Confederate Symbols and the Black Flag of ISIS: Two Sides of the Same Coin

A terrorist symbol looms over my hometown. It stands for an intolerant, un-American ideology, one that stripped human beings of their dignity and equated them with animals, beasts who could be killed at will.  Ominous and unmoving, it is an unholy shrine to rape, torture, and genocide.It is a monument to Confederate soldiers. And it is just as much a symbol of terrorism as the black flag of ISIS.I grew up in Cochran, Georgia, a small town located approximately two hours south of Atlanta. … [Read more...]

Trump Should Learn from Andrew Jackson: Keep Church Out of State

Trump can learn from his hero and reject a fusion of Church and State.  Among the Religious Right, the idea that America is a secularized, atheistic wasteland has become an article of faith. From annual jeremiads about the “War on Christmas” to lamentations about prayer in schools, conservative Christians portray the country as a prodigal nation that has strayed from its faith-based roots.President Trump has pandered to this religious discontent, proclaiming that his America will “start sayi … [Read more...]

The Anti-Trump General Conference

Like many Mormons around the world, I’ve spent this weekend watching the Church’s General Conference, a biannual assembly of Church leaders and members where they come together to learn and be uplifted. While watching it, I’ve been struck by one thought – this is the anti-Trump conference.No, the leaders of the Church haven’t spent their time denouncing President Trump or calling for his ouster. Rather, they have offered forceful denunciations of some of the key tenets of Trumpism. That is, t … [Read more...]

A Hillbilly, a Professor, and a Mormon Mayor Walk into a (Dry) Bar . . .

The experience Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams gained on his Mormon mission helped him bridge economic and political divides. A year of national service could do the same for young Americans. A few months ago I finished reading Hillbilly Elegy, an engaging memoir by J.D. Vance that has been seized upon to explain the historic shift of blue-collar whites from their Democratic roots to voting for Trump in the 2016 election. In it, Vance discusses how many working-class whites, especially those … [Read more...]

If Thomas Friedman were Mormon . . .

The New York Times columnist would love the Church's Global Education Initiative, but Donald Trump wouldn't. I recently finished reading New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s book Thank You For Being Late. It’s a timely examination of three forces whose acceleration is rapidly changing our world: technological progress, globalization, and climate change. Friedman argues that in order to keep up with the breakneck speed of these transformations, government and the private sector will need to … [Read more...]

Stop Praying for us, and Acknowledge That You Helped Create Omar Mateen

Let me give you a run down: 2015 was the deadliest year on record for transgender women, but 2016 could surpass that—since the beginning of the year, 14 transgender individuals have been murdered. Additionally, research shows that 80% of LGBTQ people killed are people of color. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, fought over 200 anti-LGBTQ laws in the first ten weeks of 2016. Advocacy groups continue to fight House Bill 2, also known as The Public Facilities Privacy & S … [Read more...]

Trans Win: Federal Government to Sue North Carolina

The Department of Justice recently announced it will be suing North Carolina for House Bill 2--an anti-trans law that requires individuals to use the bathroom of their assigned gender at birth. This is in addition to the other ways that HB 2 hurts the LGBTQ community, such as invalidating several LGBTQ anti-discrimination measures that local North Carolina governments enacted.Loretta Lynch, who was sworn in as US Attorney General just over a year ago, held a press conference this past … [Read more...]

Ted Cruz’s Weak Islamaphobia

In the aftermath of this morning's tragic terrorist attack in Brussels, each presidential candidate is jumping at the chance to say something profound and earth shattering in defense of all that is good and decent. For Ted Cruz, the word that will change everything is simply "Islam."https://twitter.com/tedcruz/status/712253015491645442 In his mind, the Obama administration hasn't described terrorism as Islamic enough. Instead, Obama has lectured us on Islamaphobia, and referred … [Read more...]