Drones and Realism in the Middle East

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army--Wikimedia Commons

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) by the military, have become a contentious issue within American foreign affairs. Neoconservatives have called for stronger military engagement within the Middle East, with those on the left wishing to back away from any military intervention within the region. Though these opinions are not often based within political theory. Realism has been used as a guide within American foreign policy for multiple presidential administrations, and … [Read more...]

In His Final Performance, David Bowie Embraced Death

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I woke up earlier than usual this morning, only to find that David Bowie died last night, just days after his 69th birthday.I'm devastated. No other musician or pop star filled my life with such joy and mystery. "Legendary musician" doesn't even begin to cover it. David Bowie was elemental, everchanging, and I assumed eternal. I took his presence on earth for granted, evidenced by my review of his latest album Blackstar, published just two days before he died. The conclusion is mostly a re … [Read more...]

Mormon Church Responds to Bundy-led Oregon Occupation

Obligitory Mormon Institution Image (Wikimedia commons)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has now officially condemned the actions of a group of armed militiamen in Oregon, led by Ammon Bundy--a Mormon--and fueled by right-wing ideology, mixed with a unique brand of Mormonstyle American exceptionalism. Here's the statement: While the disagreement occurring in Oregon about the use of federal lands is not a Church matter, Church leaders strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those … [Read more...]

Finding Hope From The Westboro Baptist Church

A Westboro Baptist Church protest. (Wikimedia Commons, alterations by Cody Ray Shafer).

For years, the Westboro Baptist Church have been synonymous with bigotry. I learned this when they protested at my high school in 2004 over a production of The Laramie Project (documented by my embarrassing teenager blog). A large counter protest was organized, and an event originally sparked with hate turned into a largely positive, jovial affair. The Phelps clan were woefully outnumbered, and they left rather quickly, while the crowd left behind cheered and laughed and prayed together. As an … [Read more...]

See, Mormons and Muslims Really do Have Stuff in Common

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While advocating for Donald Trump's insistence that Muslim's deserve less rights than other religious Americans, Katrina Pierson (who serves as The Donald's new national spokeswoman, mind you) cited previous treatment of the Mormons as precedent for restricting religious rights. "This is no different than a Christian church, it's not different than a Mormon church," Pierson told Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Wednesday, according to The Salt Lake Tribune's Thomas Burr. Pierson then went on to ex … [Read more...]

Star Wars Needs A Faith Crisis

Along with my love of the original films is a massive appreciation for Ralph McQuarrie's excellent concept art for the very first Star Wars. (Fair use)

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but there’s a new Star Wars coming out next month. Remember Star Wars? It was a 1977 low-budget film from the chronically anti-social merchandising kingpin George Lucas that shamelessly ripped of Kurosawa and Frank Herbert. Believe it or not, the film was followed by not just one but two sequels in the ‘80s, and then an entire prequel trilogy in the early ‘00s. Now Disney owns the property and is planning on inundating the public with more Star Wars films fro … [Read more...]

Polygamy and the New LDS Policy: Two Thoughts

Wikimedia Commons. Alterations by Cody Ray Shafer.

 MichaelMany, including Elder Christofferson, have noted that the LDS Church’s new policy toward gay couples and their children is a carbon copy of the Church’s policy toward polygamous families, on the books since the 1920s. (If you’re curious, see Ardis Parshall’s post about it.) Most of these people have focused on how the Church is applying the old policy (re: polygamy) to a new situation (gay marriage).But there’s another arrow of influence. The Church is turning the attitud … [Read more...]

These Three Things Are True

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Sharp divisions make it hard to pinpoint "how Mormons feel" about the policy barring children of same-sex married parents from blessing or baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but these three things are true:Mormonism is charismatic. Mormonism is organized. Mormonism is Mormons.By “Mormonism is charismatic” (from the term “charismata”, or gifts of the Holy Spirit including visions, healings, prophecy, etc.) I mean that its existence as a religious tradition is … [Read more...]


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