Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Fat's in the Fire, but We Haven't Heard the Fat Lady Sing

  By Rudy Barnes, Jr.

            At the end of 2017, clich├ęs say a lot about the Trump era.  The tax reform bill just signed into law throws the fat in the fire and caution to the wind, but we haven’t heard the fat lady sing.  At least not yet.  It may be a while before America knows the real consequences of legislation that ignores conventional political wisdom and puts voodoo economics ahead of common sense.

            Trump has told America that we can have our cake and eat it too.  His tax reform law has given us reduced taxes—permanently for corporations and the rich, and for a few years for the middle class; but it has ignored the future of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, along with a wounded Affordable Care Act, an anemic Defense budget, and a soaring national debt.

            Hopefully those daunting economic issues will be addressed before the fat lady sings; but the common good was ignored in this political miasma.  James Traub has described America as a decadent and depraved nation.  Over 70% of Americans claim to be Christians, but most voted to elect Donald Trump their president—a man whose narcissism and depraved morality is the antithesis of the altruistic Christian morality taught by Jesus.  How could that happen?

            Christianity is based on belief in Jesus as the word of God, but most Christians have subordinated the altruistic teachings of Jesus to exclusivist mystical beliefs and a prosperity gospel that is more like Ayn Rand’s self-centered objectivist philosophy than the gospel of Jesus.  Sadly, Christianity has failed to prevent the moral decline of American culture into decadence and depravity, and has been complicit in the debauchery of American democracy.

            Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have ancient scriptures that provide sacred standards of legitimacy; and all three religions of the book share the greatest commandment as a common word of faith.  It combines the mystical command to love God with the moral imperative to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, including our neighbors of other races and religions. Love of neighbor is essential to political legitimacy in a democracy, but it has been lacking in America. 

            Democracy requires that individual rights be balanced with promoting the common good.  Ancient scriptures complicate the issue.  They emphasize promoting the common good but don’t mention individual rights or democracy.  It wasn’t until the Enlightenment of the 18th century that individual rights were recognized to be essential in a libertarian democracy, but since then individual rights have often been expanded at the expense of the common good.
           
            In America evangelical Christians claim their freedom of religion allows them to discriminate against those they consider sinners, denying them equal protection of the law.  In Islamic nations the issue is reversed.  The freedoms of religion and speech are denied by apostasy and blasphemy laws that are often used by autocrats to stifle their political opposition.
           
            Since religion is part of the problem with politics, it must also be part of the solution.  James Traub has acknowledged this: “The only way back is to reclaim the common ground—political, moral and even cognitive—that Donald Trump has lit on fire.”  Religion must provide that moral common ground.  It is the greatest commandment as a common word of faith.

            Continuing to predict Armageddon—the end times—is not the solution.  Trump is but a symptom and not the cause of the problem.  It’s rooted in the lack of altruistic morality among America’s voters, and the new tax reform act will likely solidify support for Trump and his Republican minions until the flaws of the tax law become obvious—and that could take a while.

            It doesn’t help that Trump critics are beginning to sound like Chicken Little shouting that the sky is falling.  It hasn’t fallen yet, but the fabric of American democracy is unraveling.  It will take a moral revival that begins in the church to restore the legitimacy of America’s civil religion.  That’s the only way to prevent the fat lady from singing her finale to democracy.             


Notes:


Roger Cohen has echoed James Traub’s lament, and asked, Is this America?  See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/22/opinion/america-trump-united-nations.html.

Frank Bruni has warned that characterizing the tax overhaul just signed by Trump as “Armageddon” does more harm than good in the effort to correct the problem. See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/26/opinion/trump-liberals-armageddon.html.

           
Related Commentary:

