That Was The Week That Was

This week:

• Michael Gerson’s argument for not voting on the basis of abortion alone was compelling when he wrote it on Thursday… but all the more so after the Supreme Court abruptly reentered the presidential campaign on Friday night.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020), speaking at a 2018 naturalization ceremony held on Bill of Rights Day – U.S. National Archives

• I’ll write more about the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a couple of days, including her fondness for a passage in the Book of Deuteronomy.

• In the meantime, check out the special episode of their podcast that my political science colleagues at Bethel recorded yesterday in RBG’s honor.

• American women have had the constitutional right to vote for a 100 years now, but it’s been a far more recent development that they tend to vote differently than men.

• My Anxious Bench colleague Kristin Du Mez reflected on the surprising (“to me”) reception accorded her new book on militant masculinity.

Richardson, How the South Won the Civil WarMeet the historian whose daily newsletter has become popular with readers seeking context for political events.

• In his awkward use of the Bible as a political prop, wrote Peter Manseau, Donald Trump “stumbled onto something evangelicals and others have long demonstrated but don’t often acknowledge: Americans have always been open to remaking God in their image, reframing tradition to fit individual needs and contemporary concerns. In his accidental embodiment of the latent flexibility of even the strictest of faiths, Trump’s treatment of religion is not an aberration, but the norm.”

• Or maybe what Trump heads is not so much a Christian movement as a “cult of personality,” in which not wearing a mask is a mark of devotion.

• In any event, Kate Shellnut found plenty of evangelical voters who were more devoted to Trump, not less, this time around.

• Interestingly though, a new study discovered that politically progressive Christians have been mobilizing more than their conservative brethren.

• The president’s former national intelligence director thinks that the U.S. needs a bipartisan commission to oversee November’s election.

• Speaking of unprecedented opinion pieces… both a leading scientific magazine and a major Catholic periodical spoke out against Trump.

• Meanwhile, a leading Protestant publication explained why it would start capitalizing Black and White as racial identifiers.

Binkley Chapel at Southeastern Baptist Seminary in North Carolina – Creative Commons (Ildar Sagdejev)

• I don’t know if people in the country’s largest Protestant denomination are really ready to drop their regional adjective, but a leading progressive evangelical group did change its name.

• How have American congregations been affected by COVID? Check out this study from the Lake Institute.

• In the midst of the pandemic, my nearsightedness and aversion to inserting contact lenses might finally be paying off

• For all its economic and public health-related challenges, higher education in the United States is still remarkable in many ways.

• Finally, over at The Anxious Bench I did something I rarely do and wrote about fiction: the late Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series, about a detective in Weimar and Nazi Germany.