Why did Trump pick Huntsman as Ambassador to Russia? The reasons are many.  On March 9, Vox’s Zack Beauchamp published an article puzzling over Trump’s appointment of Jon Huntsman as U.S. Ambassador to Russia. In it, he pointed out that Huntsman has no issue expertise in Russia or Eastern Europe, has a history of turning on those whom he has previously supported, and holds views on human rights and free trade that run counter to Trump’s. But while Huntsman’s nomination… Read more

Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Robert C. Oaks may have the same grandparents, but their political views are vastly divergent. The address of Mormon apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks at BYU-Hawaii’s February commencement ceremony has recently been making the rounds in progressive Mormon circles. In the speech, the 84-year-old former Utah Supreme Court justice articulated concerns and a worldview that are a direct rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump. While the Donald is on record as saying that “the concept… Read more

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 develop new partnerships and platforms… Read more

Jason Chaffetz was recently tasked by angry constituents to “do [his] job.” He should look to fellow Mormon and former congressman Mo Udall for some ideas.  At a speech before the Brookings Institution on January 11, 2017, the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, Jr., stated that Donald Trump’s plan to avoid conflicts of interest was “meaningless.” This assessment is borne out by the facts – Trump’s business assets have not been placed in a blind… Read more

Growing up in an abusive home taught me a harsh lesson about optimism: too often, optimism is a weapon in the hands of people who are simply unwilling to help. Too often the apathetic bystander uses optimism as an excuse to walk away, guilt free. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Priest and Levite who walked past the wounded man in a ditch told themselves to hope for the best, that surely someone would come along and help him, or… Read more

Today, we have a guest post from my friend Cameron Neilsen. Please note that this was written before November 8. Apocalypticism is back. While the Bible-thumping, seven-seals-interpreting strain has kept a low profile compared to the 1970’s and 80’s, it has joined with secular concerns over environmental threats and economic instability to produce an entire subculture of “preppers,” ZeroHedge readers, and r/collapse Redditors. Pundits are all too apt to dismiss these groups as paranoid, superstitious conspiracy-theorists or alt-right wackos slavering… Read more

If you’ve been following the Peculiar People column over the past few months, you’ve probably noticed two things: the posts have been sparse, and nearly all of them have been anti-Trump. The emphasis on Trump wasn’t a coordinated effort on anyone’s part – personally, I’ve held back from writing more about him so that it wouldn’t seem like we’d plunged into political propaganda. But I’m acknowledging that trend because it probably won’t surprise you that I’m among the many Americans… Read more

It’s no secret that Mormons don’t like Donald Trump. So I was surprised a few weeks ago when, among my conservative Mormon friends, one of the most common public reactions to the third debate was a doubling down on far-right anti-abortion stances. In response to Clinton’s insistence that a ban on late-term abortion needed to include exceptions for the life and health of the mother, friends shared articles claiming that no abortion is ever necessary to save a pregnant woman’s… Read more

On the first Sunday of every month, Mormons all over the world abstain from food and drink for 24 hours. This period of self-denial is designed to help us draw closer to God and seek answers to our prayers. In addition, we donate the money that we would have spent on the skipped meals to the Church’s program for assisting the poor and needy. I’ve fasted for various things over the course of my life. As a high school senior,… Read more

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously suggested moving to New Zealand to avoid Donald Trump. Alas, here I am in Auckland, New Zealand, but there is no refuge here from U.S. politics. Election news is on the BBC. It’s in the headlines. My students at the university get together to watch the debates and quote the best bits in tutorial. These discussions about political bodies and how they are constituted and governed have coincided with the semi-annual General… Read more

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