(12/8/14): Religion and Reason
(1/11/15): The Greatest Commandment: A Common Word of Faith
(1/23/16): Who Is My Neighbor?
(1/30/16): The Politics of Loving Our Neighbors as Ourselves
(2/27/16): Conflicting Concepts of Legitimacy in Faith, Freedom and Politics
(6/18/16): A Politics of Reconciliation with Liberty and Justice for All
(6/28/15): Confronting the Evil Among Us
(7/5/15): Reconciliation as a Remedy for Racism and Religious Exclusivism
(8/9/15): Balancing Individual Rights with Collective Responsibilities
(1/23/16): Who Is My Neighbor?
(1/30/16): The Politics of Loving Our Neighbors as Ourselves
(4/30/16): The Relevance of Religion to Politics
(5/7/16): Religion and a Politics of Reconciliation
(5/21/16): Religious Fundamentalism and a Politics of Reconciliation
(8/5/16): How Religion Can Bridge Our Political and Cultural Divide
(9/17/16): A Moral Revival to Restore Legitimacy to Our Politics
(11/19/16): Religion and a Politics of Reconciliation Based on Shared Values
(11/26/16): Irreconcilable Differences and the Demise of Democracy
(2/25/17): The Need for a Revolution in Religion and Politics
(3/4/17): Ignorance and Reason in Religion and Politics
(3/18/17): Moral Ambiguity in Religion and Politics
(4/22/17): The Relevance of Jesus and the Irrelevance of the Church in Today’s World
(6/24/17): The Evolution of Religion, Politics and Law: Back to the Future? http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/06/the-evolution-of-religion-politics-and.html.
(7/1/17): Religion, Moral Authority and Conflicting Concepts of Legitimacy
(7/15/17) Religion and Progressive Politics
(8/5/17): Does Religion Seek to Reconcile and Redeem or to Divide and Conquer?
(8/19/17) Hate, History and the Need for a Politics of Reconciliation
(9/9/17): The Evolution of the American Civil Religion and Habits of the Heart http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/09/the-evolution-of-american-civil.html.
(11/4/17): What to Believe? Truth or Consequences in Religion and Politics http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/11/what-to-believe-truth-or-consequences.html.
(11/11/17): A Politics of Reconciliation that Should Begin in the Church
(11/18/17): Radical Religion and the Demise of Democracy
(12/2/17): How Religious Standards of Legitimacy Shape Politics, for Good or Bad
(12/9/17): Religion, Race and Identity Politics                   http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/12/religion-race-and-identity-politics.html.
(12/16/17): Can Democracy Survive the Trump Era?
(12/23/17): If Democracy Survives the Trump Era, Can the Church Survive Democracy? http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/12/if-democracy-survives-trump-era-can.html.
 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

If Democracy Survives the Trump Era, Can the Church Survive Democracy?

   By Rudy Barnes, Jr.

            Can the church survive in America’s dysfunctional democracy, even if it survives the Trump era?  Religious charlatans have stoked fear and anger to make distorted doctrines of Christianity the new opium of the public.  If the church hopes to reclaim its legitimacy and save American democracy from the decadence of human depravity, it must promote a new Moral Majority based on altruism and reason to supplant the corrupt politics of the old Moral Majority.

            More than 70% of Americans consider themselves Christians, but they are divided in their religion and politics.  Most white Christians in mainline denominations avoid mixing their religion and politics in church, but vote Republican.  White evangelical Christians have no such qualms and actively support Republicans, while black Christians actively support Democrats. 

            The racial divide in partisan politics is evident in gerrymandered political districts and in the racial segregation of most churches.  There are explanations for racial segregation in the church and politics, but they do not justify the racialism that has polarized our democracy.  The church must oppose all forms of racial segregation if it hopes to reclaim its legitimacy.

            Pastors are church leaders, much as politicians are political leaders.  Both shape the standards of legitimacy in their overlapping domains of religion and politics, and both depend upon public support.  Moral standards are the province of pastors, and politicians make the law; and both are constrained to follow the moral standards of their constituents, or lose their jobs.

            The morality of Republicans is in the distorted “family values” of evangelical Values Voters.  As successors to Jerry Falwell’s old Moral Majority, Republicans proclaim abortion and homosexuality to be sinful, although Jesus never mentioned either as such.  Democrats are more utilitarian; they measure political morality by support of the identity politics of their constituents.

            A major challenge for both pastors and politicians in democracy is balancing individual rights with promoting the common good.  Evangelical Republicans advocate religious freedom that allows them to discriminate against same sex couples who they consider sinners.  Democrats use a reverse rationale to promote social welfare programs at the expense of individual rights.

            Theological issues complicate this political balancing act.  While the Bible emphasizes promoting the common good and helping the poor and needy, it does not mention democracy or individual rights since they were irrelevant in those ancient times.  Evangelical Christians preach “obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority, belief in the sacrifice of Jesus as the source of salvation, the need to be “born again,’ and work to spread their [exclusivist evangelical] gospel.”

            Discipleship should be a priority for pastors.  Jesus taught his disciples to follow him, not to worship him, but most pastors reverse those priorities since the cost of discipleship can be high, and few Christians are willing to pay the price.  It’s understandable that most pastors avoid promoting discipleship, just as politicians avoid promoting taxes.  Jesus would never have been a pastor or a politician, but pastors need to be more like Jesus for the church to survive democracy.
           
