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43 minutes | 11 days ago
Season 2, Ep. 04: Grading the Trump administration on religious freedom
What do we make of the Trump legacy when it comes to religious freedom? Go beyond the sound bites and confusing statements as Amanda and Holly analyze what really happened over the past four years. They note areas of agreement, instances where religious language was used to divide, how high-level appointments mattered, proliferations of religious exemptions, Betsy DeVos and the shift of public funds to religious schools, and what it all means for the future of religious liberty in our country. Segment 1: Divisive tactics and confusing statements (starting at 00:49) Holly was in this NPR story by Tom Gjelten: Religious Freedom Arguments Give Rise To Executive Order Battle For more on the protections of the Johnson Amendment, visit BJConline.org/JohnsonAmendment Read Attorney General Bill Barr’s 2019 speech at Notre Dame Law School at this link. Read Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s 2019 speech titled “Being a Christian leader” at this link. In season one, Amanda and Holly talked about religion and the public schools on episode 3 and episode 19. For more on the president’s photo-op with a Bible, listen to episode 15 from season one. Segment 2: Religious exemptions and the legacy of Betsy Devos (starting at 19:28) Amanda and Holly discussed the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act last season in episode 20 and episode 12. Listen to episode 2 from this season for a full discussion of the Fulton v. Philadelphia case or visit BJConline.org/Fulton For more on the Trinity Lutheran case, visit BJConline.org/TrinityLutheran For more on the Espinoza case, visit BJConline.org/Espinoza Holly mentioned the Department of Justice memo that didn’t say much about the Establishment Clause. Read it at this link. Segment three: Season of gratitude (starting at 38:53) Thank you for joining us each week! We are taking Thanksgiving off, but join us again the first week of December.
45 minutes | 18 days ago
Season 2, Ep. 03: Religion and politics: Decision 2020 and beyond
How did Christian nationalism show up on the campaign trail and at the ballot box? What is the possibility for religion to be a positive and unifying force for our politically divided country? How did President-elect Joe Biden talk about religion in his acceptance speech? Amanda and Holly look at religion and politics this election season — the good, the bad and the confusing. Segment one: Christian nationalism in the 2020 election (starting at 00:52) For more on the political ideology of Christian nationalism, visit BJConline.org/ChristianNationalism Read and sign the statement at ChristiansAgainstChristianNationalism.org Amanda mentioned two episodes from season one to take a deeper dive on Christian nationalism: Episode 11: Christian nationalism during the coronavirus pandemic Episode 15: Protests, the president, and the photo op with a Bible For more on the speech by Vice President Mike Pence on Old Glory, read this Religion News Service story by Jack Jenkins and Emily Miller: Citing Scripture, Pence switches out Jesus for the American flag in convention speech For more resources from BJC on the Johnson Amendment, visit BJConline.org/JohnsonAmendment Amanda mentioned Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry and their book Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States Read the one-page explainer on Christian nationalism at this link. Samuel Perry tweeted about the importance of noting a voter’s proclivity toward Christian nationalism to see who they supported. Read his Tweet here. Holly mentioned the work of Robert P. Jones at PRRI about how the percentage of the voting populace that identifies as religious is shrinking. You can read their many different research studies on their website. Amanda mentioned this opinion piece by Elizabeth Bruenig in The New York Times: Why Evangelicals Aren’t What They Used to Be Segment two: Takeaways and what’s next (17:14) For more on the video put out by Idaho lawmakers that included a handgun on a Bible, read this story by Nicole Blanchard in the Idaho Statesman: Idaho Republicans, including Lt. Gov. McGeachin, decry pandemic measures in new video For an egregious example of Christian nationalism in a pseudo-religious setting, see this article in The Washington Post about Patriot Churches, written by Sarah Pulliam Bailey: Seeking power in Jesus’ name: Trump sparks a rise of Patriot Churches Holly and Amanda discussed this article from The Washington Post Magazine by Richard Just: How Religion Can Help Put Our Democracy Back Together Segment three: President-elect Biden and civil religion (33:50) We played two clips from President-elect Joe Biden’s speech on Saturday, November 7, 2020. You can watch a video from CSPAN here. The BJC Podcast series on the dangers of Christan nationalism ran in 2019, and all 10 episodes are available here.
