Every December, The Atlantic looks back on the previous year—to highlight not just the big moments, but also the progression of big ideas. Below, the last of three installments highlights some political and cultural stories worth revisiting—or discovering for the first time.
The start of the presidential race and the fitful state of race relations in the United States dominated headlines throughout 2015, but the year’s events inspired thoughtful analysis on a number of other topics, too.
Religion, Liberty, and Same-Sex Marriage
- Prior to the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling, Jeffrey Rosen, in “The Dangers of a Constitutional ‘Right to Dignity,’” warned about the constitutional slippery slope of Justice Kennedy’s dignity doctrine.
- After the justices announced the Obergefell decision, Emma Green previewed how the debate would shift in “How Will the U.S. Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Decision Affect Religious Liberty?”
- In Kentucky, Kim Davis became the face of gay-marriage resistance—leading Garrett Epps to explain why her actions violated government employees’ basic obligations: “When Public Servants Refuse to Serve the Public.”
- After the outcome of November’s state-level elections, Molly Ball pointed out that, in many ways, “Liberals Are Losing the Culture Wars.”
- “Gay and Mennonite” is Emma Green’s feature on the dissonance within the church over homosexuality.
- Emma Green also followed the media frenzy when the pope visited the United States in September. In response to growing fervor about the “liberal” Catholic leader, she penned, “Pope Francis Is Not a Progressive, He’s a Priest.”