Kaya Oakes 5-31-2023
A person wearing heavy drag makeup and a black Catholic habit waves in a pride parade.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence participate in Portland's 2019 Pride Parade. Photo: Png Studio / Alamy

Historically, there have been many Catholics who have pushed back against gender norms. But like modern conservatives who focus on the outrageous aspects of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence while ignoring the group’s tireless work caring for the sick, homeless, and poor, the Catholic hierarchy has also attempted to mute the stories of gender-nonconforming people throughout its history. And in doing so, the church hierarchy has often ignored the acts of mercy so central to Catholic teaching.

Olivia Bardo 5-25-2023

'Are You There God?' It's Me, Margaret.' / Lionsgate

Children are already exploring sexuality and religious skepticism in complex and important ways — so our films and books should, too.

Lauren W. Reliford 5-25-2023

The U.S. Capitol is reflected in a dwindling puddle in the midst of ongoing negotiations seeking a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and avoid a catastrophic default, in Washington, D.C. on May 24, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

As lawmakers on Capitol Hill argue about the national debt, the Bible verse that’s been on my mind is Proverbs 3:27: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”

JR. Forasteros 5-24-2023

Protesters stand outside the Georgia capitol in Atlanta on September 29, 2003, to advocate that the Ten Commandments be kept in federal and state buildings across the country. Credit: Reuters/Tami Chappell TLC.

The Senate of my home state, Texas, recently made news for passing three bills designed to bring Christianity into public schools. As I told NewsNation when they interviewed me earlier this week about the proposed legislation, I think this is an example of a government attempting to force beliefs on people. Yesterday, the State House failed to pass a law that would’ve required the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public schools. SB 1515 would’ve required that “a public elementary or secondary school shall display in a conspicuous place in each classroom of the school a durable poster or framed copy of the Ten Commandments.”

Republicans in Texas argued that this move would reinforce essential American identity because America was founded on so-called “Judeo-Christian” principles. According to the Texas Tribune, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick defended the law by saying, “Bringing the Ten Commandments and prayer back to our public schools will enable our students to become better Texans.”

JR. Forasteros 5-23-2023

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ / Marvel

What does it take to survive the wrath of gods? This has been a perennial question for Star Lord, Rocket, Gamora, Drax, Groot, Mantis, Nebula, and the others who have found themselves drawn into the orbit of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Laura E. Alexander 5-22-2023

Image credit Barbara Zandoval/Unsplash.

After Title 42 restrictions at the U.S. border ended on May 11, debates about immigration have heated up again — focused mostly on reform, border security, or refugees’ needs.

But the treatment of immigrants is deeply intertwined with religious freedom as well. As a scholar of religious ethics who studies immigration, I am interested in recent cases that highlight growing tensions between immigration policies and religious groups’ commitments to pastoral and humanitarian care.

Sarah Vincent 5-19-2023

Sophie Kohler / Peacock

The new Peacock TV series Mrs. Davis has the most unhinged first 15 minutes of possibly any show I have ever seen. Men burn at the stake, heads roll, water is walked on, blood fountains.

Shadows fall over migrants who are crossing a river. Their reflections appear in the surface.

Migrants seeking asylum cross the Rio Bravo river to return to Mexico from the U.S. after members of the U.S. Texas National Guard extended razor wire to inhibit migrant crossing on May 13. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Let’s be clear: Neither Title 42 nor Biden’s new policies meet the biblical standard of “welcoming the stranger,” which for us includes thousands of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border seeking refuge from violence and extreme poverty. 

Debbie Kaminer 5-18-2023

Photo: Nathanael Kiefer / Alamy

On April 18, the court heard oral arguments in Groff v. DeJoy, a case addressing an employer’s obligation to accommodate religious employees’ requests under federal law. The dispute involves a Christian postal worker who quit his job and sued the U.S. Postal Service after he was unable to find coverage for his Sunday shifts. Current law requires employers to make accommodations for workers’ religious requests only if doing so doesn’t impose more than a minimal cost on their business, known as the “de minimis” standard.

After listening to the oral arguments in the case, I believe it’s very likely the court will overturn the de minimis standard and require employers to accommodate more religious requests.

Dwayne David Paul 5-16-2023

Credit: Unsplash/ThisisEngineering RAEng.

In short, the gospel demands that the church asks some basic sociological questions to help it navigate difficult social waters. In regard to trans people, our questions should be informed by the work of people like organizer and writer Dean Spade, who wrote the book Normal Life. How does our society, with all its norms, move trans people closer to vulnerability and death, or closer toward security and life?

Mallory McDuff 5-12-2023

Adults wearing red t-shirts saying "Mom's Clean Air Force" and children holding signs that says "Kids need you to fight for a healthy climate" and "Fight for clean air" at a press conference where Senate and House Democrats voiced support for the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps, July 20, 2021 - Washington, D.C. Photo credit: Reuters/Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA.