51 minutes | 24 days ago
Season 2, Ep. 02: Religion vs. Religion at the Supreme Court
What’s at stake in the high-profile religious liberty case at the Supreme Court this term? Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman break down the oral arguments in Fulton v. Philadelphia, which centers on whether a religious organization can apply its religious criteria to discriminate when operating as a government contractor delivering foster care services. They share four takeaways and speculate about what sort of decision we might see in the case. Plus, they take a look at how religion has been discussed in terms of voting this week, including problematic implications of a religious test for office. Segment one: What are the religious liberty issues at play in Fulton v. Philadelphia? (starting at 1:05) For more on Employment Division v. Smith (1990) and the legislative response, visit BJConline.org/RFRA Holly mentioned this story in the Washington Post by Michelle Boorstein: Religious conservatives hopeful new Supreme Court majority will redefine religious liberty precedents BJC has a page dedicated to the Fulton v. Philadelphia case: BJConline.org/Fulton Read BJC’s brief in the Fulton case at this link. Segment two: Four takeaways from the oral arguments (starting at 19:32) You can listen to the oral arguments in Fulton v. Philadelphia via CSPAN at this link. We played three clips from the arguments: Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaking with Lori Windham, the advocate for Fulton (around 16:25 into the argument) Neal Katyal, the advocate for Philadelphia, talking about how Fulton’s position can lead to religions being against each other (around 1:18:04 into the argument) Justice Samuel Alito expressing outrage at government actors trying to impose their beliefs on religious actors (around 1:04:17 into the argument) Learn more about the Masterpiece Cakeshop case on our website: BJConline.org/Masterpiece Segment three: Religion and the election (starting at 44:56) For more on the “no religious test” principle, read this article from Amanda Tyler, written in advance of the Amy Coney Barrett hearings.
47 minutes | a month ago
Season 2, Ep. 01: Amy Coney Barrett hearings and the Supreme Court's future
What did we learn about religious freedom from the Amy Coney Barrett hearings? To kick off season two of Respecting Religion, Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman put the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Justice Amy Coney Barrett into context, spotlighting the religious freedom issues raised – or politicized – during the event. And, after so much talk about the Constitution’s prohibition on a religious test for office, they ask an important question: Who was imposing a religious test during the hearings? Plus, in segment three, they look at how religion is showing up in our world today, including in a controversy with one of the Hollywood stars named “Chris” and a recent statement by Pope Francis about civil unions. Segment one: Barrett and Ginsburg, Cruz and Cornyn (starts at 1:09) Amanda mentioned two pieces BJC wrote about the impact and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: RBG: Defender of equality, principled dissenter, faithful supporter of religious liberty by Holly Hollman, published by Baptist News Global Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy in upholding a key religious freedom law by Holly Hollman and Amanda Tyler, published by The Christian Citizen Click here to read BJC’s review of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s church-state record, which was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee before the hearings began. It includes questions BJC suggested that senators ask of her. For clips of discussions of religious liberty during the two days of hearings that involved questions, check out these two articles by Don Byrd on the “Latest News” section of our website: In Day 2 of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing, some religious liberty discussions, though little depth or insight Religious Liberty discussions on day 3 of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing Segment two: What did Judge Barrett say about religious freedom during her hearings? (17:43) Read the most recent State of the First Amendment Survey at this link, published by the Freedom Forum Institute. It says only 4% of respondents can name “petition” as one of the five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Holly mentioned the travel ban issued by President Trump in his first week in office. Read more about that case, which eventually was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court as Trump v. Hawaii: BJConline.org/travelban Holly mentioned the upcoming Fulton v. Philadelphia case, which focuses on nondiscrimination in government-funded foster care. Learn more at BJConline.org/Fulton Holly recently presented during a webinar on the future of the Establishment Clause, hosted by the American Bar Association (ABA). You can watch it at this link. The ABA also did a seminar on the Free Exercise Clause, which is available at this link. Amanda wrote a commentary about Article VI and the “no religious test” principle before the confirmation hearings began. You can read it at this link, published by Good Faith Media: This article from The Washington Post that includes the number of times “religion” was mentioned: Democrats’ non-persecution of Amy Coney Barrett. Segment three: Where did we see religion in our world? Recent discussions on religion and LGBTQ rights in our culture (38:40) Holly mentioned the story surrounding Chris Pratt and his church’s stance on same-sex marriage. Here’s an article from The Washington Post: The latest celebrity cause: Defending the honor of Chris Pratt. Read more on BJC’s website about the recent statement from Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito about the Court reconsidering the Obergefell case in 2015 that upheld same-sex marriage. Statement from Justices Thomas and Alito on religious liberty and same-sex marriage makes tensions worse Amanda mentioned this New York Times article about Pope Francis and his recent support of civil unions: In Shift for Church, Pope Francis Voices Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions
45 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep. 20: Supreme Court in July!
The doctrine of the “ministerial exception” and the latest installment in the ongoing saga of challenges to the contraceptive mandate capped off this year’s Supreme Court term. Amanda and Holly give their analysis of those key cases impacting religious liberty and discuss how they interact with other decisions from this blockbuster year. In this season finale, Amanda and Holly also look back at our entire season of Respecting Religion and invite you to continue the conversation. The post Ep. 20: Supreme Court in July! appeared first on BJC.
