I love The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. When I taught American Heritage at BYU and BYU-Idaho, I enjoyed showing the movie version. The Grapes of Wrath is a very important work of literature within the American social justice tradition. The film, and the book even more so, strongly portrays the devastating impact of poverty and larger economic depressions on both individuals and families. It also masterfully depicts the concepts of alienation and exploitation. Near the end of the… Read more

I am putting together a conference paper proposal about John Stuart Mill’s treatment of Mormon polygamy in his classic “On Liberty.” As I do that, I want to share with you the passages that I am considering. The forth chapter of John Stuart Mill’s 1869 “On Liberty” starts with the following questions: WHAT, then, is the rightful limit to the sovereignty of the individual over himself? Where does the authority of society begin? How much of human life should be… Read more

Like many of the hymns of social justice, I fell in love with Biko by Peter Gabriel before I really understood what the what the song was really about. It is a haunting song and this 2011 performance of the 1980 song brings all of the emotion of the original and some. Steve Biko was a leading activist against the apartheid regime in South Africa. This song is about his death at the hand of government authorities. Here is an… Read more

While Approaching Justice has gotten a few donations, the fund drive has gotten more questions. Let me answer a few: Does Patheos ask you to get paying subscribers? No. This is all my doing. I am not looking for subscribers in the traditional way. There is no pay wall at Approaching Justice and that is not going to change. The funds for this drive will go directly to supporting me and Approaching Justice. The “subscription” option allows for you to… Read more

Okay, it is not going to happen…but why not at least offer? Christian Harrison, an author and my dear friend, made the following suggestion this morning: Perhaps now is a good time for Mayor Ralph Becker and the City Council to announce to the world that we’re able to host should Sochi become untenable. We’ve wowed the world before in hosting the Olympics against all odds — we could do it again. Of course, I don’t expect Sochi to be… Read more

The live televised debate on Wyoming PBS for the U.S. House of Representatives was the high point of the 2012 campaign. I knew that it would not change anything. It was on November 1 and election day was on November 6. It was too late for anything that happened at the debate to change anything. Additionally, Representative Cynthia Lummis is a well polished politician. I was not expecting any mishaps. Most of the people who would watch, the few that… Read more

I have previously shared an example of comedian Jim Gaffigan’s commentary/comedy on everyday American life. In many ways, he is one of my favorite social theorists Since I renewed my membership in the American Academy of Religion last week, I thought I would share with you Jim Gaffigan as theologian. As you know, I am all about approaching religion in only the most serious of ways. Here is theologian Jim Gaffigan on Jesus: Read more

I have not written specifically about the campaign in a while. It is partially because I have still been processing the entire experience and trying to figure out if it was something I wanted to write about…or just plain try to forget about it. As Ana Cupril, the current Vice Chair of the Wyoming Democratic Party, pointed out in the comments of a previous post, I was an unprepared candidate. I had no name recognition, no base, and no money…. Read more

Today, we attended our first testimony meeting in Las Vegas. Apparently testimony meeting when you go to church near the Las Vegas Strip involves people from other places making self-righteous comments about the Strip. One guy even made a Sodom and Gomorrah comment. Sacrament meeting is the main weekly worship service in the LDS Church. Testimony meeting is during the Sacrament meeting on the first Sunday of the month. Instead of assigned talks or sermons, during testimony meeting any member… Read more

I am going to come at this from a different angle than I did yesterday. August is the first quarterly subscription drive here at Approaching Justice. The goal for this drive is to get 1000 individual subscriptions or donations. I am asking you to help by picking one of two ways: 1. Subscribe to make monthly $2 payments to Approaching Justice. 2. Make a one-time donation in an amount of your choosing. My goal for this weekend is 100 subscriptions… Read more

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