Kneeling in Silence: Colin Kaepernick and the Religious Rejoinder to Trump

From the moment that Colin Kaepernick sat down for the national anthem before the first preseason game in August 2016 (he began kneeling for the regular season in September), much of white America made it about patriotism. Kaepernick’s seeming act of irreverence for the flag and the blood, sweat, and tears spilled to uphold its honor could mean only one thing—he’s a radical who doesn’t get it. After all, he’s earned millions of dollars in America. If that can’t generate… Read more

Binding Up This Nation’s Wounds

Earlier this year, a reporter asked the great General James Mattis what threats worried him most. Mattis, whose job as U.S. Secretary of Defense is to protect us from a nuclear North Korea, radical Islamic terrorism, and an ever-encroaching Russia, had a surprising response. “The lack of political unity in America. The lack of a fundamental friendliness,” he said. He went on to add, “[i]f you lose any sense of being part of something bigger, then why should you care… Read more

The Rise of Virtue Signaling: The New Put-down Hijacking Public Discourse

By viewing the proliferation of expression of righteous indignation as gratuitous or showy, we risk downplaying the unceasing cascade of issues worthy of our indignation. Read more

White Privilege: A Latter-day Saint’s Perspective

“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required.” (Luke 12:48) You know in testimony meeting when a person says they didn’t want to stand up and speak but felt that they needed to? That’s me right now. I don’t want to court controversy. I’m not a “kick the hornet’s nest” type of person. I don’t want the inevitable flood of angry comments on social media because I’m even mentioning the concept of white privilege. I’d rather… Read more

The Invisible Classroom: Seeing Religion’s Importance to 21st Century Humanities Pedagogy

How do we implement the study of religion back into the humanities’ classroom? What steps can educators take right now toward a more inclusive classroom environment? Read more

Moving Zionism Forward: A Conversation with the President of the American Zionist Movement

In a New York City bookstore in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, far-left, self-described “radicals” gather to discuss “Freedom-Fighting Under State Repression.” Contempt for everything from Israel and America to capitalism and law enforcement dominate the conversation. But the most caustic rhetoric is reserved for redefining Zionism. The movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland is a racist and genocidal enterprise according to these the speakers who fancy themselves part of a unifying force that brings “social and economic justice” groups together…. Read more

It’s Time to Stand Up and Be the Church in the Refugee Crisis

It really boils down to this: It’s the government’s job to screen refugees, and the Church’s job to love them. That’s good to remember as we navigate this extremely complex issue in the months and years ahead. Read more

A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America’s Heartland

On a cold and windy night in November 2014, a forty-foot statue of the Vietnamese bodhisattva Quan Am began radiating her compassion to the residents of Des Moines, Iowa. She is, to my knowledge, the largest religious statue in our capital city and the second-largest one in our state. I found her and everything she symbolizes so remarkable that I wrote an op-ed for the Des Moines Register on the occasion of her dedication nearly three years ago. This is… Read more

The Bible and Science Fiction: A Match Made in Heaven?

To be sure, religions, spirituality, and sacred texts play a significant role in science fiction: the Jedi from Star Wars, the Lords of Kobol from Battlestar Galactica, Shepherd Book from Firefly, and references to the Old Testament in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are only a few of many examples. (Seriously, if you have a few sci fi geeks together and started collecting examples, you’d still be at it tomorrow morning.) Of course, it is interesting to ask: why and how do creators of blockbuster… Read more

Persecutor, Not Protector: Assad Is Not Christians’ Savior

A year after forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began shooting pro-democracy demonstrators, sparking the war that continues today, I met with an alliance of Syrian Christians who had come to ask Washington for help in their struggle. They wanted nothing more than freedom from the regime and were chillingly prescient in this 2012 conversation about the horrors to come, including the eventual outbreak of terrorist groups, if the world stood by and did nothing to stop Assad. Among these… Read more

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