Visiting the New Mormon Temple

Yesterday I went on a tour of the new Latter-Day Saints temple in Carmel, Indiana. It was my first ever visit to a Mormon temple, and it was quite fascinating. The architecture and artwork are all customized for the local context, and so it is not a coincidence that the top of the temple will remind [Read More...]

The Holy Trilogy

I’ll be giving a paper at SBL in November comparing sci-fi canons (with particular focus on Star Wars, given the new direction the franchise is taking) and Biblical canons. And so I was struck when a couple of items came to my attention today, all connected by the use of the phrase “The Holy Trilogy,” an [Read More...]


I was at Indianapolis Airport today, and noticed this banner:   If you have ever been to Indianapolis, you will know the statement is true. Indianapolis is a very diverse city, and one which embraces and relishes that diversity. It is characteristic of many states, and not only Indiana, that its urban areas are “blue”'and [Read More...]

The “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” Is Now Law In Indiana: How Should We Respond?

The governor of Indiana Mike Pence has signed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and made it law in Indiana. While legal experts have argued that similar legislation in other states has yet to be used successfully to justify discrimination, many are still concerned. My question at this stage is how progressive Christians and others concerned about [Read More...]

How To Ruin A Protest

From SMBC [Read more...]

Counter-Protest Done Right

Hemant Mehta shared the above image from a counter-protest to Westboro Baptist Church's protest at a Lorde concert. That is what it means to counter-protest. Responding to hate with hate is simply joining in the hatred, not objecting to it. To take a stand against hatred, your words and actions need to express the opposite [Read More...]

Mr. Putin Goes to Church

On Tuesday, Nadieszda Kizenko, Patrick Michelson, and Paul Valliere spoke at Butler about religion and freedom of expression in Russia, focusing on the now famous case of the punk band Pussy Riot and their “Punk Prayer” video that got so much attention on Facebook. The video of the lecture is now available, and I want to [Read More...]

Freedom of Speech = Freedom to Insult, to Criticize, and to Apologize

Many of the recent discussions about “free speech” in connection with the internet video about Islam called “Innocense of Muslims,” the violent reactions to it, and the apologies for it, seem to me to miss the point. In our democracy, within limits to ensure that the safety of people is safeguarded, people can express themselves [Read More...]