            I know.  Been there, done that; and I’ve talked to other pastors who have confirmed my experience.  Most Protestant pastors are primarily concerned with the wellbeing of their congregations and don’t want to upset them with contentious political issues.  But Jesus had no qualms about bringing contentious issues into holy places.  He once upset religious leaders by overturning tables in the Temple, and he was crucified for his disruptive efforts.

            The only way that the church can survive in America’s contentious democracy is if its pastors restore the priority of the teachings of Jesus over exclusivist mystical beliefs that ignore immoral politics.  If pastors promote the stewardship of democracy based on the greatest commandment to love God and to love our neighbors—including those of other races and religions—as we love ourselves, then the church and democracy might survive the 21st century.              


Notes:

Charles Mathewes has asserted that White Christianity is in big trouble, and that it’s its own biggest threat. He notes that Christians have allowed fear to overcome their faith, even after Jesus emphasized that they should fear not, and that there is no fear in God’s love.  See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/12/19/white-christianity-is-in-big-trouble-and-its-its-own-biggest-threat/?utm_term=.46c2e360c0fa.

Neal Gabler thinks that “the real lesson of the 2016 elections lies not in politics but religion.”  He states that “True religion begins in doubt and continues in spiritual exploration.  Debased religion begins in fear and terminates in certainty.”  Gabler goes on to say, “Just as I don’t think politics is the real engine for the Trump movement, I don’t think that politics is entirely the solution.  Religion, which in its corrupted form is an engine, may be—by which I mean the moral and spiritual underpinnings of life.  Rather than abandon our values or downplay them, as some suggest, I think we should double down on them.”  See http://billmoyers.com/story/what-happened-america/#.WjVh6qNv-hN.facebook.

Samuel Kimbriel has noted that Christianity is political.  But America’s politically active Christians seem to be forgetting that.  He pointed out the shifting priorities of politics and inner virtues in Christianity, and how worldly power has once again subsumed virtue.  See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/21/christianity-is-political-but-americas-politically-active-christians-seem-to-be-forgetting-that/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.de8387cc1374.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey has noted that after Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use.  Bailey cites the historian David Bebbington for a four-part definition of evangelical faith as “1. Obedience to the Bible as theultimate authority, 2. Belief in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as the source of salvation, 3. The necessity of a ‘born again’ conversion experience, and 4. Work to spread the [evangelical version of ] the Gospel.”  Bailey notes “that definition has helped distinguish many evangelical churches from more theologically liberal mainline Protestant churches, as well as from stricter fundamentalist churches.”  See  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/after-trump-and-moore-some-evangelicals-are-finding-their-own-label-too-toxic-to-use/2017/12/14/b034034c-e020-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html?undefined=&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1.

Using the term, Fox Evangelicals to describe evangelical Christians who support Donald Trump, Amy Sullivan questioned how Christian voters could support Donald Trump, “who luxuriates in divisive rhetoric and manages only the barest veneer of religiosity.”  Sullivan found that “Fox evangelicals don’t back Mr. Trump despite their beliefs, but because of them.”  Sullivan cited a recent survey that indicated “that while one quarter of Americans consider themselves to be “evangelical,” less than half of that group actually holds traditional evangelical beliefs.  For others, ‘evangelical’ effectively functions as a cultural label, unmoored from theological meaning.”  See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/15/opinion/sunday/war-christmas-evangelicals.html.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey has described a spiritual battle among white evangelicals, citing a recent poll in which 55% of evangelical Christians said they were more likely to support a candidate who voted the way they want than one who lived a moral life (36%).  Bailey then cited Collin Hansen, editorial director of the Gospel Coalition: “Political partisanship and a disdain for outsiders have become unifying driving factors for white evangelicals instead of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  …Recent political changes have exposed the moral and theological rot in the evangelical church.  There will not be a coherent evangelical movement to emerge from this political season.”  See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/12/13/a-spiritual-battle-how-roy-moores-failed-campaign-tested-evangelicals/?wpisrc=nl_evening&wpmm=1.

Peter Wehner has described his estrangement from the radical right evangelical movement and the Republican Party in Why I Can No Longer Call Myself an Evangelical Republican at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/09/opinion/sunday/wehner-evangelical-republicans.html.

