France’s Burkini Ban Isn’t About Secularism

There was an ugly spectacle this week on a beach in France:Photographs have emerged of armed French police confronting a woman on a beach and making her remove some of her clothing as part of a controversial ban on the burkini....Her ticket, seen by French news agency AFP, read that she was not wearing "an outfit respecting good morals and secularism".As a response to recent Islamist terror attacks, cities like Nice have banned clothing that "ostentatiously displays religious … [Read more...]

The Intellectual Prison of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

I've often written about Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, which is, in my opinion, one of the worst religious cults in existence. Whether in the U.S., in Israel, or any of the other countries where they put down roots, the Ultra-Orthodox live in closed-off enclaves, trying to keep their members isolated and ignorant of the world all around them. Daily life in these communities is a maze of rules and prohibitions, the result of centuries of elaboration by rabbis who only ever grow stricter, never more … [Read more...]

Why We Have to Pay for Media

I think it's a good moral principle not to be a free-rider. I want to pay my fair share of upkeep for whatever I use. If you agree, then this John Oliver segment on the decline of print news is essential:This is something I've been concerned about for a long time. It's no accident that freedom of the press is written into the First Amendment, making it as foundational as freedom of speech or religion. But that vitally important right is empty if there's no one to exercise it. And in the … [Read more...]

Conservatives Trapped in Their Own Bubble

After the 2012 election, I wrote about how the Republicans' epistemic bubble blinded them to their coming loss. Because they deliberately isolated themselves from all contrary opinion, they had no idea that there were people who didn't see the Obama presidency the same way they did, and thus failed to frame their argument in a way that would have been persuasive to those people. At the time, I mused on what they might do next:The very defect that's laid them low also makes it almost … [Read more...]

This Is Not Normal

The latest polls, which suggest that Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead over Donald Trump in many critical swing states, give progressives a reason to take a breath of relief. The data suggests that Trump is such a poor candidate, he's even at risk in traditional Republican strongholds like Arizona and Georgia.But even if Trump and all he represents is soundly beaten in November, there's reason to fear for American democracy. His transgressive rhetoric and campaign style has normalized … [Read more...]

The White Supremacist Roots of Evangelicalism

I came across an anguished essay by Amy Gannett, a millennial evangelical writer, that's titled "How Evangelicals are Losing an Entire Generation". With a teaser like that, I just had to read on, and I wasn't disappointed. In the post, she explains how Donald Trump's nomination is resulting in her "losing faith in Evangelicals":This morning, I had no more than opened the app on my phone and there it was: Wayne Gruedem's endorsement of Donald Trump.Maybe you're unfamiliar with Grudem, … [Read more...]

Rise of the Atheist Voting Bloc

I missed this story when it came out last month, but it deserves attention:More American voters than ever say they are not religious, making the religiously unaffiliated the nation's biggest voting bloc by faith for the first time in a presidential election year. This marks a dramatic shift from just eight years ago, when the non-religious were roundly outnumbered by Catholics, white mainline Protestants and white evangelical Protestants.You read that right. If you took all the … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Should the Democrats Pander to Atheists?

For all their lip service to diversity and inclusion, the Democrats snubbed atheists at their convention and in their official party platform this election year. The convention was all God all the time, with not a word of acknowledgement for the increasingly important non-religious part of their voting base.Is there any hope for this partnership? I argue that there is, and that atheists' votes and political organizing has had a profound effect on the Democrats, even if their rhetoric hasn't … [Read more...]

Ten Reasons Why Donald Trump Is Unfit to Be President

I've written about why Donald Trump won't be elected president, but I haven't spent as much time on the reasons why he shouldn't be elected.In part, this is because it's almost too hard to keep track! Scandals that, individually, would fell any other campaign, pile up so quickly with Trump that they blur together and their impact is lost. Besides, Trump's most devoted followers don't care what the truth is, either because they're enthusiastic for his message of white supremacy and … [Read more...]

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The Rising Tide of Republican Extremism

Last week, in a failed last-minute bid to prove himself bigoted enough to be Donald Trump's running mate, Newt Gingrich said this:.@newtgingrich: "We should...test every person here who is of a Muslim background, & if they believe in shariah they should be deported."— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 15, 2016This isn't just unconstitutional, it's anti-constitutional. The idea of a religious test for American citizens, used for expelling those whose views are deemed … [Read more...]


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