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Farewell to ERLC's Matt Hawkins

Matt Hawkins, who has served faithfully at the ERLC for 17 years, announced that he is leaving the ERLC to pursue Ph.D. studies. Matt was a brilliant, winsome presence on Capitol Hill and on the airwaves of this podcast. He will be missed. The good news is he is moving to Tennessee and will be close to our Nashville office. For Matt’s final episode as host, Jeff Pickering joins him at the Leland House to reflect on memorable interviews, guests, and advocacy in Washington, D.C. Capitol...


Roundtable: Ministerial Edition

In advance of this week’s U.S. State Department Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, the policy team discusses ERLC’s international engagement. Matt Hawkins talks with Steven Harris about his congressional testimony concerning religious liberty in Sudan. Travis Wussow and Jeff Pickering discuss their recent trip to the United Nations in Geneva. Then the team interviews Eugene Yapp, a human rights and religious freedom lawyer in Malaysia. Eugene elaborates on the cultural, political,...


Former Canadian Ambassador for Religious Freedom, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett

Matt Hawkins and Travis Wussow welcome former Canadian Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett. Their wide-ranging conversation includes religious freedom in the context of diplomacy, Bennett’s current projects with Cardus (the only faith-based think tank in Canada), and the Religious Freedom Institute in Washington. Bennett also services as a deacon in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and he provides Matt (a Baptist) with some insight into that...


Gary Marx talks Judge Kavanaugh

Gary Marx of the Judicial Crisis Network and Madison Strategies joins Matt Hawkins and Jeff Pickering to discuss President Trump’s recent nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. ERLC Coalition Letter from evangelical leaders supporting Kavanaugh Press release: Russell Moore calls Kavanaugh “a tremendous choice” for US Supreme Court Explainer: What you need to know about Judge Brett Kavanaugh Judicial Crisis Network Madison Strategies


Meet the staff of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Staff from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom sit down with ERLC policy director Matt Hawkins to discuss their work and the most recent annual report from the Commission. Dwight Bashir serves as Director of Research and Policy; Elizabeth Cassidy serves as Director of International Law and Policy at the Commission. What is the U.S. Commission on IRF? - Matt Hawkins 2018 USCIRF Report Other special reports from USCIRF including on women and religious freedom...


Pastor Joel Rainey on the opioid crisis and multi-faith engagement

Joel Rainey, Phd., pastor of Covenant Church in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, joins ERLC policy director Matt Hawkins to discuss how his local church is participating in combating the opioid crisis. Also, what does it look like for a Christian church to engage their neighbors in a multi-faith context while remaining faithful to doctrine? Joel’s Twitter Covenant Church One America Movement Conversations about our broken system aren’t enough | Joel Rainey, Aaron Alexander, and Lauren...


Jeremy Tedesco on Jack Phillips’ wins at the Supreme Court

Jeremy Tedesco, senior council at the Alliance Defending Freedom, joins Matt Hawkins and Travis Wussow to discuss the nuances of the Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. ERLC Explainer: Supreme Court supports baker in an important religious liberty case Top quotes from the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court win | ERLC Policy Staff A good trajectory for the future of Christians in the public square | Andrew Walker Press Release: Russell...


Geneva, Malaysia, and International Advocacy

Travis Wussow and Jeff Pickering join Matt Hawkins to discuss their upcoming trip to the United Nations in Geneva to advocate for Malaysian human rights. ERLC’s Malaysia Initiative Jeff Pickering’s Twitter Travis Wussow’s Twitter Resources on International Religious Liberty


Marvin Olasky on American compassion

When Dr. Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of World Magazine, makes a trip to Washington he joins ERLC Policy Director Matt Hawkins for an interview. Their conversation includes American poverty and compassion, the history and future of compassionate conservatism, the charitable deduction, and Marvin’s longest streak of 10,000 steps a day. World Magazine The Sift World Radio World Journalism Institute Marvin’s biography, Unmerited Grace Marvin’s books at Amazon, including… The Tragedy of...


Herbie Newell of Lifeline Children’s Services

Herbie Newell, president of Lifeline Children’s Services, joins ERLC Policy Director Matt Hawkins to discuss opportunities and challenges facing adoption communities and how local churches can assist. Lifeline Children Services Lifeline resources for churches Book: Adopted for Life by Russell Moore Book: The Gospel & Adoption by Russell Moore and Andrew Walker Guest bio Herbie Newell is the President/Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services and it’s ministry arms including...


Chelsea Patterson Sobolik on childlessness and the church

During a spring recess on Capitol Hill, Matt welcomes Congressional staffer and author Chelsea Patterson Sobolik. Their conversation focuses on childlessness and the church, a personal and cultural experience well upstream from policy issues like adoption, foster care, reproductive technologies, surrogacy and more. Chelsea’s first book is Longing for Motherhood: Holding on to Hope in the Midst of Childlessness. Longing for Motherhood: Holding on to Hope in the Midst of Childlessness (Amazon)...


Kate Anderson on NIFLA, Austin bombings, Iranian refugees

Kate Anderson from Alliance Defending Freedom joins Matt to discuss the case heard at the Supreme Court this week, NIFVLA v. Becerra. Travis and Jeff join later to discuss the bombings in Austin and the USA’s denial to Iranian refugees. Also, Jeff goes to the White House with the Houston Astros! Case resources ADF’s case resource page ERLC’s case explainer ERLC’s amicus brief (PDF) SCOTUSBlog case page Guest bio - Kate Anderson Kate Anderson serves as legal counsel with Alliance Defending...


Greg Glod with Right on Crime; Staff roundtable

Greg Glod from Right on Crime joins Matt to discuss criminal justice reform. The DC team chats about current policies on the ERLC’s front burner including the Conscience Protection Act. Jeff and Matt reflect on Billy Graham’s lying in honor at the U.S. Capitol. Guest segment: Criminal Justice Reform Right on Crime Prison Fellowship Ministries ERLC Supports Criminal Justice Reform More ERLC Resources on CJR The Justice Declaration Original DACA deadline passes Previous episodes with Dreamers...


Malaysia, online trafficking, foster care, DACA in court

Matt, Steven and Travis check in on a variety of policy items the ERLC is paying attention to as Congress returns to work. Topics include religious freedom in Malaysia; a U.S House vote in the fight against online sex trafficking; foster care reform. The team also discusses recent decisions in court cases DHS v. Regents Of Univ. Of Cal. and Zarda v. Altitude Express. Malaysia Religious freedom advocacy encouraged by major court decision in Malaysia ERLC short film… stay...


The Senate fails on security and immigration

The ERLC’s Matt Hawkins and Jeff Pickering reflect on what happened in the Senate debate on immigration reform last week, and look ahead to the next month in Congress. Senate fails to secure border and resolve Dreamer issue What's next for DACA? - The Weekly Standard Inside the Senate's ugly immigration breakdown - Politico ERLC resources on immigration