The Patriarch of Alexandria (RIP)

My condolences to all of my Coptic Christian friends on the death of Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria.He has been a fixture in Egypt since his elevation in late 1971, and a major figure among Middle Eastern Christians generally.His passing occurs at a stressful time of transformation for Egypt as a whole and at a difficult time for the Egyptian Christian community in particular, and creates a vacuum of leadership in the Coptic Orthodox Church at a very inopportune moment. … [Read more...]

Live, from Orem, It’s Saturday Morning!

First of all, happy St. Patrick's Day!  It would be kind of cool to be Irish today.But then, on the other hand, my ancestors used to kill the Irish.  So maybe it wouldn't have been so cool then.In one of Gary Larson's old "Far Side" cartoons, you're on a Viking longship looking toward its bow, beyond which is a (probably Irish) village on the distant shore.  The leader is addressing his oarsmen/warriors.  "All right," he says.  "Let me run through the plan one more time: … [Read more...]

Coming Soon, to a Magazine Rack or Mailbox Near You

I've subscribed to the conservative political magazine that William F. Buckley, Jr., founded (National Review) since I was thirteen or fourteen.  Which means that I've been reading it for something like seventy or eighty years.There've been only a few gaps, always involving residences overseas -- though I even received it for most, though not quite all, of my mission in German-speaking Switzerland.  (That was a slightly different era).So, very soon, this will arrive in my … [Read more...]

Live Internet Discussion Featuring Bonner Ritchie

Bonner Ritchie, professor emeritus of Organizational Behavior at Brigham Young University and current scholar-in-residence at Utah Valley University, will appear in a live streaming broadcast on The Julia Currey Show on Monday, 19 March, at 12 noon (MDT).  The Julia Currey Show is accessed at and Julia will discuss the role that he has played for many years in building bridges between the Palestinian people and other political, educational, and religious … [Read more...]

Upcoming Academic Meeting on Ancient Near East, Religion, Etc., at BYU

This year's joint meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion and the American Schools of Oriental Research for the Rocky Mountain-Great Plains region will be held 23-24 March 2012 (i.e., this coming Friday and Saturday) and will be hosted on campus by Brigham Young University.  Dr. Dan Belnap, assistant professor of Ancient Scripture and of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at BYU, is serving as the vice-president of the region this year and is in charge … [Read more...]

It’s Unjust to Say that the LDS Church is Anti-Semitic

Here's an article of mine that was published on Thursday morning in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City: … [Read more...]

Maybe Evangelicals are RIGHT to Fear Us

It starts off a bit slowly, but then it gets going:Some LDS Missionaries in Australia Do the Maori HakaThere are, it seems, a lot of these out there.This one, for example. … [Read more...]

Mom, Dad . . . I’m a Cuban

It's time for a change of pace.So how about this?Will Rubio is a former member of a BYU comedy troupe.And before my usual critics condemn me for my ethnic insensitivity, they should know that Will Rubio himself is Cuban, and that it was my Havana-born daughter-in-law who first called my attention to the video.I just got back from a wonderful BYU concert with Simon Shaheen and his Near Eastern Music Ensemble that crowned the first day of BYU's Hewaar/Dialogue conference, and I'm in a very … [Read more...]