The Good Samaritan as The Other

The parable of the Good Samaritan is well known and much beloved. The image of the caring Samaritan tending to the bruised and bleeding traveler speaks to the goodness of mankind; despite our egoism. I have noticed that this parable often shows up in secular moral theory. John Rawls uses it as an example of an reasonable religious concept that would fit within the parameters public reason (see “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited” by John Rawls). It is also… Read more

Strange Gods: The Idol of Ideas (Chap. 3)

NOTE: See my earlier posts in this series here and here. Over the course of my life I have defined myself–sometimes with regretable pride and narrow-minded passion–as a New Yorker, an Irish woman, a liberal, a feminist, a Democrat, A Catholic, a mother, a student, a healer, a Yankee fan, a manager, a Christian, a post-feminist–the list goes on and on. (39) Well, this Orioles fan was waiting for Elizabeth Scalia to put post-Yankees fan at some point on that… Read more

More Than Belief: Faith as a Relationship with God.

I recently heard somebody refer to faith as a verb. While many verbs are involved in faith, I would say that faith is itself not a verb, but it is a noun. Faith in Jesus Christ is not believing in Christ. Having faith in Christ is having a relationship with Him. A relationship is a noun. What then does this thing involve? That is a more complex issue. What does any relationship require? We could probably come up with a… Read more

Choose The Left: Some Thoughts on Being a Mormon Dem

The above bumper sticker has been on our Chevy Suburban since early spring. Lyndee, my wonderful wife, let me put it on the vehicle after we decided to leave Wyoming. It was our way of saying that we no longer cared about what anyone in Wyoming thinks about us. Being a Mormon made us black sheep amongst Wyoming Democrats. Recently, the state party promoted and championed a rant in the form on a letter to the editor which maligned religious… Read more

Judith Butler’s Religious Roots (Video)

In the following video, philosopher Judith Butler discusses her work and philosophy with Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth. I particularly enjoyed hearing her discuss how the synagogue of her youth played a major role in her path toward philosophy. As a Rawlsian and Kantian, my work and thought is very different from that of Butler. However, her approach to gender continues to fascinate me and I admire her activism. Also, I second her recommendation of Plato’s Dialogues. ICYMI: My… Read more

Power to The United Nations

I am very excited to see that Samantha Power is being appointed as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Power is a strong advocate for a liberal foreign policy that focuses on human rights. In particular, Power has focused her writing and advocacy on the need to prevent and halt genocide. Power, a graduate of Harvard Law School, came to prominence in the 1990s writing as a journalist about the American failure to respond to the genocide in Rwanda… Read more

Are Mormons Protestants?

Should Mormons be categorized as Protestants? The 2012 Casper College Humanities Festival focused on the topic of sin. One of the main events was a panel on the issue of sin from the perspective of different religions. Their was a Catholic Priest, a Jewish Rabbi, and a Mormon Bishop. No, they did not walk into a bar. I was part of a group of faculty and students that tweeted the event. One of the students, Micah, was a member of… Read more

Ben Bernanke is a Rawlsian!

Well, maybe. In a speech at the Baccalaureate Ceremony at Princeton University on Sunday, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke was channelling some heavy luck egalitarianism along with some New Testament. He gives ten suggestions to the graduates. In particularly, number three stands out as particularly Rawlsian: The concept of success leads me to consider so-called meritocracies and their implications. We have been taught that meritocratic institutions and societies are fair. Putting aside the reality that no system, including our own,… Read more

Charity Vs. Justice

It is often said that social justice is about forcing others to be charitable. I should let you in on a secret: I do not give a crap about whether you are charitable or not. If I was trying to force you to be charitable, I would be doing it to force you to be righteous, but social justice is not about whether you are just but whether our society is just (sorry, not everything is about you). Now saying… Read more

The Temple of Joseph and the Temple of Sam

A couple of years ago, my family made the four hour trip from Casper, WY to Billings, MT to attend the LDS Temple in Billings. Upon arrival in Billings, we decided to do initiatory work for some of Lyndee’s ancestors. She went in first while I waited in the waiting room with Todd, Shem, and Geneva (at the time 11, 9, and 5, respectively). After the drive, I was looking forward to relaxing in the temple. Todd had another plan…. Read more




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