In asking Can evangelicalism survive Donald Trump and Roy Moore? Timothy Keller has elaborated on Peter Wehner’s lament, described the history of evangelicalism, and concluded that it is too diverse to be defined by the radical right supporters of Donald Trump. See https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/can-evangelicalism-survive-donald-trump-and-roy-moore.

Citing the divisive political controversies surrounding Roy Moore, Jerusalem and LGBT rights, Daniel Burke, the Religion Editor for CNN, has asked, Why is Religion so Divisive?  See http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/08/us/religion-divisive/index.html.

Jim Wallis is a progressive Christian who has long advocated altruistic Christian morality in politics in contrast to the distorted doctrines of radical right evangelicals.  On Republican tax reform, see Great Injustice Calls for Great Action at https://sojo.net/articles/great-injustice-calls-great-action.  On Religion and Power Were Intertwined. Then Jesus Challenged It All, see https://sojo.net/articles/religion-and-power-were-intertwined-then-jesus-challenged-it-all.

Robin Meyers has described how the church can survive in democracy in Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshipping Christ and Start Following Jesus (Harper One, 2009).           


Related Commentary:

(12/8/14): Religion and Reason
(1/11/15): The Greatest Commandment: A Common Word of Faith
(1/23/16): Who Is My Neighbor?
(1/30/16): The Politics of Loving Our Neighbors as Ourselves
(2/27/16): Conflicting Concepts of Legitimacy in Faith, Freedom and Politics
(6/18/16): A Politics of Reconciliation with Liberty and Justice for All
(6/28/15): Confronting the Evil Among Us
(7/5/15): Reconciliation as a Remedy for Racism and Religious Exclusivism
(8/9/15): Balancing Individual Rights with Collective Responsibilities
(1/23/16): Who Is My Neighbor?
(1/30/16): The Politics of Loving Our Neighbors as Ourselves
(4/30/16): The Relevance of Religion to Politics
(5/7/16): Religion and a Politics of Reconciliation
(5/21/16): Religious Fundamentalism and a Politics of Reconciliation
(8/5/16): How Religion Can Bridge Our Political and Cultural Divide
(9/17/16): A Moral Revival to Restore Legitimacy to Our Politics
(11/19/16): Religion and a Politics of Reconciliation Based on Shared Values
(11/26/16): Irreconcilable Differences and the Demise of Democracy
(2/25/17): The Need for a Revolution in Religion and Politics
(3/4/17): Ignorance and Reason in Religion and Politics
(3/18/17): Moral Ambiguity in Religion and Politics
(4/22/17): The Relevance of Jesus and the Irrelevance of the Church in Today’s World
(6/24/17): The Evolution of Religion, Politics and Law: Back to the Future? http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/06/the-evolution-of-religion-politics-and.html.
(7/1/17): Religion, Moral Authority and Conflicting Concepts of Legitimacy
(7/15/17) Religion and Progressive Politics
(8/5/17): Does Religion Seek to Reconcile and Redeem or to Divide and Conquer?
(8/19/17) Hate, History and the Need for a Politics of Reconciliation
(9/9/17): The Evolution of the American Civil Religion and Habits of the Heart http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/09/the-evolution-of-american-civil.html.
(11/4/17): What to Believe? Truth or Consequences in Religion and Politics http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/11/what-to-believe-truth-or-consequences.html.
(11/11/17): A Politics of Reconciliation that Should Begin in the Church
(11/18/17): Radical Religion and the Demise of Democracy
(12/2/17): How Religious Standards of Legitimacy Shape Politics, for Good or Bad
(12/9/17): Religion, Race and Identity Politics                   http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/12/religion-race-and-identity-politics.html.
(12/16/17): Can Democracy Survive the Trump Era?

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Can Democracy Survive the Trump Era?

   Rudy Barnes, Jr.

            The defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama provides hope for our deteriorating democracy, but there still seems no place for the moderate voter in our polarized partisan politics.  Republicans, with an unlikely coalition of angry white evangelicals and the smug rich, are pushing through a tax reform bill that rewards the rich and leaves future generations with a $1.5 trillion national debt, while Democrats remain stifled by the identity politics of their minority constituencies.

            Who’s to blame for this political mess?  We are, and that includes all of us.

            What can we do about it?  Assume responsibility for our mess and clean it up.

