“Tzedek, tzedek tirdof” – “Justice, justice you will pursue.” This phrase, which I learnt from my Jewish clergy colleagues while protesting together in Ferguson, lies at the heart of faith for many. Almost all religious traditions, somewhere in their scriptures or practices, make a call to justice. From the Muslim call from god “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice”, to the Mormon injunction “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly?”, the pursuit of… Read more

Whenever I write about oppression, I can predict one typical response: “What is this mystical “oppression” you speak of? Can you point to it? Are you talking about discriminatory laws? But there are no laws prohibiting this thing – so how can people be oppressed in that arena?” The question, which is so common, seems to assume that unless a prejudice is enshrined in law or has other easily visible institutional manifestations, it cannot have any effects – and that to… Read more

Political commentator Dave Rubin has a new video out: Why I Left the Left. Ostensibly, its a defense of “classical liberal” values like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and non-discrimination. In reality its a hit piece targeting what Rubin calls “progressives”: people who think trigger warnings are a good idea, who think colleges can expect visiting speakers not to bully their students and staff, and who believe that businesses offering their services to the public should do so without discriminating… Read more

A friend recently posted a question on Facebook which sparked much discussion: are atheists oppressed in the USA? I was not surprised by the troll responses from Christians ranting about how they are the most oppressed group in the States, but I was a little surprised that a number of atheists themselves seemed quite invested in the idea that atheists do not experience oppression in America. The thread suggested a need for the question to be tackled in a systematic… Read more

How do you survive the inevitable tensions of a post-election Thanksgiving, particularly after the most divisive and disturbing election in recent years? How do you navigate the tension between anger at your family and loved ones for their political decisions, and the desire to maintain good relationships with people who are important to you (or, at least, who are important to other people who are themselves important to you)? This post is meant to help help you work that out by offering philosophical… Read more

This week footage surfaced of white supremacist Richard Spencer addressing a neo-Nazi gathering. In the video Spencer greets Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election with cries of “Hail Trump!”, as the audience responds with cheers and Nazi salutes. Trump, in an interview with the New York Times, “disavowed” the group, saying “I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group…It’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into… Read more

WARNING: This post includes vile racist, homophobic, transphobic, and sexist language. So, it happened. Donald Trump is President Elect of the United States of America. I feel what all my friends are feeling: shock, disbelief, anger, anxiety, and despair. There’s a knot in my stomach and the feeling that something even worse is coming: a sword above my head, ready to drop. I feel afraid. Worse, I feel cheated out of the life I expected to live. I’ve known for… Read more

Tomorrow you go to the polls, America, and I’m asking you to vote for me. Not as a candidate, you understand – I’m a UK citizen and I can’t run in this election, and I don’t think I’d do very well if I did. As a Brit I’d want you to immediately cede sovereignty back to the British Crown and to carpet the country with elegant tea shops. No, I’m asking you to vote on my behalf. I’m one of the… Read more

This post is the third of a three part cycle on the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses Festival 2016. Part One is here. Part Two is here. It’s two days after GALA. The Festival is over, but my journey is not. Four years ago, after my first visit to the GALA Festival, I accompanied the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) on a trip to Laramie, WY, where they performed for the Matthew Shephard Foundation. It was a profound experience, and I’ve hung… Read more

This post is the second of a three part cycle on the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses Festival 2016. Part One is here. Part Three is here. It’s the end of the second full day of the GALA Festival, and I’m angry. GALA – the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses – was formed in 1983 in order to serve the rapidly-growing movement of gay and lesbian choruses which was forming at the time. There were 39 choruses at the start (approaching… Read more

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