Jeremy Lott on Episcopalians, Ex-Atheists, Health Care, and German Circumcision
Date: July 30th, 2012
What’s the news in the world of religion? We check in with author and blogger extraordinaire, Jeremy Lott of RealClearReligion (and other RealClear sites) to catch up with some of the more recent doings and happenings in the US and other parts of the world. We begin by talking about the most recent convention of the Episcopal Church of the USA. That conference produced a number of controversial actions on same-sex marriage, transgendered priests, and funeral rites for pets. We discuss this in the context of Ross Douthat’s New York Times’ column (see below) that Episcopalians are dropping in numbers rapidly and the trend looks gloomy for the future. Jeremy helps to put this in a larger context regarding liberal mainline denominations and the troubles they are facing in retaining members, while Tony wonders why these declining churches don’t adopt “best practices” from growing congregations just as many secular business do. Our continuing discussion on the supposed increase in “nones” (i.e., people declaring no religious affiliation in surveys) prompts Tony to reveal a new research project that he has been working on that deals with decreasing transportation costs. To figure out that link, you will have to listen closely in the podcast. Our conversation then transitions to the issue of atheists recently announcing their religious conversions, including Kaya Oakes who recently wrote a book about her conversion back to Catholicism. Jeremy gives his take on her recent book, pondering why she would go back to Catholicism when many of her ideological and philosophical views don’t match well with Church. All this discussion allows for Tony to help Jeremy with a recent moral quandry he found himself in. Readers of this passage will have to listen deep into the interview to find out what this issue was and the surprising solution your podcast host proposed. Speaking of moral quandries, the next issue to arise in our interview involves the struggle that the Catholic Church and Wheaton College are having with some of the mandates that have come down the pipeline from the Department of Health and Human Services via the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a topic we have addressed a few times previously on our show. Jeremy provides his insight into this matter and discuss what might become of the new lawsuit and what will happen in various election scenarios. We then pivot quickly to talk about the issue of Mormonism in the upcoming presidential election with Jeremy providing his thoughts on that topic, including how evangelicals including Robert Jeffers are coming around to the idea of supporting a Mormon candidate in Mitt Romney. We next deal with an issue that is on the cutting edge of the news — the German circumcision controversy that arose when a four-year old died during this procedure and prompted calls for legally ending the practice. That in turn prompted calls of religious discrimination and Jeremy explains how all of this played out. Finally, Tony poses Jeremy with a question that we presented to other scholars on an earlier podcast: Would you have, as a Christian, fought in US War of Independence? Hear Jeremy’s answer in our closing moments. Recorded: July 19, 2012.
Real Clear Religion. (You can access Real Clear Politics, Real Clear Books, Real Clear Science and other portals at this website as well.)
Jeremy Lott’s Diary on Patheos.com (pithy and profound insights galore).
In Defense of Hypocrisy: Picking Sides in the War on Virtue, by Jeremy A. Lott.
The Warm Bucket Brigade: The Story of the American Vice Presidency, by Jeremy A. Lott.
William F. Buckley (Christian Encouter Series), by Jeremy A. Lott.
I’ll Never Forget It: Memoirs of a Political Accident from East Baltimore, by Marvin Mandel, Jeremy Lott, and Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
“Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?” by Ross Douthat in The New York Times (July 14, 2012).
“The Church Vanishes,” by Philip Jenkins on Patheos.com.
“Perhaps Atheists Should Be Hitting the Panic Button,” by Timothy Dalrymple on Patheos.com.
Radical Reinvention: An Unlikely Return to the Catholic Church, by Kaya Oakes.
Jeremy Lott on RealClearReligion.
Hunter Baker on the End of Secularism.
Philip Muñoz on Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, and Health Care Mandates.
Should Christians Have Fought in the US War of Independence?
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