jon Ward profiles two examples of a new generation of evangelicals: Jim Daly, the new president of Focus on the Family, and Michelle Higgins, an Urbana evangelical speaker and Black Lives Matter activist.

Standing by Donald Trump, Pat Robertson calls lewd video ‘macho talk’

Although some evangelical leaders and theologians, such as Wayne Grudem, pulled back their support of Trump after the leaked recording, several leaders -- James Dobson, Jerry Fallwell Jr. and Pat Robertson -- are justifying Trump's behavior.

The deep disgust for Hillary Clinton that drives so many evangelicals to support Trump

Sarah Pulliam Bailey digs into the archives of the '90s to explain why many evangelicals have a long-bred, visceral aversion to Hillary Clinton. Michael is quoted in this article.

Turning 40 while single and childless

Bethany Jenkins pens a poignant reflection on what it feels like to desire children as a single, childless woman, as well as the spiritual family that a church can provide.

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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, IndieBound, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.

Last Week, Today: America's first post-Christian debate

Essential Reads on Faith, Politics & Culture

Update... Michael is interviewed by Christian Today, a UK publication, on his thoughts on Trump: "He does not contain an ounce of the grace or thoughtfulness of the man he wants to succeed, the understanding of the job and the aspirations to service of the woman he is running against, or the character and commitment to conservatism of the Republican Party's previous nominees.'

America's first post-Christian debate

Presidential candidates in debates have always appealed, if not directly to religion, then at least to America's "civil religion," defined by sociologist Robert Bellah, which drew heavily from Judeo-Christian values. This past debate was unique, Yoni Applebaum argues, in that both candidates largely abandoned the rhetoric of America's religion.

How decades of divorce helped erode religion

A new study from Pew reports that divorce may be a predictor of whether children become religious or nonreligious as adults. Thirty-five percent of the children of divorced parents say that they are nonreligious, compared with 23 percent of people whose parents were married when they were children.

Torn over Donald Trump and cut off by culture wars, evangelicals despair

The NYT provides a nuanced portrait of the internal conflicts that conservative evangelicals, particularly those who care about religious liberty, face when it comes to Trump.

How the Iraq war warped Obama's worldview

President Obama was right about the Iraq war. Shadi Hami asks: But does that necessarily make him right about Syria?

Our two political options in a post-Christian nation

Ross Douthat, in a talk at Messiah college, framed the two political options that Christians now face. They can either rely on political strong men to protect them from the forces of secularization. Or they can rejigger the two-party system and promote a political approach that is decidedly Christian in orientation. John Fea, professor at Messiah College, narrates the story.

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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 AmazonIndieBoundBooks-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.

Last Week, Today: ​The Ultimate Exit Interview

Essential Reads on Faith, Politics & Culture

Last week, Michael launched a new website, as well as a new resource he created: “5 Questions Christians Should Ask Before Voting.” You can receive the resource by visiting www.michaelwear.com and signing up for it, or because you are already receiving this newsletter, just reply to this email and Michael will send you the pdf of the document. Finally, Michael was able to speak about "Christian Faithfulness and Modern American Politics” last night at Door Creek Church in Madison, WI. A picture from the event is at the end of this newsletter. More updates from Michael on the election and Reclaiming Hope to come soon!

The Ultimate Exit Interview

Doris Kearns Goodwin, a biographer of several US presidents, and Barack Obama met to talk about "peculiar ambitions," haunting decisions, and how Obama thinks of himself in the context of those who have gone before him.

When It comes to Baskets, We're all Deplorable

JD Vance responds in The New York Times to Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" comment. "Those with morally objectionable viewpoints can still be good people," Vance writes. "Most of us fall into another basket altogether: One where prejudice — even implicit — coexists with incredible compassion and decency."

How Civil Society in the EU & US is “Countering Violent Extremism”

Melissa writes about a recent report published by the British Council, along with Georgia State University and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, that explores the ways in which civil society organizations are working towards countering violent extremism.

The Best News You Don't Know

Most Americans, regardless of political views, believe that global poverty has worsened or remained steady in the past 20 years. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. Nicholas Kristof reports.

The Definitive Story of How the National Museum of African American History and Culture Came to Be

In 1915, a group of African-American veterans of the Civil War proposed a museum to commemorate African-American history in Washington. That idea has finally come to fruition. The director of the museum, Lonnie Bunch, narrates how the museum came to be and how it tells the story of America's identity.

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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 AmazonIndieBoundBooks-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.

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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.

Last Week, Today | Relatively few Americans live in partisan media bubble, but they’re influential

Update: Millenial, an online blog and journal by Catholic millennials,interviewed Michael on Public Faith and its new voice in this political season.

Relatively few Americans live in partisan media bubble, but they’re influential

Despite our politically polarized climate, the majority of Americans get their political news from mainstream, relatively centrist media sources like MSN or AOL. So why all the talk of "partisan media bubble"? Brendan Nyhan explains.

Clinton, Trump, or neither? 3 views on the 2016 presidential election

Christianity Today has a special election feature: Three evangelical leaders - Ron Sider, James Dobson and Sho Baraka - write about how they will be voting in the presidential election this November. (Spoiler Alert: James Dobson’s interview is ridiculous.)

Civil rights or religious liberty — what’s on top?

U.S. Civil Rights Commission issued a report Wednesday that flatly states "religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights....significantly infringe upon these civil rights." It also states that "a basic right as important as the freedom to marry should not be subject to religious beliefs.”

This election’s faith-based candidate

EJ Dionne Jr. writes about how Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged millions of Americans like him and Hillary Clinton who grew up in a conservative family to "embrace a Christian’s obligation to struggle for social and racial justice."

Reactionaries in our time

Rod Dreher explains how the "Benedict Option" is not an attempt to recreate a Golden Age in history, but a "recovery of the metaphysical vision the premodern Christians had," that is, "communities within which it is possible to live in greater harmony with God (which is to say, with reality) and with each other."

Pete Wells has his knives out

Ian Parker provides an inside look into the world of food criticism and Pete Wells, the restaurant critic at The New York Times.

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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.