            Before the Revolution, Edmund Burke warned Americans that in a democracy we would “forge our own shackles.”  Even so, the American experiment in democracy had a hopeful start.  In 1831, Alexis DeTocqueville, a 19th century French aristocrat, visited the U.S. and marveled at how people with such a wide diversity of political, social and religious viewpoints were able to practice Democracy in America.  But DeTocqueville didn’t see the approaching Civil War.

            Today identity politics based on race, religion and other divisive special interests have polarized partisan politics.  An emphasis on individual rights and wants has made “Who am I?” the central question for political identity, ignoring the more important question, “Who are we?”  Unless a politics of reconciliation can defuse the divisiveness of identity politics and restore the collective obligation to provide for the common good, democracy in America is at risk.

            The greatest threat to American democracy is the polarization of partisan politics by race.  That threat could be countered by a new national party that promotes racial reconciliation, and it could be a spin-off from one of the two existing parties.  That’s the way the Republican Party was born.  It arose Sphinx-like from the ashes of the Whig Party in the 1850s, and given its current disastrous course it could self-destruct in much the same way that it was born.

            Roy Moore was a surrogate of Donald Trump, and their broad-based support by evangelical Christians indicates how radical religion can also be a threat to American democracy.  It was ironic that Moore was defeated by black voters who turned out not so much to support the Democrat Doug Jones as to oppose Moore, who resonated the racism of George Wallace.              

            Today religious divisions, like those of race, threaten democracy in all pluralistic nations.  Most Christians and Muslims are exclusivists who consider their religion the one true faith and demean all others.  Religious exclusivism motivated the Christian Crusades and Inquisitions, and today it motivates Islamist violence.  In a world of increasing religious diversity, exclusivist religious doctrines poison interfaith relations and must be reconciled to sustain democracy.   

            Despite DeTocqueville’s sanguine observations of diversity in democracy, the mix of religion and politics has proven to be a combustible component of democracy.  Religious and racial divisions challenge the stability of democracy in America and in Islamic nations.  But just as religious differences can unravel the fabric of democracy, the moral standards of religion can provide the glue needed to hold a pluralistic democracy together.

            That moral glue is found in the greatest commandment to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves—including our neighbors of other races and religions.  It summarizes the altruistic teachings of Jesus and is a common word of faith for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.  That love command provides the moral foundation needed to save democracy in America and overseas from the self-imposed shackles of human depravity.


Notes:

Mary Eberstadt has asserted that the breakdown of the nuclear family in our pluralistic culture gives rise to the central question of “Who am I” that makes possible the group loyalties in identity politics that emphasize “personal choice, individual rights and self-definition.”  See http://www.weeklystandard.com/the-primal-scream-of-identity-politics/article/2010234.

David Von Drehle noted that Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama should make Trump nervous, but that Jones is likely to be a three-year senator given the depth of the divisive identity politics that continue to plague American democracy.  See  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-doug-joness-victory-is-a-big-deal/2017/12/13/db504842-dfbc-11e7-8679-a9728984779c_story.html?undefined=&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1.

On how black voters in Alabama defined the soul of the nation and prevented the election of Roy Moore, see https://sojo.net/articles/black-voters-alabama-defined-soul-nation.

Based on exit polls it appears that 80% of white evangelicals voted for Roy Moore, who campaigned to “take our country back” from “a Washington elite that hates him because he refuses to hide from his conservative Christian values.”  Recent polls found that “evangelical Republicans were more likely to choose a representative like Moore who votes the way they want (55%) over one who lives a moral life (36%).”  Collin Hanson, editorial Director of the Gospel Coalition, said that evangelical Christians who supported Roy Moore have exposed “the theological rot “ in the evangelical church, and that “There will not be a coherent evangelical movement to emerge from this political season.” See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/12/13/a-spiritual-battle-how-roy-moores-failed-campaign-tested-evangelicals/?wpisrc=nl_evening&wpmm=1.

The biblical morality of Roy Moore and the evangelicals who supported him is similar to that of John Winthrop, the 17th century Puritan lawyer and leading figure in founding the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Winthrop condemned democracy as “…amongst nations accounted the meanest and worst of all forms of government” since it had no precedent in biblical scriptures.  See http://religiondispatches.org/the-17th-century-roots-of-roy-moores-refusal-to-concede-the-election/.

Michael Gerson and Joe Scarborough provide two views of how the demise of the Republican Party could give birth to a new party that could restore legitimacy to America’s partisan politics.
  
