Video: The Life of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

I have been looking for a brief video that might serve as a good introduction to the life and times of Nelson Mandela. In particular, I was looking for something that I might share with my own kids and my future students. I really like this 12 minute biographical clip from the New York Times: Please share any thoughts, memories, or reflections in the comments below. Read more

46664 #mandela

As the world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela many are making lists of their favorite songs about him in tribute and I will join them. 46664 was Nelson Mandela’s prison number for over 25 years. U2, long champions of social justice, contributed “Ordinary Love” to the soundtrack of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” The Specials composed this song with a straight forward message while Mandela was still in prison Read more

Once in Royal Jethro’s City.

There was a nugget of a find at the local Thrift Shop today, “The Jethro Tull Christmas Album.”  Yes, it is true; the same band that gave us “Aqualung” released a Christmas album in 2003.  I have just started listening to it but I am already impressed by the Social Justice message of a song titled, “A Christmas Song.”   “A Christmas Song” starts with familiar cords and the words form the first line of the classic hymn “Once I Royal… Read more

Atheism, Relativism, and Morality #rawlsreligion

Rawls says that atheism is one view that Bodin could not abide. For Bodin, atheism is not the the belief that God does not exist, rather it is the rejection of right and justice. Bodin, according to Rawls, believed “that people will honor right and justice only when they believe in God and fear divine punishments.” (Rawls 2010, 267) This suspicion of non-believers was shared by John Locke. In his A Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke excludes atheists (and Catholics for… Read more

Is a More Beautiful World Possible?

I may be the problem. In his new book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, Charles Eisenstein addresses the disconnect we feel in a world that focuses on wealth and individualism. An emptiness becomes apparent as we begin to crave the community and social spirit which has fallen by the wayside in the pursuit of success, power, and wealth. Eisenstein’s narrative is a familiar one to me. What he calls “separation,” Marx called alienation. I think the… Read more

“Asking peace of all the world And good will to man”

Calling the song that is the subject of this post a “Hymn of Social Justice” may be stretching definitions a wee bit, but in the Spirit of Christmas I am going to stretch.   One of my family’s favorite traditions for celebrating the Advent  season is to share our favorite Christmas stories each night from December 1st to the 24th.  One of the stories that I love the most is the story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 that took place… Read more

I am Thankful for…Monty Python’s Philosopher Football

With the announcement of a Monty Python reunion, I thought I would share my favorite sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Here is some Philosopher Football: Of course, in philosophy…the Germans win in a landslide. Just saying. Read more

Put The First Thanksgiving on Your Christmas List

I loved reading The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History. It is an attempt to tell the real story of Thanksgiving in a way that draws on the methods of academic history, rather than the methods of The History Channel. After Christmas, we will see non-stop airings of documentaries about the historical Christmas and the historical Jesus. I actually enjoy this shows, but they are the donuts of historical study. Lots… Read more

“Look in their eyes ma, You’ll see me” #hymnsofsocialjustice

Bruce Springsteen is teaming up with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello to release a new album called “High Hopes,” it will be out in January of 2014. The new album will include some classic rock and roll numbers and covers of some of Springsteen’s previously recorded songs with he and Morello performing them together. The idea for the album came when Morello was standing in for regular Springsteen guitarist Steve Van Zandt on a recent tour. One of… Read more

Marriage Isn’t for Everyone

After the Supreme Court decided U.S. v. Windsor and Perry v. Hollingsworth earlier this year, I remained optimistic about the fact that I would live in a state where gay marriage was illegal. I even remember telling one of my gay law school buddies that Idaho would be the last state to recognize gay marriage. Little did I know, plans were being laid to overturn the gay marriage ban in Idaho. Two weeks ago, four lesbian couples filed a lawsuit… Read more