Is it Hate Speech?

I recently stated in an interview that pastor Robert Jeffress’ statements “Islam is a false religion” and “Islam is inspired by Satan” was hate speech. In subsequent TV interviews I defended this statement by pointing out that if you said things that caused people to feel you hated them then that was hate speech. Some [Read More...]

The Darkness in the Heart of Dallas

If Dallas is going to be the city it wants to be then Christian pastors who now rail against Islam out of ignorance and fear need to engage Muslims in dialogue and learn about the religion from its followers. My city, Dallas, wants to be something. It wants to be an international hub of commerce. [Read More...]

Freedom from Religion: Maybe a Good Idea.

A young man lies in a hospital bed after a sports accident. He is conscious, in some outright pain because of the reconstruction of his jaw, and very uncomfortable because there is a tube down his throat. An co-worker walks in, greets him and begins to talk. She’s thrilled that he’s alive, and tells him [Read More...]

Job’s Visitors

The blood hadn’t dried and the bodies were still warm when Job’s visitors arrived. A few immediately took the classic lines. Condolences and all that, but really Job its your fault. You didn’t take the threat seriously, manage security for your children, close the borders to the foreign pestilence, and of course cleanse your own [Read More...]

A Level Playing Field in Missouri?

Offensive racial, ethnic, and religious slurs are means of asserting power and privilege, and thus creating a social space in which there are distinctive power differentials. The person being offensive is essentially asserting his or her power over others, whether it is Donald Trump or some other faceless drive-by bigot. In the same way taking [Read More...]

Do Unto Others . . . ? Not so much.

Imagine for a minute that you live in a country where Christians are a small minority and Muslims are a majority. Would you want to be forced to resolve business disputes according to Shari’a law even though you don’t believe in it, and clearly don’t have any friends in a Shari’a court? Many Christians face [Read More...]

Activists versus Dialogue at the Parliament.

“Would the fundamentalists have shown up for a pluralistic conference that respects multiple viewpoints anyway” This was a recent posting I saw regarding the Parliament of the World’s Religions failure to engage Christian conservatives as well as many other groups. It makes a big assumption: that conservative religious groups aren’t interested in dialogue, which really [Read More...]

American Idolatry

“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” It is an [Read More...]

True Religion at the Parliament of World Religions – Not What you Think

Now that I’ve seen people shouted down, I’m certainly not speaking up.  “There is one true religion. . . . “ It is a phrase I heard a hundred times if I’ve heard it once at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Now if that phrase were followed by “It is Islam” or “It is [Read More...]

How to Stop ISIS Recruiting

At the Council for Foreign Relations lunch there was a vigorous and useful discussion about the need to amplify the voices of peaceful and socially conscious Islam so as to drown out the shouts of the extremists. Since I promised to report: 1. Wood spoke the classic language of hard power and soft power. While [Read More...]