38 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 19: SCOTUS disregards distinctiveness of religion in school funding decision
Amanda and Holly examine the troubling Supreme Court ruling that has major implications for funding education and protecting against government-sponsored religion. They break down the decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, including a concurrence that would undermine the entire Establishment Clause and the different angles taken by the dissenting justices. In segment three, Amanda and Holly share ways they are seeing religion respected in the world around us. The post Ep. 19: SCOTUS disregards distinctiveness of religion in school funding decision appeared first on BJC.
49 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 18: White supremacy and American Christianity
We’re bringing you important conversations on white supremacy and American Christianity in this episode. First, we’ll play the June 26 discussion between researcher Robert P. Jones of PRRI and journalist Adelle Banks from Religion News Service (starting at 2:14). Jones is the author of the forthcoming White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity, and he talks with Banks about the church’s current “moment of reckoning” across denominational lines, particularly as white churches have been either blind to their part in systemic racism or have ignored it. This podcast also features Amanda’s call to action from the June 26 event, including the dangers of Christian nationalism (25:39). We’re also bringing you part of a follow-up conversation with BJC’s Charles Watson Jr. and Dr. Alphonso Saville of Georgetown University (37:48), where they discuss a wide range of issues, including how arguments can inform how we proceed and the importance of understanding history. The post Ep. 18: White supremacy and American Christianity appeared first on BJC.
40 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 17: A landmark case for LGBTQ rights: What’s next for religious liberty?
This week, the Supreme Court issued a landmark case for LGBTQ rights, interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Amanda and Holly discuss the opinion and the dissents, looking at the way each interprets “because of sex” in the statute. They also talk about how the opinion and dissents discuss implications for religious liberty, as well as responses to the case from the community. In the final segment, Amanda and Holly discuss and recommend recent movies and podcasts and invite you to join upcoming conversations about religious liberty, race, white supremacy and American Christianity. The post Ep. 17: A landmark case for LGBTQ rights: What’s next for religious liberty? appeared first on BJC.
49 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 16: When religious liberty covers racism
As the conversation about racial justice continues in our country, we dig in to talk about race and religious liberty. BJC Director of Education Charles Watson Jr. joins Amanda and Holly for a personal conversation about his experiences and how his work at BJC intersects with the work for racial justice. He tells his story and explains how a seminal speech at a BJC Luncheon on Juneteenth impacted the trajectory of his work at BJC. Amanda, Holly and Charles discuss how different ethnic communities view the phrase “separation of church and state” and why the work for religious freedom matters. Plus, in the third segment, they discuss how they are seeing religion respected in books and articles this week. The post Ep. 16: When religious liberty covers racism appeared first on BJC.
49 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 15: Protests, the president, and the photo op with a Bible
After President Trump publicly addressed the unrest following the killing of George Floyd, peaceful protesters were violently dispersed and the president posed for a photo holding a Bible in front of a church. This week, Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman talk about the photo op and what it means in terms of religious liberty and Christian nationalism. They also review the most recent legal developments related to houses of worship and the coronavirus, including a late-night Supreme Court order and an unexplained change on the CDC’s guidance for houses of worship. In the third segment, Amanda and Holly answer listener questions and share important books for self-reflection and action to take a stand against systemic racial injustice. The post Ep. 15: Protests, the president, and the photo op with a Bible appeared first on BJC.
42 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 14: Finding the right response to reopening
Churches are facing a barrage of challenges as they navigate whether, when and how to resume in-person worship and other gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. This week, Amanda and Holly explore what’s at stake for churches and how religious liberty fits into these nuanced conversations (28:30). They look at what makes religion unique in the reopening landscape and respond to articles about life in our current context. Plus, find out how you can help shape a future episode of Respecting Religion – we want to hear from you! The post Ep. 14: Finding the right response to reopening appeared first on BJC.
39 minutes | 7 months ago
Ep. 13: Who’s a ‘minister’ and who gets to decide?
On this episode, Amanda and Holly discuss this week’s Supreme Court arguments in cases involving the ministerial exception, a First Amendment doctrine that makes Title VII and other employment discrimination protections inapplicable to certain employees of religious organizations. They explain what the doctrine means (5:33), what you need to know about the 2012 Hosanna-Tabor case that looms large in this term’s cases (3:55), and what to make of active questioning from the justices in this week’s oral arguments (17:20). They also comment on a related line of questioning about public schools that connects to other Supreme Court cases and areas of BJC’s work. The post Ep. 13: Who’s a ‘minister’ and who gets to decide? appeared first on BJC.
