In the World
Steve Thorngate on public life and culture
Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that Florida’s death penalty sentencing violates the Sixth Amendment. Tomorrow, the court will consider whether to hear a death-row petition based on the Eighth. The first is comparatively narrow in scope: Florida has to stop sending people to its rather bustling death row unless that decision is made by a real live jury. The second, however, could be quite sweeping.
Here are Steve Thorngate's most-read posts of the year.
It’s all over my Facebook newsfeed: some retail stores are bucking the trend and staying closed for Thanksgiving Day, and people—Christians and atheists, conservatives and liberals—are applauding them for it.
The Mets second baseman's error is no one’s favorite moment of the World Series. Well, almost no one's.
At its worst, Protestantism has long been deeply suspicious of all holy things, of the very notion that a physical object can carry anything of the sacred. At its best, such a suspicion is aimed instead at the notion of holier things—of an elite, rarefied sacrality that sets a few things utterly apart. So I’m not among those rolling my eyes at Rep. Bob Brady for seeing something holy in a glass of water.
Insisting that a government office answer to the law rather than to a given official’s religious beliefs isn’t de-prioritizing religious freedom in favor of something else. It is religious freedom.
I was trying to write a provocative article for a readership that includes many people who a) oppose the death penalty for faith-based reasons, and b) take for granted that replacing it with LWOP is a fairly straightforward good. But I should have done more to anticipate how others might see a one-sided article where I saw a narrowly focused one.
It’s Monday, so it must be time for everyone to share last night’s main John Oliver segment and talk about how correct and funny and amazing he is. To be clear, I generally agree with this left-of-center consensus: Oliver’s longform takes on the old Daily Show template are informative, impassioned, and hilarious. I had a mixed response, however, to last night’s segment.