Muslims, the new “natives”

Am writing a brief reaction paper to the chapter in Daniel Pals' (highly recommended) Eight Theories of Religion on the pioneer anthropologist E.E. Evans-Pritchard, best known for his magisterial and seminal work Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande. Don't have time to comment in depth, but I thought I'd share a few observations concerning how accounts of the sloppy and dehumanizing theorizing about "primitive" peoples of the 19th century have a uncannily familiar ring today … [Read more...]

The long overdue end to the Neocon nightmare

An inspired and inspiring polemic ("End of the Neo-Cons") has been loosed on the lunacy gripping Washington for so long and whose epic blunders just resulted in the Republicans losing control of the House of Representatives for the first time in over a decade in the Toronto Star by David Olive. If there's any rhetorical mistep in this eloquent and exhaustive broadside at Neocon folly it is Olive's somewhat toothless opining about the possibility that the "neo-cons will have earned … [Read more...]

Alan Wolfe on American conservatives’ inability to govern

Alan Wolfe argues here in the The Washington Monthly that conservatives have a dismal record in as political leaders. What I found most interesting was his argument that, contrary to its constant invocation of the Founding Fathers, today's American Conservative movement is out of sync with American history and political culture. "Why Conservatives Can't Govern" by Alan Wolfe The United States, as the political scientist Louis Hartz argued in the 1950s, was born liberal. We fought for … [Read more...]

Europe fiddles as Gaza crumbles under Israel’s siege

Jonathan Steele in The Guardian provides an antidote to the blindly pro-Israeli sophistry we're hearing in the "mainstream" media in the USA ("Europe's response to the siege of Gaza is shameful") at the moment. I think all his charges are sadly borne out by the evidence. Thank God for real supporters of Israel like Gideon Levy who understand that peace can never be gained by waging an endless undeclared war.Thank goodness for the Swiss. Alone in Europe, their government has … [Read more...]

Norm Solomon on selective outrage over barbarism

The ever insightful Norm Soloman on the consequences of the American media's spineless and selective coverage of wartime atrocities in "Their Barbarism, and Ours" : "The story really takes us back into the 8th century, a truly barbaric world," John Burns said. He was speaking Tuesday night on the PBS "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," describing what happened to two U.S. soldiers whose bodies had just been found. Evidently they were victims of atrocities, and no one should … [Read more...]

Comparing US Muslims to European Muslims

A very interesting article in The Economist.Look out, Europe, they say Why so many Muslims find it easier to be American than to feel European … [Read more...]

KY Christians demanding schools teach “BC” and “AD”

From The Forward: Religious Groups Push Kentucky Schools To Use 'Before Christ' Activists, along with the governor and other state politicians, have accused the State Board of Education of attempting to drive Christianity from the classroom through the use of secular notations, like BCE for "Before the Common Era," in place of religious ones, like B.C. for "Before Christ." The Western calendar counts years from the traditional birth of Jesus. The use of the notations B.C. and A.D. (anno Domini, … [Read more...]

UNICEF: 25% of world children seriously underweight

UNICEF - Press centre - A Quarter of the World’s Children Seriously Underweight “The lack of progress to combat undernutrition is damaging children and nations,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, speaking on her first anniversary as head of the global children’s agency. “Few things have more impact than nutrition on a child’s ability to survive, learn effectively and escape a life of poverty.”Another snippet: “Despite progress in some countries, developing-world … [Read more...]

Fukuyama: Neocons a gang of ‘Leninists’

While there are few more stinging put-downs on the American Right than "Leninist", I actually think Fukuyama lets them off easy in some ways.  Sure, he exposes their incredible inconsistency and brashness, but I think a full reckoning would include a few paragraphs on their stunning incompetance in governance, their Inspector Clouseau-like bumbling. I applaud him for his integrity and courage in speaking out, but too bad it took him so long to detect his comrades' manifest … [Read more...]

Hurricane Katrina and religion in America (article by me)

I have an article in the current issue of Islamica Magazine, "Comprehending Catastrophe", on the Hurricane Katrina tragedy and what it says about American political and religious life.Don't let my presence in its pages fool you.  This magazine has some heavy hitters.  Please support it. … [Read more...]