The trouble with religious liberty law

Here’s my September 17 newsletter. To receive my latest articles, favorite religion reads and other updates in your inbox every Saturday, sign-up here

I’m back! Thanks for your patience as I took two weeks off from this newsletter to travel to Florence and Rome and then recover from traveling to Florence and Rome.

You’ll see many of my Italian experiences detailed in future articles, but for now, let me offer you a few brief takeaways:

  1. Gelato is as good as you imagine it is.
  2. Seeing the David statue (and St. Peter’s Basilica and the Pantheon) in person is astonishing. It felt like being punched in the gut.
  3. There is such a thing as carb overload. By the time I touched down in the U.S., I was craving salad.
  4. The Catholic Church is complex and ever-changing. I may never figure it out, but my articles will be stronger as a result of the places I visited and the people I met.
  5. International travel is amazing; international flights are the devil’s work.

It was wild to be back at my Deseret News desk this week after 14 days away. I wrote a few news roundups, started a long-term project and studied the religious lives of Clinton and Trump. Did I still remember how to be a journalist? Well, you can be the judge.


God plays an important role in hillbilly country, but not the one you’d expect

The Democratic Party is losing its religion faster than America as a whole

American religion is worth more than Google, Apple and Amazon combined


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

Coffee: the beverage that fuels the church, Christianity Today

Pondering miracles, medical and religious, The New York Times

Leaders push for synagogues to focus on mental illness, The Jewish Week

The trials and tribulations of the Vatican’s financial chief, The Wall Street Journal


My Italy trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I met some of the Catholic Church’s top leaders, toured famous museums and learned the right way to pronounce “Gratzie.” But no amount of amazing gelato could keep me perky during my final travel day, as I slowly made my way back to Salt Lake City.

I arrived home at midnight after being away for most of the previous 24 hours. I felt pathetic and exhausted, and I was in desperate need of a shower. But then I was surprised with my very own puppy!

Meet Cheeto, my new newsletter assistant:



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