No, I do not agree with libertarianism. However I often cringe when the term is used in the United States in association with crass, if not intellectually vulgar, figures like Ayn Rand and Ron Paul. Chandran Kukathas is a chair in political theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science. I studied under Kukathas for my MA in political science at the University of Utah. At the University of Utah, he was the Neal A. Maxwell Chair in… Read more

“Hunger Strike” by Temple of the Dog brings us a duet by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell. The band is largely the line-up which we better recognize as Pearl Jam, including Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, and Matt Cameron. Maybe it is just the vocal power Vedder and Cornell combined, but few songs strike me more emotionally in the way the “Hunger Strike” does. The image of the hunger strike in this song reminds my of… Read more

One of my favorite sections of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense is his section on the monarchy and hereditary succession. It is one of the most interesting uses of a social contract-style historical critique. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession MANKIND being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance: the distinctions of rich and poor may in a great measure be accounted for, and that without having recourse to the harsh ill-sounding… Read more

With the first installment of Hymns of Social Justice coming from Emmylou Harris, I wanted to follow that up with a heavy metal selection. “Who Cares Wins” by Anthrax addresses homelessness in the late 1980s. It is gives particular attention to the way in which our society de-humanizes the homeless. The “State of Euphoria” album was a favorite of mine back in the sixth grade…but the social justice message of this song was lost on me until I re-discovered it… Read more

I’m writing my first post as the new campus minister of Ecumenical Campus Ministries which represents a number of liberal protestant denominations at the University of Kansas. I met Chris when I was a pastor in Wyoming but apparently this summer is a time of transition for both of us. I wanted to tackle a post by Dan Fincke at Camels with Hammers. He’s been dedicating his blog to theists every Thursday by tackling a topic or posing a set… Read more

Emmylou Harris performed this in 2011. It struck me as appropriate given recent events. NOTE: This post originally featured a televised studio version. It is no longer available. Below is a live rendition from record at a 2012 concert (Update September 11, 2013): I am starting a series called “Hymns of Social Justice.” The series will feature social justice themed songs from a variety of artists. This is the first installment of that series. "Like" Approaching Justice on Facebook Join… Read more

I arrived in Las Vegas on Friday and Lyndee and the kids will be arriving over the next few days. I will miss my friends in Wyoming. Here is something I will not miss so much: Because…you know…President Obama is going after hunting rifles. Same truck. Our 3 years in Wyoming were an adventure. I am looking forward to continuing our family adventure here in Las Vegas! I think we will be spending a lot of time here: It is… Read more

…as our own son, nothing will change. My son Shem almost always wears a hoodie…and he prefers to have candy in that hoodie. He does not face the same racism that Trayvon did. Luckily, we also have not had a neighbor like George Zimmerman. While we lament our gun-crazed violent and hateful culture, may our hearts and thoughts be with Trayvon’s parents. Trayvon is their son. They can no longer hug him. They can no longer enjoy his smile. They… Read more

Jeffrey Rosen suggests some ways make the Patriot Act more patriotic. E.J. Dionne notes that Pope Francis is showing some impressive leadership and “saintly politics.” Today, Pope Francis criticized indifference toward immigrants’ plight David Brooks pounds Tea Party Congressman on immigration. The “dynamic” movement to overturn Citizens United. How Government Made Fracking Profitable (and Left Renewables Behind)title Read about more about the Faith and Social Justice News Roundup here. UPDATE: I will start thus series on a daily basis July… Read more

I am starting a new and permanent series at Approaching Justice called the “Faith and Social Justice News Roundup.” The Faith and Social Justice News Roundup with be links to stories and commentaries about faith and social justice. At Approaching Justice, I take a rather broad approach to both faith and social justice. My hope is that this daily (Monday through Friday) series will help make Approaching Justice a place where you can visit to find a wide range of… Read more

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