 
Related Topics:

On the demise of democracy and identity politics, see
(3/12/16): Religion, Race and the Deterioration of Democracy in America
(3/19/16): Religion, Democracy and Human Depravity
(3/26/16): Religion, Democracy, Diversity and Demagoguery
(11/26/16): Irreconcilable Differences and the Demise of Democracy
(2/18/17): Gerrymandering, Race and Polarized Partisan Politics
(3/11/17): Accountability and the Stewardship of Democracy
(11/18/17): Radical Religion and the Demise of Democracy
(11/25/17): A Dark Revelation on Thanksgiving Day
(12/9/17): Religion, Race and Identity Politics                   http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/12/religion-race-and-identity-politics.html.

On the mix of religion and politics as civil religion, see
(9/9/17): The Evolution of the American Civil Religion and Habits of the Heart http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/09/the-evolution-of-american-civil.html.
(9/16/17): The American Civil Religion and the Danger of Riches
(9/23/17): Tribalism and the American Civil Religion 
(10/7/17): A 21st Century Reformation to Restore Reason to American Civil Religion http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/10/a-21st-century-reformation-to-restore.html.
(12/2/17): How Religious Standards of Legitimacy Shape Politics, for Good or Bad

On race and religion in politics, see
(6/7/15): The Future of Religion: In Decline and Growing
(6/21/15): Christians Meet Muslims Today
(6/28/15): Confronting the Evil Among Us
(7/5/15): Reconciliation as a Remedy for Racism and Religious Exclusivism
(7/12/15): Reconciliation in Race and Religion: The Need for Compatibility, not Conformity   http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2015/07/reconciliation-in-race-and-religion.html
(8/23/15): Legitimacy as a Context and Paradigm to Resolve Religious Conflict
(9/20/15) Politics and Religious Polarization
(3/12/16): Religion, Race and the Deterioration of Democracy in America
(4/30/16): The Relevance of Religion to Politics
(7/9/16): Back to the Future: Race, Religion, Rights and a Politics of Reconciliation
(1/21/17): Religion and Reason Redux: Religion Is Ridiculous
(2/18/17): Gerrymandering, Race and Polarized Partisan Politics
(2/25/17): The Need for a Revolution in Religion and Politics
(6/10/17): Religious Exclusivity and Discrimination in Politics    http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/06/religious-exclusivity-and.html
(6/17/17): Religious Exclusivity: Does It Matter?   http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/06/religious-exclusivity-does-it-matter.html
(8/12/17): The Universalist Teachings of Jesus as a Remedy for Religious Exclusivism 

On a politics of reconciliation, see
(5/7/16): Religion and a Politics of Reconciliation
(5/14/16): The Arrogance of Power, Humility and a Politics of Reconciliation
(5/21/16): Religious Fundamentalism and a Politics of Reconciliation
(6/18/16): A Politics of Reconciliation with Liberty and Justice for All
(7/2/16): The Need for a Politics of Reconciliation in the Wake of Globalization
(7/9/16): Back to the Future: Race, Religion, Rights and a Politics of Reconciliation
(7/16/16): The Elusive Ideal of Political Reconciliation
(7/23/16): Reconciliation and Reality
(7/30/16): Politics after the Conventions: More Polarization or Reconciliation?
(10/22/16): The Need for a Politics of Reconciliation in a Polarized Democracy
(11/19/16): Religion and a Politics of Reconciliation Based on Shared Values
(12/10/16): Partisan Alternatives for a Politics of Reconciliation
(12/31/16): E Pluribus Unum, Religion and a Politics of Reconciliation
(2/4/17): When Confrontation Trumps Reconciliation in Politics and Religion
(5/27/17): Intrafaith Reconciliation as a Prerequisite for Interfaith Reconciliation
(8/19/17): Hate, History and the Need for a Politics of Reconciliation
(11/11/17): A Politics of Reconciliation that Should Begin in the Church

On the greatest commandment as the moral foundation for a politics of reconciliation, see
(1/11/15): The Greatest Commandment: A Common Word of Faith
(1/25/15): Jesus Meets Muhammad: Is there a Common Word of Faith for Jews, Christians and Muslims Today?
(6/21/15): Christians Meet Muslims Today
(10/25/15): The Muslim Stranger: A Good Neighbor or a Threat?
(1/23/16): Who Is My Neighbor?
(1/30/16): The Politics of Loving Our Neighbors as Ourselves
(2/7/16): Jesus Meets Muhammad on Issues of Religion and Politics
(8/12/17): The Universalist Teachings of Jesus as a Remedy for Religious Exclusivism