43 minutes | 7 months ago
Ep. 12: Not a charm: Contraceptive mandate returns to the Supreme Court for the third time
The controversy over the contraceptive mandate was back at the U.S. Supreme Court this week. Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman react to the live arguments in Trump v. Pennsylvania and give the history of the contraceptive mandate, including how the Hobby Lobby and Zubik cases led to this one. They also share audio clips from key moments in the arguments and discuss what’s at stake for religious liberty when religious accommodations turn into “all-or-nothing” claims on both sides. The post Ep. 12: Not a charm: Contraceptive mandate returns to the Supreme Court for the third time appeared first on BJC.
42 minutes | 7 months ago
Ep. 11: Christian nationalism during the coronavirus pandemic
The dangerous political ideology of Christian nationalism is a persistent problem in our country, and continues to be during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Amanda and Holly talk about how Christian nationalism often contributes to confusion about religious liberty in our public discourse at this time, conflating legal and religious understandings. They review troubling rhetoric from political leaders and how to train your ears for telltale signs that someone is using religion for their own political purposes. The post Ep. 11: Christian nationalism during the coronavirus pandemic appeared first on BJC.
46 minutes | 7 months ago
Ep. 10: Lawsuits challenging COVID-19 directives
As religious communities deal with bans on mass gatherings, legal disputes are popping up across the country. What’s happening now, and what could we see more of when the country begins lifting restrictions? This week, Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman examine the key issues in these lawsuits (starting at 12:45) and talk about how courts are ruling in the various cases, including drive-in church services (19:42). Plus, they share how they’re learning about other religious traditions as people of faith continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The post Ep. 10: Lawsuits challenging COVID-19 directives appeared first on BJC.
49 minutes | 7 months ago
Ep. 09: Eboo Patel and interfaith collaboration
How do religious groups work together for the greater good? On this episode of Respecting Religion, we bring you a conversation featuring Eboo Patel, the founder of Interfaith Youth Core (starting at 13:01). In this discussion from March 2020, Patel talks about how the history behind the term “Judeo-Christian” suggests opportunities for greater religious inclusion, shares personal reflections on what it is like to be a Muslim in America today, and explains why he is optimistic about religious pluralism. Plus, Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman talk about how they saw religion respected in the world during the celebrations of Easter and Passover. The post Ep. 09: Eboo Patel and interfaith collaboration appeared first on BJC.
42 minutes | 8 months ago
Ep. 08: Religious freedom in the age of coronavirus
As the coronavirus changes everything – including the topics for this podcast series – Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman review how religious freedom principles are coming into focus. They talk about three principles that are part of many conversations during this time: the essential nature of religion for many people (04:53), why the government does not have to treat religious organizations differently when it comes to health and safety (12:00), and why the government should not fund religion (19:55). In the third segment, Amanda and Holly talk about what they are doing – and being inspired by – during this week that marks the beginning of Passover and the advent of Easter. The post Ep. 08: Religious freedom in the age of coronavirus appeared first on BJC.
45 minutes | 8 months ago
Ep. 07: New laws – including the CARES Act – and houses of worship
As the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus, Congress passed and the president signed stimulus packages that impact businesses and nonprofits. But, what does this mean for houses of worship? On this week’s Respecting Religion, Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman review the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (starting at 5:35), provisions of the CARES Act (15:45) – including the Paycheck Protection Program Loans (20:10) and increased charitable giving incentives – and more. They discuss new requirements and opportunities for nonprofits and what houses of worship need to consider when determining whether to apply for financial relief programs. In the third segment, Amanda and Holly explore how religious communities are caring for people in new ways during this time. The post Ep. 07: New laws – including the CARES Act – and houses of worship appeared first on BJC.
43 minutes | 8 months ago
Ep. 06: Stay-at-home orders, religious freedom and RFRA
What does it mean for religious liberty when the government asks houses of worship not to hold services in the middle of a pandemic? Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman look at the impact of the coronavirus on religious communities and how they are responding (starting at 6:13). Plus, they explore a key law that keeps coming up in these conversations: the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (starting at 23:03). In the final segment, Amanda and Holly share how the stay-at-home orders are impacting them and how churches are finding new ways to serve in this time. The post Ep. 06: Stay-at-home orders, religious freedom and RFRA appeared first on BJC.
51 minutes | 8 months ago
Ep. 05: Supreme Court cases on employment discrimination
The coronavirus is leading many conversations this week, and we’ll talk about how it has impacted religious communities during this unprecedented time. But first, Amanda Tyler and Holly Holllman take a look at several Supreme Court cases this term that deal with protections for workers from employment discrimination that could have implications for religious organizations. They break down the term “because of sex” in Title VII (starting at 4:30) and discuss the ministerial exception (18:20), an important part of the law that protects religious organizations. On the final segment, Amanda and Holly share how the coronavirus is impacting – and showcasing – religion in the lives of Americans and how we can lean into a theology of abundance during this time (34:40). The post Ep. 05: Supreme Court cases on employment discrimination appeared first on BJC.
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