Welcome to the Sunday morning, faith edition, of the French Press newsletter. The goal of the Sunday edition is quite clear and explicit—to inject faith into politics, business, culture, and—well—everything. It’s a sad fact that our great American religious divide is driving a tremendous amount of religious polarization and religious ignorance, and this is not a new phenomenon. I’ll never forget my first days at Harvard Law School—28 long years ago—when more than one student from an elite undergraduate institution told me, “I’ve never met an Evangelical Christian before.”
Think about that for a moment. They didn’t say they had no Evangelical friends. No, they said they didn’t know a single Evangelical person—and that’s when surveys indicate that America was more religious. These same individuals went on to climb the ladder of American wealth and power, and many of them now move in circles that view especially America’s conservative and orthodox faiths with a mixture of hostility, contempt, and curiosity.
Remember when the New York Times’s executive editor Dean Baquet said, “I think that the New York-based and Washington-based too probably, media powerhouses don’t quite get religion. … We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives”? Well, this Sunday newsletter is one small effort to help Americans of all political and cultural backgrounds to better understand the values, beliefs, and practices that shape the lives of countless millions of their fellow citizens.
Let’s get started … with Mayor Pete.