death-penalty-hand

A New Year’s Hope: End the Death Penalty

On December 9 2014 despite objections from anti-death penalty activists, a last minute petition to the Supreme Court, and media outcry, the state of Georgia killed Robert Wayne Holsey. Convicted in 1997 for murdering sheriff’s deputy William Robinson, Holsey’s guilt was never in question. And yet, in the weeks and days leading up to his execution, bolstered by severely negligent representation in his first trial and questions regarding his intellectual capabilities, Mr. Holsey’s case garnered significant media attention.Writing for The Guardian, Ed Pilkington describes the unethical antics … [Read More...]

Christmas 2014

Celebrating the Power of Light at Christmas

At every Christmas Eve service my favorite part is always the final singing of Silent Night. Watching the warm orange and yellow light from the flickering candles one-by-one is a joyous sight as new faces, old faces, and those who have been away the past year are welcomed into one union celebrating the birth of Jesus.My Christmas tradition is spent with my in-laws in rural central Pennsylvania with congregations comprised of many who would not consider themselves progressive or Democrats. But at Christmas, these delineations are unnecessary. As the lights slowly dim, and the candles tr … [Read More...]

A Tale of Two Seasons: Election vs. Advent

As elections wrap up and Advent begins, I cannot help but to think of the ostensible paradox that the two seasons represent. It is an overlap of one season defined by divisive, partisan spectacle—all inclusive of attack ads, pontification and sentimentality—with a season of waiting, humility, reflection and for many people, togetherness.Amidst a harsh political culture, oddly enough, the season of Advent tends to bring people together. Families, friends and colleagues who cannot be in the sam … [Read More...]

Pope Francis to visit Philadelphia

Last month, Pope Francis announced he’s coming to Philadelphia in September 2015 for the World Meeting of Families. Regardless of religious affiliation, it’s an exciting time for the City of Brotherly Love. Yet despite the elation surrounding the visit, it’s perhaps prudent to understand the struggles Philadelphia faces and how the pope’s visit is a rare opportunity to highlight populist, progressive solutions that can and should be taken to strengthen the family unit and society at large. … [Read More...]

Missing Values, Missing Votes in the 2014 Mid-Terms

With some time now to properly digest the Mid-Term blue-to-red Election results, I found myself saying that my fellow Democrats didn’t stand for anything this November. There were plenty of issues to be proud of and tout, yet the more the electorate heard about these victories, the less impact they made.The simple question that is every Election Day is “Why?” Why vote for one candidate or party? For the GOP, that answer was opposing the president, and all the fuel the Republicans doused the W … [Read More...]

Raise the Wage

As a rookie summer intern reporter at a Philadelphia suburban newspaper, I was paid $10 an hour. It was a pretty good wage for being only 19 years old, and a rising college junior. At 19, I only had myself to worry about with supportive parents paying for college, food, room and board.  The $10 took care of my needs of my car and the occasional dinner out or movie with my then-girlfriend, now-wife. Still, those paychecks went fast. At 19, I wasn’t worried about saving money except for some fun in … [Read More...]

Good Times with The Good Lie

If I’m going to review The Good Lie, I should start with a truth – I was crying at the end of this film. So was my wife.The Good Lie stars Reese Witherspoon and tells the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan who survived civil war and a decade in a refugee camp to come to America.  We watched last weekend not expecting much as this genre of good-doer films often seems overly simple and unrealistic. Instead, we were left feeling a connection with so many characters maturing in real ways to solve pr … [Read More...]

Redistricting: A Faith Issue?

We traditionally think of redistricting as an issue that impacts us only politically. Redistricting is the redrawing of districts based on the shared ideologies within the district without regard to the actual citizens that compose the district. It has become a problem because it effectively decides who gets elected in a given district. Redistricting has become a way to suppress voters. However, redistricting is more than a political issue; it is a faith issue as well. If a certain candidate, … [Read More...]

We Are People, Not Pawns

Would you raise taxes by $4,700 on working families to make a political point? What if the tax raise stopped families all across the state from affording healthcare?The very idea of sacrificing the health of families to make an ideological point should be met with disbelief and nausea, but I’m guessing few of you are surprised to hear the Attorney General of Michigan is actually using this tactic in an effort to undermine Obamacare.Attorney General Bill Schuette led the fight to keep M … [Read More...]

Daily Beast’s Sally Kohn: Why I’m Against Hamas, Against What Israel Is Doing, and For Judaism

This piece by Sally Kohn originally appeared on the Daily Beast.  As violence between Israel and Gaza continues, the author raises thoughtful questions worth considering.  For the victims of violence, Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers. Hamas is awful, but how can any faithful Jew look at Israel’s disproportionate violence against innocents and defend it?What kind of Jew would I be if I were not horrified by the incredible death and destruction being wrought on the Palestinian … [Read More...]


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