Category: Religious Liberty


Donald Kraybill on The Amish (Encore Presentation)

As we take a short summertime break, we bring back a superb interview by Donald Kraybill regarding the theology and lifestyle of the Amish and Old Order Mennonites.

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Jeremy Menchik on Islam, Tolerance, Democracy, & Indonesia

Indonesia is both the world’s largest majority Muslim country and a consolidated democracy. Yet, unlike Western democracies, the Indonesian state pursues a policy of Godly nationalism that prioritizes religious belief over secularism. Despite this, the nation also exhibits a high level of religious toleration for various religious minorities including Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and various variants of Islam. Prof. Jeremy Menchik (Boston University) discusses this interesting balancing act and explains

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Religious Liberty and Violent Religious Extremism

Can a foundation of religious freedom mitigate violent extremism by various religious organizations? This is the question put before a group of scholars at a symposium sponsored by the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs (Georgetown University). Moderated by Thomas Farr, the panelists include Dan Philpott (Notre Dame), William Inboden (Texas), Allen Hertzke (Oklahoma), and Sahar Aziz (Texas A&M).

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Kelsey Dallas on Religious Journalism

Deseret News journalist Kelsey Dallas joins us to discuss her path towards religious news writing, the importance of the Religion News Association, and a number of the stories she has covered throughout the years. We talk about stories regarding life on other planets (and how it would affect religious believers), pilgrimages to Chimayo (New Mexico), football prayer circles, and what has become of the faith of all these Millennials. A wide-ranging, uplifting, and fun conversation.

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Is Religious Freedom Good for Growth? A Panel Discussion

Can religious liberty promote economic growth and long-term development? An expert panel of scholars moderated by Brian Grim discusses various perspectives on this question with the conversation ranging everywhere from the Ottoman Empire to Guatemala, and from Chinese house churches to bourbon. The panel includes noted luminaries Ilan Alon, Timur Kuran, Rachel McCleary, and your fuzzy host Anthony Gill.

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Thomas Kidd on the Pilgrims (Encore Presentation)

While Tony takes a break for the Thanksgiving holiday, we offer you an encore presentation about the Pilgrims. Thomas Kidd (Baylor University) enlightens us about the history of the Pilgrims, tracing their roots in 16th century England to The Netherlands and eventually to the Plymouth Colony in what is now today Massachusetts. Prof. Kidd discusses the differences the Pilgrims had with the Church of England and their Puritan brethren. We also explore why the king of England would allow a group of his critics to settle land in North America, the hardships that this group of religious refugees faced in their first years in the wilderness, and the imprint the Pilgrims left on U.S. history.

A great podcast for high school educators and homeschoolers, as well as a nice refresher course for those of us who think we remember our American colonial history. Plus, you get to hear your host recite poetry!

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Laura Olson on Attitudes towards Religious Free Exercise

What do public school teachers think about the ability to exercise religious expression in the classroom? Prof. Laura Olson of Clemson University discusses her study on the attitudes teachers have towards the free exercise clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Dr. Olson contextualizes this issue in recent Supreme Court cases and the a decision by a public employee in Kentucky to refuse issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We also discuss religious voting trends in light of the upcoming 2016 presidential election.

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Mark David Hall on Religious Accommodations and the Common Good

As a number of religious accommodation cases are winding their way through the U.S. court system, we invite Prof. Mark David Hall (George Fox University) to discuss the history of religious exemptions in American history. In addition to whether or not a florist or baker should be exempted from providing services to same-sex weddings based on religious beliefs, we also examine rights of conscience accommodations granted to religious groups for military service, the swearing of oaths, mandatory school attendance, and vaccinations. Prof. Hall explains how “Americans at their best” have accommodated religious views since colonial days and speculates on what the future holds.

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Joshua Hall on Adam Smith, Religious Competition, and the Simpsons

What did Adam Smith have to say on the effects of religious pluralism in a nation? And can what Smith hypothesized be tested today to see if it bears out? And what does this have to do with The Simpsons? Prof. Joshua Hall of West Virginia University explains a recent study he conducted that shows countries with higher levels of religious diversity have less regulated religious markets, just as Smith would predict. We also think about endogeneity and other fancy words, culminating in the economics of The Simpsons, which is not related to the main topic, but which is really cool nonetheless.

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Francis Beckwith on Taking Rites Seriously

Prof. Francis Beckwith (Baylor University) discusses his new book “Taking Rites Seriously,” and how secular rationalism has permeated our legal decisions and what that means. He discusses the intellectual framework surrounding secular rationalist arguments, why he considers them limited, and discusses how this affects the freedom of religious believers. We cover issues such as abortion, intelligent design, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

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