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I followed up last week’s Supreme Court mania with two days this week at Brigham Young University’s annual religious freedom conference. Unsurprisingly, the recent rulings were mentioned early and often, but so were a number of other interesting developments on the faith beat.
The most interesting theme that emerged was about ongoing political polarization and how it affects support for religious liberty. Polarization might be too sanitized of a word, because what panelists were talking about was hardline positions in a political party that make it nearly impossible for an entire faith group to feel welcome there.
For example, one woman noted that the Muslim man who prayed at the Republican National Convention last summer may have been the only Muslim to vote for Donald Trump. The party’s statements on Islam and support for the so-called “Muslim ban” made Muslims turn away, even if they valued religion-related legal protections and more conservative social values, she said.
Across the country, scholars and activists are working to make religious freedom something everyone can get behind again. It may be a losing battle, but I look forward to following along.
FRESH OFF THE PRESS FROM ME
What the Supreme Court’s latest actions tell us about the future of religious freedom
What a Mormon doing Buddhist meditation has to do with the future of faith
New startup challenge combines a Silicon Valley mindset with Catholic social teachings
TOP RELIGION READS
‘Love thy neighbor?’ The Washington Post
Sharing Christ’s love in Bonnaroo’s ‘Jesus Tent,’ Baptist Press
Hobby Lobby’s $3 million smuggling case casts a cloud over the Museum of the Bible, The Washington Post
JUST FOR FUN
I can’t stop thinking about Chief Justice John Roberts’ commencement speech.