Diwali and the Election: Truth, Light, and Meaning in the Voting Booth

 By Anantanand Rambachan.Diwali is the Hindu festival of light, and we pray each year to be led from untruth to truth (asato mā sad gamaya), from darkness to light (tamaso mā jyotir gamaya), and from the transient to that which has ultimate value (mṛtyor mā amṛtaṃ gamaya). The truth that we pray for on Diwali is the truth of goodness and righteousness. It is truth that challenges us to search into our minds, hearts and traditions for the ethical values that guide our daily choice … [Read more...]

Israel Envy and Trump’s Wall

By Shalom Goldman. In the current presidential campaign, Republicans and Democrats seem to be competing with each other to proclaim their "pro-Israel" stances. In a March address to AIPAC Hillary Clinton said, "I feel so strongly that America can't ever be neutral when it comes to Israel's security or survival." Clinton was not introducing a new idea into the presidential campaign; “pro-Israel” statements are a necessary part of many, if not most, political campaigns in the U.S. … [Read more...]

Who’s Responsible for Religious Literacy Education?

By Skyler Oberst and Benjamin Marcus.  Skyler Oberst and Benjamin Marcus recently completed the 2015-2016 Germanacos Fellowship. Skyler created a “Meet the Neighbor” video series in Spokane, WA to teach members of his community how to visit local houses of worship and create a safe space to have a meaningful interfaith encounter. Ben collaborated with public school teachers in the suburbs of Chicago, IL to create lesson plans about religion for teachers in history, soc … [Read more...]

Unprecedented Diversity: Influential Faith Leaders from 7 Religions Join Together in the Name of Justice

By Susan Barnett, FaithSource/Auburn Seminary. Unprecedented UnityEighteen diverse leaders for the 21st century bring organizing faith (not organizational faith) to the public square, to take on today's most pressing issues. From best-selling authors to MLK’s pulpit and the streets of Moral Monday to the Nuns on the Bus, they are making history by living, teaching and preaching respect over division to millions of Americans.They carve new paths as the first openly gay bis … [Read more...]

Mike Pence on the “American Heartland” and the Holy Land

By Shalom Goldman, Middlebury College. The Republican Party platform, posted last week, gives the American-Israeli relationship considerable space. Pundits in the U.S. and Israel have duly noted the absence in the platform of any reference to a "two-state solution"—a phrase that appeared in the 2012 Republican platform but has now become identified with the Democratic Party and the State Department tenures of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Republicans are by inference rejecting … [Read more...]

Breaking Our Addiction to Conflict Through Creativity

By Christopher Pieper, Ph.D. and Nathaniel Dietrick, Baylor University Understanding conflict as an attempt to fill an existential vacuum allows us see that these various battles fundamentally are not about what they seem to be about. They are engaged in not to defeat the enemy or resolve the conflict. Indeed, most of these battles are chosen precisely because the enemy can never be defeated. Battle itself is the objective. Therefore, to a large degree, any enemy will suffice. … [Read more...]

Setting the Global Table

By Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter.  Food and faith go way back:The pretzel is supposed to remind one of a child kneeling in prayer, invented by French monks around 610 A.D. The extreme length of the average rice noodle represents longevity, particularly important to those of the Taoist tradition. Ancient kitchens had to quickly get rid of their ingredients the day before Lent, which led to the experiment that became the pancake. Matzo is unleavened bread, meant to … [Read more...]

Do People Still Worship Baal?

By Nero Calatrava.Ever since the authors of the Bible portrayed Baal as a wicked god, to whom worshippers would sacrifice their first-born sons, Baal has had an image problem.It was not always thus. For hundreds of years before the Bible demonized him, Baal was worshipped by the Canaanites as a fertility god, the bringer of rain, the prince of peace, the defender of the people.Around 1200 BCE, terrifying bands of warriors came from over the Mediterranean and laid waste to the … [Read more...]

Brexit: What Happened? And What’s Next?

By David Binder.  A day is a long time in politics.At 10pm Thursday, 23 June, polling stations closed in regard to a UK-wide referendum of the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU).In the words of The Clash: Would we stay or would we go?The polls, betting markets, conventional wisdom, and even Nigel Farage (arguably the leading figure of the ‘Leave’ campaign) all indicated that we would vote to remain in the EU. How wrong they all were! By Friday morning, by a pe … [Read more...]

(Culture) War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

By Christopher Pieper and Nathaniel Dietrick, Baylor University. In 2002, a year after America became embroiled in the War on Terror, journalist Chris Hedges published his insightful book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. There he relives his experiences as a reporter in many battle zones and beseeches American readers to consider the reasons for which they are consenting to war. But somewhere along the way, Hedges abandons the greater argument that the title implies. He … [Read more...]