On this month's episode of Discourse, Dr. Irene Oh (Director of the Peace Studies Program, George Washington University) and Dr. Carolyn Davis (independent consultant) spoke with Ben Marcus about a few key stories in religion and public life from February.

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On this month’s episode of Discourse, Dr. Irene Oh (Director of the Peace Studies Program, George Washington University) and Dr. Carolyn Davis (independent consultant) spoke with Ben Marcus about a few key stories in religion and public life from February.

In Dunn v. Ray, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the execution of Dominique Ray could move forward and denied Ray’s request to have an imam at his side in the execution chamber (though a Christian chaplain could be present). This case prompted an outcry by many religious freedom advocates in the U.S. and generated a debate about the unequal application of religious freedom protections and accommodations.

In South Carolina, the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services granted Miracle Hill Ministries, a foster care agency, a waiver to receive federal funding despite its commitment to only place children with Protestant foster parents. We discuss how this case ties in with broader questions of judicial empathy and how we care for children in the United States.
Ellen Page made headlines when she asked Chris Pratt to explain his membership in Zoe Church, an evangelical church in Los Angeles accused of promoting anti-LGBT teachings. We discuss individual versus communal religious identity and the responsibility individuals have for their communities’ doctrine.

Ilhan Omar was accused of anti-Semitism by politicians on the right and left for her criticism of AIPAC’s lobbying efforts. We discuss what we should make of the debate about differentiating between anti-Semitic tropes and critiques of Israel.

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