Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 117

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. America’s Changing Religious Identity (Daniel Cox and Robert Jones, PRRI): There’s a lot of data here. One bit that stood out to me: “Atheists and agnostics account for a minority of all religiously unaffiliated. Most are secular. Atheists and agnostics account for only about one-quarter (27%) of all religiously unaffiliated Americans. Nearly six in ten (58%) religiously unaffiliated Americans identify as secular, someone who is not religious; 16% of religiously unaffiliated Americans nonetheless report that they identify as a ‘religious person.’”
  2. Risky road: China’s missionaries follow Beijing west (BBC): “As a self-declared atheist government, news of Chinese Christian missionaries getting into trouble abroad is embarrassing. But at the same time, Beijing needs to show it can protect its citizens as it goes global. As Fenggang Yang, an expert on religion in China at Purdue University, puts it: ‘They thought Christianity was a western religion imported into China, so how can you export Christianity from China?’” Recommended by an alumnus.
  3. There was a lot written about campus sexual assault recently. Here are some standouts:
    • The Campus Sex-Crime Tribunals Are Losing (KC Johnson, Commentary Magazine): “Barrett’s decision marked the 59th judicial setback for a college or university since 2013 in a due-process lawsuit brought by a student accused of sexual assault. (In four additional cases, the school settled a lawsuit before any judicial decision occurred.) This body of law serves as a towering rebuke to the Obama administration’s reinterpretation of Title IX, the 1972 law barring sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funding.”
    • The Uncomfortable Truth About Campus Rape Policy (Emily Yoffe, The Atlantic): “A troubling paradox within the activist community, and increasingly among administrators, is the belief that while women who make a complaint should be given the strong benefit of the doubt, women who deny they were assaulted should not necessarily be believed. ”
    • The Bad Science Behind Campus Response to Sexual Assault (Emily Yoffe, The Atlantic): “The spread of an inaccurate science of trauma is an object lesson in how good intentions can overtake critical thinking, to potentially harmful effect.”
    • Here Is Every Crazy Title IX Rape Case Betsy DeVos Referenced, Plus a Bunch More (Robby Soave, Reason): “Critics of DeVos will say that her plan to reform Title IX is some kind of giveaway to rapists. But it’s not. Today, DeVos recognized a basic and obvious truth that every objective chronicler of the college rape crisis already knows: The Obama-era modifications to Title IX utterly failed to bring justice to campuses.”
  4. To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now (Neil Irwin, New York Times): “The right product engineer or marketing executive can mean the difference between success or failure, and companies tend to hire such people as full-time employees and as part of a long-term relationship — something like the transmission supplier. What has changed in the last generation is that companies today view more and more of the labor it takes to produce their goods and services as akin to staplers: something to be procured at the time and place needed for the lowest price possible.” Recommended by a student.
  5. I also read a lot about DACA this week:
    • Trump’s decision to end DACA, explained (Daniel Bush, PBS Newshour): “In June, 11 attorneys general — from conservative states like Texas, Arkansas, West Virginia and Kansas — threatened to sue the Trump administration unless it took steps by Sept. 5 to end the program. For months, senior Trump administration officials have expressed concern that DACA would not stand up in court.”
    • Trump Ends DACA, Despite Pleas from Evangelical Advisers  (Kate Shellnut, Christianity Today): “In addition to the 57 percent of US evangelicals that favor citizenship and the 19 percent that favor deportation, 15 percent say DACA recipients should be allowed to become legal residents but not citizens, while 9 percent don’t know.”
    • Can these Democratic attorneys general save DACA? I asked 9 legal experts. (Sean Illing, Vox): The experts seem pessimistic.
    • Donald Trump is right: Congress should pass DACA (Economist): “If you could design people in a laboratory to be an adornment to America they would look like the recipients of DACA…. They are a high-achieving lot. More than 90% of those now aged over 25 are employed; they create businesses at twice the rate of the public as a whole; many have spouses and children who are citizens. They are American in every sense bar the bureaucratic one.”
    • Rescinding DACA Is The Right Thing To Do (David Harsyani, The Federalist): “There are a vast number of solid economic and moral arguments for legalizing the children of illegal immigrants. In substance, I agree with DACA. Yet… the Constitution makes no allowance for the president to write law ‘if Congress doesn’t act.’”
  6. Should a Judge’s Nomination Be Derailed by Her Faith? (Emma Green, The Atlantic): “She and other Democratic senators on the committee seemed troubled by Barrett’s Catholic convictions, particularly on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, which came up later during questioning. But when Barrett repeatedly stated that she would uphold the law, regardless of her personal beliefs, they didn’t seem to believe her.” For a less restrained perspective, read Democratic McCarthyites (Rod Dreher, The American Conservative).  And it’s not just conservatives displeased. Check out [Princeton] President Eisgruber asks Senate committee to avoid ‘religious test’ in judicial appointments (Princeton Office of Communications).

Things Glen Found Amusing

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have a debate I featured way back in volume 48 between two pastors on guns – both are very thoughtful and are skillful debaters.  All the posts are pretty short.

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.


Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda — we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news — I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

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