Fahrenheit 2016

Montag walked from the subway with the money in his pocket . . . and as he walked he was listening to the Seashell Radio in one ear . . . “We have mobilized a million men. Quick victory is ours if the war comes . . .” “Ten million men mobilized,” Faber’s voice whispered in his other ear. “But say one million. It’s happier.” I thought about this passage from the novel Fahrenheit 451 today as I contemplated the… Read more

Trump Cabinet Meeting: Rameumpton Edition

Donald Trump cynically uses prayer just like the ancient Zoramites – as a political tool to promote his own power and marginalize others. If you look at Donald Trump’s Twitter account right now (I know, “The horror! The horror!”), you’ll see that his cover photo shows him and his entire Cabinet bowing their heads in prayer. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about that – prayer by government figures or their designees in official meetings has long been practiced in… Read more

“They Were [Not] Still His Brethren in the Lord”

How would Alma have felt if, when he reunited with the sons of Mosiah, they were no longer part of the Church? Over the past few months, I’ve met with several longtime friends who have left the Church. As we shared meals and chatted, I couldn’t help but think about Alma 17. In that chapter, Alma the Younger runs into his old pals, the sons of Mosiah. Below is a description of their encounter: “And now it came to pass… Read more

Sayyid Qutb in America: An Unwitting Fusion of Sartre and Camus

An Islamist philosopher was an unsparing critic of the U.S. Some of his critiques have an uncanny resemblance to those of French philosophers. Recently, I’ve been reading from The Stone Reader, a collection drawn from The New York Times’ popular philosophy column. One essay in particular has stood out to me – Andy Martin’s “Sartre and Camus in New York.” In that piece, Martin lays out the influence that visits to America, and particularly New York City, had on the… Read more

Is Christianity a Violent Faith?

If people want to call Islam a “violent faith,” then they need to apply the same label to Christianity and other religions. Although now some of its worst actors have been exiled, the Trump White House is still full of people who believe that Islam is a fundamentally violent and backward faith. Trump himself said that “Islam hates us,” and one of his senior aides, Stephen Miller, authored the Muslim Travel Ban and once helped sponsor “Islamofascism Awareness Weeks” on… Read more

When Americans Forced Muslims to “Immigrate” to the U.S.

The Trump Administration has sought to bar Muslim immigrants from our shores. Hundreds of years ago, Americans forced countless Muslims to “immigrate” here. Over the past few days, I’ve been reading Peter Manseau’s 2014 book One Nation, Under Gods:  A New American History. In it, he deflates the myth that America is a “Christian nation” and outlines the influence that so-called “marginal religions” have had on the country since its founding. One of the most interesting portions of the book,… Read more

A Standard for Removing Offensive Statues: A Resort to Contract Law

Adapting contract law’s predominant purpose test can ensure that Confederate monuments are dismantled while other historical tributes remain in place. Ever since a radical white terrorist killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, calls have proliferated for the removal of symbols of and tributes to the Confederacy. Baltimore’s city government recently removed many of its Confederate statues, municipalities in Northern Virginia are considering renaming roadways bearing Southern leaders’ names, and some localities have obscured their monuments in funereal black tarps. Like many… Read more

Want to Defeat the Alt-Right? Embrace Cultural Appropriation

To defeat the twisted ideology of the alt-right, we have to become more comfortable with cultural mixing and borrowing. Today I listened to the most recent The Ezra Klein Show podcast, in which Klein interviews Angela Nagle, the author of a new book titled Kill All Normies, which chronicles the rise of the alt-right. During their conversation, Klein and Nagle discuss what draws people to the alt-right, and Nagle places much of the blame on culture. She argues that with… Read more

“Men Will Be Punished for Their Own Sins”

This afternoon, multiple news sources reported that the Trump Administration is preparing to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a Department of Homeland Security initiative that allows people brought to the United States illegally as children to receive work permits and postpone action on their immigration cases. The program has been hugely successful, allowing over 800,000 young adults to enter the workforce, start businesses, attend college, and purchase homes and vehicles. All of these positive developments could… Read more

Cliven Bundy and Mosiah 9: “Overzealous to Inherit the Land of Our Fathers”

During my workout this morning, I watched a Frontline documentary about the Bundy family’s standoffs in Bunkerville, Nevada, and the Malheur Reserve in Oregon. While the program didn’t help me get more reps in, it did get my mind sweating. For one, I wondered if the Bundy family, whose members often describe themselves as devout members of the LDS Church, had taken the time to read Mosiah 9 in The Book of Mormon recently. If they had, I wondered if… Read more

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