“Is Islam a primary cause of international violence?”

      You may think the answer obvious.   And understandably so.   But the book that I discussed in this 2014 column for the Deseret News might cause you to see things quite differently:   http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865610336/Is-Islam-a-primary-cause-of-international-violence.html?pg=all   I myself was prepared to resist Graham Fuller’s thesis, but he’s surprisingly persuasive.   And it [Read More…]

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A sorrow that we try not to lose

    The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced.  Every other wound we seek to heal — every other affliction to forget: but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open — this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. Washington Irving (1783-1859) [Read More…]

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Thoughts for Thanksgiving (2)

        Here’s the text of a column that I published in the Deseret News on Thanksgiving 2012:   William Ernest Henley’s famous Victorian-era poem “Invictus” provided the title and the theme for Clint Eastwood’s inspiring 2009 film about Nelson Mandela. It also provided the memorable claim “I am the master of my [Read More…]

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“Could America Survive without Religion?”

    Important reflections from one of the premier social, legal, and political thinkers in the United States:   http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/11/16037/   Posted from Marbella, Spain     [Read more…]

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“Nearer, My God, to Thee,” from the Mormon Channel

    A brief little vehicle for reflection on a Sabbath day:   http://www.ldsliving.com/Mormon-Channel-Creates-Stunning-Inspiring-Video-Nearer-My-God-to-Thee/s/80603?utm_source=ldsliving&utm_medium=email   Posted from Marbella, Spain     [Read more…]

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The “Satanic Temple”: “Group creates ‘opt out’ website for LDS practice of baptism for the dead”

    This is mere grandstanding silliness:   http://kutv.com/news/offbeat/do-not-publish-marcie-read-group-creates-opt-out-web-site-for-lds-baptism-for-the-dead   From the Latter-day Saint point of view, the ultimate “opt out” power remains with each individual even beyond death:  Nobody will be compelled to accept vicarious baptism performed on his or her behalf.  The dead, in LDS belief, remain conscious individuals with volition and agency. [Read More…]

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“Imagine,” in Paris after the attacks

    The outpouring of grief in Paris has been moving.  Among the memorials has been the playing of piano music near the nightclub where so many innocent people were massacred.   I wasn’t so thrilled, though, about the selection of John Lennon’s “Imagine” for one of the memorial performances.   I wrote this column [Read More…]

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“The Pumpkin”

    We’re past Halloween, of course, but this piece (“The Pumpkin”) by the American Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) is directly relevant to Thanksgiving and to the time of harvest.  Please enjoy it:   Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun, The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run, [Read More…]

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Thoughts for Thanksgiving (1)

    Here’s the text of a column that I published in the Deseret News on Thanksgiving Day 2011:   Autumn harvest festivals were and are common across Europe, and, as every American schoolchild once learned, our modern Thanksgiving celebrations descend from a meal shared between Massachusetts Pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621.   It was not [Read More…]

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“Who lost the American culture war?”

    An eminent Austrian-American sociologist of religion responds to the question:   http://www.the-american-interest.com/2015/11/18/who-lost-the-american-culture-war/   Posted from Marbella, Spain     [Read more…]

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