As a mother and teacher, I spent one year researching 50 women — one from each state in the country — who are working toward climate justice. I documented these stories in the book Love Your Mother: 50 States, 50 Stories, and 50 Women United for Climate Justice. What I found in the South were role models on the frontlines of the climate crisis: From the hurricane zone of the Gulf Coast to the urban center of Atlanta, I discovered women who knew how to use their wit, intelligence, faith, and family to fight for their connection to home and the health of those they love.

JR. Forasteros 5-11-2023

'Evil Dead Rise' / Warner Bros.

Unlike many possession stories, The Evil Dead franchise envisions a world without hope of exorcism. The unique version of evil in this franchise calls to mind the cruelty of empires old and new.

Photo by Barbara Verge via Unsplash.

The Bible is unequivocal that we are to “honor” and even “revere” our mothers (Exodus 20:12 and Leviticus 19:3). While it’s a commitment that needs more attention than one Sunday each year, Mother’s Day provides a special day in which we should go out of our way to honor our mothers with words and acts of gratitude and love.

Amar D. Peterman 5-11-2023

Multi-colored sign that reads "you belong." Credit: Unsplash/Tim Mossholder.

Adoption allows us to bring near to us those who hold in themselves the kingdom of God (Luke 18:16). By invoking the language of “sacramental” here, I am naming the ongoing dialectic between the ordinary and the theological. As a sacramental practice, earthly adoption does not hold the same consequences or eternal import as our salvific adoption in Christ. However, these two realities can speak into one another. This is what a life marked by the sacramental looks like: finding spaces where the ordinary, mundane things of life are instilled with a greater sacred significance of liberation and love; and, in return, point us to divine realities that we are invited to participate in.

King Charles III is shown in decorated military regalia in front of uniformed British soldiers.

 King Charles III inspects the 200th Sovereign's parade at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on April 14, 2023 in Camberley, England. Dan Kitwood/Pool via REUTERS

In a ceremony that CNN describes as “a symbolic coming together of the monarchy, church, and state for a religious ritual,” King Charles III will vow to uphold the law and the Church of England. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the global Anglican Communion, will then anoint Charles with oil and place a heavy crown on his head. The crowds surrounding Westminster Abbey will chant, “God save the king.”

Zachary Lee 5-03-2023

Ariela Barer in 'How to Blow Up a Pipeline.' / Neon

Can blowing up a pipeline be a form of nonviolent protest? Director Daniel Goldhaber’s new film, How to Blow Up a Pipeline, makes a strong case in the affirmative — even if the activists at its center could care less about being called “terrorists” by the American empire.

Ryan Duncan 5-03-2023

Image of multi-colored pacifiers. Credit: domenico zampaglione / Alamy.

It would appear that most people raised in the church do not, in fact, stay in the church.

In recent years, there’s been an uncomfortable shift in how the topics of marriage and families are being framed. Rather than simply acknowledging marriage and family as moral goods, children and families are frequently put forward as the solution for preserving Christianity amidst its perceived cultural decline.

Cassidy Klein 5-01-2023

Metal railing with sign of a gun pointing at viewer. The sign reads, "Never mind the dog beware of the owner!" Placencia Peninsula, Belize. Credit: Reuters/Keith Levit/Alamy.

In a nation built on white nationalism, keeping people fearful of the “other” is useful because it keeps up the illusion of law, order, and control — the foundations of white supremacy. Crime protection is now the dominant reason people own guns. Samuel Perry and Andrew Whitehead write in their book Taking America Back for God, that White Christian nationalists tend to want a strong military, capital punishment, and oppose gun control.

Yet again and again, Christians are commanded to welcome the stranger and be not afraid. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,” the author writes in Hebrews 13:2. “For by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Matt Bernico 4-28-2023

HAYMARKET SQUARE POINT OF ANARCHIST RIOT, MAY, 1886 from the guide book “Picturesque Chicago and guide to the world’s fair” published in 1893 Publisher Lennox Pub. Co. Image via Alamy.

Historian Timothy E.W. Gloege explains in his book Guaranteed Pure that before the events of Haymarket, Christian evangelist Dwight L. Moody conspired with local capitalists such as Cyrus McCormick Jr., one of the managing partners of International Harvester Company, to thwart the 1886 strike altogether. Within the story of the Haymarket affair, we can find a number of political tensions that are still within Christianity today. One major tension still animating Christian discourse is this: What happens when Christians side with the wealthy instead of the poor and working class?

Michael Yorke 4-27-2023

Image of James H. Cone's "God of the Oppressed" and "The Cross and the Lynching Tree" with a newspaper clipping featuring Cone. Josiah R. Daniels/Sojourners.

My early suspicion of Cone was reflexive. I had been formed in the intercessory prayer meetings of pious Afro-Caribbean Pentecostalism and naturalized in the halls of white evangelical academia during the so-called “post-racial” years of the Obama presidency. In those churches of my youth, racism was real, “but not nearly as bad as it had been in the past.”