The Hidden Telos of Marriage

As I made my way through the 100+ page ruling of the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, I was puzzled by a subtle discursive difference between the majority and dissenting opinions. I couldn’t put my finger on it until the word leapt out from page 5 of Justice Roberts’ dissenting opinion: “The premises supporting this concept of marriage are so fundamental that they rarely require articulation. The human race must procreate to survive. Procreation occurs through sexual relations betw … [Read more...]

The Problem with “Conscience”

The last time a state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) made news, I argued that the law’s critics were letting the word “discrimination” distract them from the real issues at stake. Everything I said then bears repeating: not all discrimination is wrong, not all wrongful discrimination should be illegal, and sometimes religious freedom really does give people the right to discriminate.But it’s only fair to acknowledge now, with another RFRA controversy lining outrage-mongers’ pocket … [Read more...]

Review: “Selma”

Selma deserves a Best Picture win, because even with all of its imperfections, it is a story that engages with history honestly and insightfully. It highlights an important part of the civil rights movement, enlightens a common narrative of a historical figure, yet respectfully keeps the integrity of Dr. King’s legacy intact.It is good history as far as narrative filmmaking goes. Somehow I’ve managed to keep up with most of the Oscar nominees this year, and a disproportionate number of them a … [Read more...]

God Gives US TV Sets To Please Our Eyes and Gladden Our Hearts: Two Mormon Views of the Prosperity Gospel

Here's a brief transcript from a filmstrip intended for Mormon audiences, "The Lord's Laws of Prosperity." It's undated, but the LDS Church Library places it in the mid-1960s. Narrator: Certainly it is within the province of the Lord to bring prosperity to anyone he considered worthy of it....Man: Is he talking about spiritual prosperity or temporal prosperity?Narrator: (Chuckle) I’d say both.  He says The good things of the earth.”  I’m sure the Lord requires that we acknowledge his han … [Read more...]

Justice and Fairness

It’s been interesting to follow discussions about gender and priesthood during the last several months. One theme lately has caught my attention: the idea that women’s ordination is required for the sake of justice. Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by virtue of excluding women from priesthood offices, treating the women members unfairly? Is the ordination of women to priesthood offices the just thing to do?The simple answer, I think, is no.Do I think the Church and the … [Read more...]

A New Accent on Religious Freedom

Last month the LDS Church reinforced its advocacy of religious freedom by further expanding the resources on that subject available at its Newsroom website. In addition to launching a social media campaign focused on galvanizing support for religious liberty, the Church released several new video segments on the subject in an effort, according to its news release, to “help people of conscience everywhere understand the importance of protecting religious freedom.” One clip is an introductory mes … [Read more...]

There Will Be Blood

On Saturday President Obama took to the podium in the Rose Garden and announced that he had decided that in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, resulting in well over a thousand casualties including hundreds of children, he believed that the United States “should take military action against Syrian regime targets.”  Acknowledging paralysis at the level of the United Nations Security Council and a lack of will even among our closest allies, he assert … [Read more...]

A Plea for Identity on the Internet

I recently watched a preview for The Fifth Estate, the new film about WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.  At one point in the trailer, which seems to me to lean toward an image of a crusader for democracy and free speech, Benedict Cumberbatch earnestly portrays Assange as telling a hushed crowd, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. But if you give him a mask, he WILL tell you the truth.”I don’t buy it.Much as I have studied, discussed, and analyzed the questions surrou … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X