BJC’s podcasts feature some of our most popular lectures, in-depth discussions of current events and analysis of church-state issues.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.