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Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

All Stories by Jonathan Merritt

Moving beyond a fear-based faith

By Jonathan Merritt — January 19, 2018
Fear is largely seen as a psychological issue. But it is also a spiritual issue, according to author Benjamin Corey.  

‘Double persecution’: The untold plight of Christian women worldwide

By Jonathan Merritt — January 10, 2018
Every day, six Christian women are reportedly raped, sexually harassed or forced to marry under threat of execution due to their faith.

The 12 most dangerous countries for Christians

By Jonathan Merritt — January 10, 2018
While American Christians are a privileged majority, their brothers and sisters in many places are a persecuted minority. 

RNS Best of 2017: Eugene Peterson backtracks on same-sex marriage

By Jonathan Merritt — December 31, 2017
(RNS) — After condemnation from conservatives, 'The Message' author says he regrets telling RNS columnist Jonathan Merritt that he would officiate a same-sex wedding.

Sexuality, race, and gender: 3 explosive insights about America’s 100 largest churches

By Jonathan Merritt — December 29, 2017
Last October, evangelicalism was rocked by the launch of, an organization that reports churches’ LGBTQ+ policies and rates congregations based on their level of clarity. The website angered Christians on both sides of the issue. Some conservatives attacked the CC’s liberal leadership, while some progressives claimed that labeling churches undermined progress. Nevertheless, Church Clarity persisted. […]

Forget ‘Happy Holidays.’ Let’s talk about Congress this Christmas.

By Jonathan Merritt — December 23, 2017
Talking about public policy may not seem like a festive activity, but it is sorely needed.

After Roy Moore, evangelicals must trade wishful thinking for soul-searching

By Jonathan Merritt — December 13, 2017
Some people choose to live in houses filled with covered mirrors, but Christians cannot afford to be those kinds of people.

Amid a sex abuse crisis, a new conservative Christian vision for womanhood?

By Jonathan Merritt — December 7, 2017
Julie Roys says feminism may have contributed to our current crisis and fundamentalists may be making it worse.

Needed: A coalition of feminists and conservative Christians

By Jonathan Merritt — November 28, 2017
It is time for the two groups to set aside their differences and unite for the common good.  

A funeral director says many churches (unknowingly) promote a ‘death negative’ narrative

By Jonathan Merritt — November 10, 2017
Caleb Wilde says many churches teach that "death, and our mortality, is at heart both shameful and has little to no redeeming value."

Against Clarity: A progressive Christian opposes rating churches on LGBT acceptance

By Jonathan Merritt — November 1, 2017
(RNS) — 'Human sexuality is not,' writes Barbara G. Wheeler, 'the decisive issue that determines whether a church body is acceptable or not.' (COMMENTARY)

Why pastor Robert Jeffress’ interview with Sean Hannity was so maddening to so many

By Jonathan Merritt — October 25, 2017
(RNS) — Who knew that a simple meeting between a preacher and a pundit would be so controversial? But it starts to make sense when you consider the preacher. And the pundit. And the meeting itself. (COMMENTARY)

Church Clarity pressures pastors and churches to disclose views on homosexuality

By Jonathan Merritt — October 18, 2017
(RNS) — Prominent pastors are finding themselves on the hot seat thanks to a new group's efforts to call out leaders who lack clear stances, writes Jonathan Merritt. (COMMENTARY)

Alan Jacobs’ antidote to Christian anti-intellectualism

By Jonathan Merritt — October 11, 2017
"if you don't care what anyone else thinks about you, you can easily find yourself locked in an echo-chamber," Jacobs says.

First Look: Trump talks Israel on Mike Huckabee’s new TBN show

By Jonathan Merritt — October 6, 2017
Trump's peace plan, the president says, will be decided "in the not-too-distant future" and "everybody says it is not going to work."
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