James Bruce

James, an associate professor of philosophy at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark., is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute's mid-career course. Follow him on Twitter @JamesEBruce.

Brynn Anderson/AP

Officers of the church

Religion | Does a church need its own police force?
by James Bruce
Posted 3/24/17, 05:11 pm

Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Ala., is pushing for the Alabama Legislature to pass a law allowing it and other churches to have their own police departments. Many colleges and universities, including religiously affiliated ones, have their own forces, but Briarwood’s would be a church-first in Alabama and apparently in the United States. A cathedral in York, United Kingdom, has had its own police force since 1106.

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Facebook/Islamic Society of Basking Ridge

Faiths and freedoms

Religious Liberty | Should Baptists defend the right of Muslims to build mosques?
by James Bruce
Posted 2/10/17, 09:00 am

Local officials in Bernards Township, N.J., did not have a happy new year. They had told planners of a proposed mosque that it would need more parking spaces than a church needed, but on New Year’s Eve a federal judge called their decision illegal discrimination on the basis of religion under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

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Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Points of dispute

Religion | Many Southern Baptists express worry about the influence of Calvinism
by James Bruce
Posted 1/06/17, 04:00 am

Calvinists and traditionalists in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) agree on almost everything, except for the nature of election, the extent of the atonement, how people become Christians, and the meaning of original sin. Don’t take my word for it: “Truth, Trust, and Testimony in a Time of Tension,” a 2013 statement from the SBC’s Calvinism Advisory Committee, calls for unity in the face of “significant theological disagreement.”

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