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...]

Fear, Loathing and the Parliament of the World’s Religions

One role of religion in human society is to continually affirm that the fears and anxieties about those outside a society are uniquely real, to use the expression of Clifford Geertz. I sit at the Parliament of the World’s Religions; a gathering of those dedicated in the name of religion to overcoming hatred among peoples. [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...]

Its God’s Will. The Hajj Tragedy and Dialogue

If your religion teaches you that under some circumstances you have no moral responsibility for the loss of life of people who entrust themselves to your care, those who do business with you need to know “buyer beware.” “It was God’s will.” Those were the words pronounced by the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia. It [Read More...]

Progressive Christians, Conservative Christians, and when Tolerance is Irrelevant

Once again I found posted on Facebook the accusation that progressive Christians who “preach tolerance” were actually intolerant. Specifically they were intolerant of the those who don’t believe in same-sex marriage or oppose abortion rights. And more specifically they are intolerant of Kim Davis’ decision to not issue marriage licenses to gay couples out of [Read More...]

Ahmed’s Clock, It Will Happen Again

We need to get out of the weeds of blame in the Ahmed Mohamed case, and over his sudden celebrity as well. He is a story, but not the story we need to understand. But we’ll start with him. In the week of September 11th the case of Ahmed Mohamed of Irving rocketed, in 48 [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...]

Kim Davis and Religious Freedom: A Supernova of Religious Scruples

A county clerk in Kentucky says her religious freedom is threatened by signing government documents. A flight attendant for ExpressAir in Detroit says her religious freedom is violated by being asked to serve alcoholic drinks. We have two people refusing to do one of the jobs they are paid to do because it violates their freedom of [Read More...]

Rodeo Season in America

Although I come from a long time West Texas family I confess that we were not of the horses and cattle sort of Texans. More doctors, educators, and journalists to be honest. But I still love my boots and watching a good rodeo – because the culture of cattle and horses belongs to the deepest [Read More...]

The Religion of Business

As Christian America comes unglued, there are new possibilities for inter-religious dialogue with an unlikely religion. In his book One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America Kevin Kruse tells a compelling story of how the National Association of Manufacturers and business allies helped create a powerful synthesis of American and Christian identity, [Read More...]

Wouldn’t I, Wooden Eye, Hairlip Hairlip

There is an old and rather ugly joke about two people on a cruise. They who both want and need each others love. But there is a misunderstanding. She says, “wouldn’t I, wouldn’t I” in response to his invitation to dance. But obsessed with self consciousness about his wooden eye he offers an ugly retort [Read More...]