Religious Freedom or Oppressive Religion?

On the 11th of May the New York Times ran an article with the following title: “For Ultra-Orthodox in Abuse Cases, Prosecutor Has Different Rules.” It reported that the ultra-Orthodox advocacy group Agudath Israel of America was instructing adherent Jews that they could report allegations of child sexual abuse to district attorneys or the police [Read More...]

The End of Civil Religion in America

Yes, I know. Being civil about religion in America is already long dead. Stridency is the order of the day, with politicians, pastors, imams, rabbis and news commentators trying to outdo each other in inflammatory rhetoric and wounded indignation. America’s public space is like a kindergarten playground at recess. But if we aren’t civil about [Read More...]

The Christian Basis for a Religiously Plural Democracy

In the last blog I asked how those who exercise their political responsibilities out of Christian commitment could share those responsibilities with non-Christians. The answer, if not simple, is itself profoundly Christian. One can start at many different places in the Bible to understand how people of different religions can share in a common human [Read More...]

Dual Citizenship and Divided Loyalties? No!

I the last blog I talked about dual citizenship in a nation and in a transnational religion. Sometimes this is quite concrete. All Jews are by right citizens of Israel. The Chinese government still grants citizenship rights to ethnic Chinese, as does the German government to ethnic Germans for that matter. In other cases dual [Read More...]

Dual Citizenship and Divided Loyalties?

Were you aware that officially the United States does not allow its citizens to be citizens of any other country? When my wife became a US citizen four years ago one of the things she had to do was to renounce her Malaysian citizenship. Why? The US, and many other nations (but not all) resist [Read More...]

Islam in Egypt and Freedom of Conscience

Today’s New York Times (April 29, 2012) reports that Egypt’s most conservative Islamic groups have announced their support for the most liberal candidate in the upcoming presidential election: an ex-Muslim Brotherhood leader; Mr. Aboul Fotouh. He is known for saying that the Quranic injunction that there should be no compulsion in religion means that governments [Read More...]

Minority Report

Jesus said “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is a statement every Christian knows, but surprisingly few seem to consider when they think about the problem of civic identity and the nature of their national home. Particularly among that group that identifies itself as “conservative Christian” there is a [Read More...]

Endowed by Their Creator?

In recent public appearances Mitt Romney has been reminding his audiences that “our founding fathers said that our Creator has endowed us with rights. Not the government, but our creator.” His reference is to the US Declaration of Independence that states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that [Read More...]

Fighting for Religious Identity in a Pluralist World

Although it is in and out of the mainstream media, the problem faced by Muslims in Murfreesboro Tennessee goes on and on. Their effort to build an Islamic center faces continued protests as citizens try to “protect” their city from the deleterious influences of a “foreign” religion. Various anti-Shari’a law bills wending their way through [Read More...]

One God, Many Paths?

After a long hiatus in which I traveled to Europe, the Middle East, and Nepal I wanted to inaugurate this new blog format with a blog from last year. In every country I visited I found that the classical forms of inter-religious dialogue, dialogue centered around the search to understand and respect the religious beliefs [Read More...]