Religious Freedom Extravaganza

I recently had two significant debates about religious freedom on bloggingheads, with two thoughtful conservatives, Michael Brendan Dougherty and Matthew Anderson.

In the first, on the bloggingheads show The Good Fight, I discussed the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement with Doughterty. The aim of The Good Fight, a moderated discussion, is to find some common ground between two people who disagree on an issue. The five-minute condensed version of our hour-long discussion, is up at The Atlantic. The whole discussion is available at

The second discussion, on my own bloggingheads show, was with Mere Orthodoxy’s Matt Anderson, about the fallout from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of the controversial religious freedom bill there. Matt goes against the grain of much of conservative leadership opinion and argues that the defeat of this bill and others like it is not evidence of persecution of Christians. Indeed he even argues, more broadly, that the persecution narrative is not a winning strategy for conservatives. (Speaking of such strategies, I wrote this weekend about the screening of the movie Persecuted at the Conservative Political Action Conference for Politico magazine; check it out.)

Picking up on an issue I discussed here, Matt and I also discussed whether anti-gay religious institutions risk losing their tax exempt status, if same-sex marriage bans are ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

In the clip below, Matt describes what he thinks might be the conservative Christian reaction if the Supreme Court strikes down same-sex marriage bans:

The whole discussion with Anderson is here.