Category: Blog Posts

Which Democracy, Which Spirituality?

Not long ago, I thought “democracy” carried a near-sacred aura in American public life. No longer. There is a book I’ve not read yet, but the title is so spot-on the book is on my “must read” list. Astra Taylor wrote Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone. Confidence in democracy […]

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The Spiritual and Ethical Limits of National Sovereignty When the Planet is Burning

A few months ago, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro took refuge in a concept that may prove to be a dinosaur sooner rather than later: national sovereignty. When the leaders of world’s nations expressed alarm about the statistically abnormal rate the Amazon rain forest is burning this year, and offered financial assistance to battle the blazes, […]

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Fred Rogers, Best of the Protestant Mainline

Fred Rogers, known to generations of children and their parents, as Mister Rogers, was a Presbyterian minister. His show, begun in 1968, embodied much of old mainline Protestantism at its best. Without naming the Name, he walked the walk, in public spaces, and taught more what the way of Jesus by living it than most […]

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The ethic of “first, do no harm” would require major changes

There are laws, and there are ethics. Corporations in the U.S. have been granted legal “personhood” when it comes to matters such as political speech and campaign contributions. Some “closely held” corporations, such as Hobby Lobby, are allowed to extend their founders’ religious convictions to take precedence over laws that otherwise would apply. But what […]

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Why religion and politics are inseparable

[In the following essay, by “politics” I mean the value propositions that feed public policy, rather than electoral politics or public policy per se. I mean the “stuff” that in-forms public policy and how we vote.] Religion and politics—a pairing related to but different from church and state—are inseparable. While sometimes they taste sour together, […]

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Committing Faith in Public–The Rev. Shannon Fleck

Welcome to the first podcast of Committing Faith in Public! This is the podcast for people who want to be inspired by individuals and communities of faith doing good work in public. Our guests tell stories of their work to weave a more just, kind, and diversity-inclusive society. Our first guest is the Rev. Shannon […]

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Why E Pluribus Unum Is a Better Motto for Today than “In God We Trust”

On July 30, 1956, President Eisenhower signed the bill that made “In God We Trust” the national motto. This was the first official national motto and replaced the unofficial one, which goes back to the Franklin-Jefferson-Adams era, “E Pluribus Unum”: “Out of many, one.” I wish the nation would revert to “Out of many, one.” […]

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William Barr’s Faith-Based Stance on Public Morality in America

Overall, while there are many places where I fundamentally disagree with Mr. Barr, I do share a concern with him. The concern is not the decline of institutional Christianity, of a particular sort, but is this: Which institutions today are in a strong position to form moral communities and moral citizens that can develop the virtues necessary for a multicultural, shared-space democracy?

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The Problems with Saying “the Christian Left”

Christian progressives should resist the moniker “the Christian Left.” Given the powerful bond to right-left labeling in the culture, the phrase “Christian Left” might be inevitable. But the label is highly problematic. There are two fundamental problems. The first is because the label begs comparison, if not false equivalency, to the Christian Right. The second […]

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Why Religious Congregations Should Talk About Politics

If moderate and progressive religious congregations developed their members’ capacity to have difficult moral, ethical, political conversations, both the congregation and democracy in the U.S. could be improved.

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