Dialogue or Death

Or at least irrelevance. I note that in major cities across the United States, certainly mine, religious leaders are not longer a first call from either the local press or local politicians. Unless of course they make themselves news in ways that embarrass their fellow Christians. Which isn’t news since Hauerwas and Willimon wrote Resident [Read More…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

Buddhist and Muslim Dialogue for the Earth

The word sacred has two related dimensions. One dimension of something sacred is that it connected to God, or whatever is the object of religious devotion, reflection, and faith. The second related dimension is that something sacred is worthy of veneration. And this second dimension is where we get into trouble when we talk about [Read More…]

ISIS and Religious Terror: To Report is not to Support

“By publicizing the views of ISIS as Islamic you are helping their cause.” That was more or less the accusation being made at the Council of Foreign Relations lunch at the Parliament of the World Religions. The target of the accusation was Graeme Wood, the journalist whose excellent article in the Atlantic on the Islamic [Read More…]

Mecca to Roseburg, Two Sides of the Same Hopeless Fatalism

Congress needs to get off its knees and back to work. Another shooter, another group of young people turned to corpses, and another group of American politicians feeling terrible sorry and praying for the families of the deceased. And as it turns out, more proof that American Christian congressmen are really no different from Saudi Muslim [Read More…]

On Obama’s Win and the Iran Nuclear Deal: The Wrong Time to Celebrate

Yesterday I learned from the Washington Post and New York Times that President Obama got the votes necessary for the multi-nation treaty with Iran over its nuclear program to stand. It was heralded as a victory for Obama’s foreign policy and I personally was glad to see it happen. But I’m not celebrating. First because [Read More…]


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