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.
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 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.
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.
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.