What’s the Story with Visa Denials?

Some years ago, I traveled out of the country for an academic conference. The country was part of the European Union, so I didn't need to obtain a visa. The entire process was easy and smooth. Until recently, I didn't think about the complications individuals in many countries face in obtaining a visa to attend an academic conference in the U.S.---and I certainly didn't realize that a large number of such visa requests might be denied!Trump's "Muslim ban" has brought wider scrutiny to i … [Read more...]


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That Time Jesus Was at the Well with Steve Bannon

I grew up in an evangelical home; while I'm no longer religious, I've become somewhat familiar with liberation theology, and with progressive Christianity more generally. Given this familiarity, I was seriously troubled by a recent tweet by Nadia Bolz-Weber, progressive Christian pastor and author:Text: We all come back from the grocery store to the sight of Jesus chatting it up at the well with Steve Bannon. Jesus is the worst. The story about the woman at the well, of course, goes l … [Read more...]


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Say What Now? Republicans on Discrimination.

Growing up in a white evangelical conservative Republican home, I remember my parents saying that my brothers, as white males, were the most discriminated against demographic in society. People in any other demographic, he said, would get hired before they did. I was also given to believe that evangelical Christians face persecution in the United States today. All of this is to say that even as a nonreligious progressive today, these graphs from a recent PRRI survey weren't a complete su … [Read more...]


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Why Trump’s Irish Merchandise Broke My Irony Meter

I think my irony meter just broke.The Trump team released Irish themed "Make America Great Again" hats.Does no one on Trump's team know anything about the history of immigration? The Irish were incredibly reviled! The Irish were spoken of in the nineteenth century the way Trump and his supporters talk about Mexican immigrants today. Possibly worse, actually---they were seen as literally sub-human.In fact, Irish immigrants weren't just spoken about the way Mexican immigrants are … [Read more...]


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Voting for Trump with Jesus in the Room

A drive-in theater in Alabama won't be showing the new Beauty and the Beast movie because it has a gay character. The owner, Carol Laney, explained thusly: If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it. I grew up in an evangelical home, and I remember hearing this same basic argument made in a variety of situations---for instance, don't do anything with your boyfriend/girlfriend that you wouldn't do if Jesus were in the room, or even, when a … [Read more...]


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Um, Guys? Amnesty Would Fix That.

I'm frequently baffled when I hear people say both that undocumented immigrants are driving wages down and that amnesty for undocumented workers shouldn't even be on the table. I'm similarly baffled by those who complain that undocumented immigrants don't pay taxes, but de facto oppose amnesty.There appears to be some truth to the claim that undocumented immigrants drive wages down, at least for unskilled laborers. According to the Atlantic: Immigration isn’t without its negative effects, es … [Read more...]


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I Grew Up in an Evangelical Home. I Don’t Remember This Level of Islamophobia.

I grew up in an evangelical home. I was homeschooled, and the area where we lived was very white, and very Christian. In spite of this, by the time I reached adulthood I likely had more personal experience with Muslims than most Americans.When I was small, we lived in the next door apartment to a Muslim family from Pakistan. The husband was a pediatrician---we'll call him Dr. Hussein. His wife wore a headscarf, and the children---three of them---were the same ages as my siblings and I. We pl … [Read more...]


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