Reading Time: 7 minutes I’ll never forget my confusion, as a Canadian in Colombia in 2018, when I first visited Museo Casa de la Memoria. In Medellín’s “memory house”, a video explained that Colombia had more history with peace than any other country. I’d been raised to believe in Canada’s strong commitment to “peace, order, and good government.” Surely […]
War and Peace
A secular view of human conflict.
Is the Russia-Ukraine conflict quite so clear-cut?
Reading Time: 19 minutes A defining characteristic of the human mind is the drive to oversimplify complex problems. We don’t do nuance and complexity well. Our media map is saturated with easily digestible narratives of good and evil, like the global “War on Terror.” Or Ukraine right now. While I don’t want to victim-blame by proxy, and while Putin […]
Archbishop says Putin only wants to ‘reconstruct Christian civilization’
Reading Time: 3 minutes Carlo Maria Viganò—once the papal ambassador to the U.S. among other countries—has claimed that the invasion of Ukraine is an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to reconstruct “Christian civilization” in Europe. According to Religion News Service, Viganò, in a lengthy letter running to almost 10,000 words, excoriated countries that are “demonizing” Putin and imposing […]
How a pocket of sunflower seeds fed the Ukrainian resistance
Reading Time: 6 minutes In what may be one of the strangest anomalies of the Ukraine invasion, a viral video may have moved an entire industry. Put sunflower seeds in your pockets… The video of a Ukrainian woman telling a heavily-armed Russian soldier, “Take these seeds and put them in your pockets so at least sunflowers will grow when […]
There’s no nice and neat moral solution to the Ukraine conflict
Reading Time: 3 minutes Although people will be approaching the present war from different angles, looking to load their evaluations with differing amounts of blame for the various players—Putin, NATO, the EU, Ukraine, the West, the IMF etc.—we all desire a nice and neat moral solution. It doesn’t matter who you are and what side you are on, surely […]
Head of Russia’s Orthodox Church: This war is against sin, gay pride parades
Reading Time: 4 minutes What “sins” can be so great that they justify an airstrike on a children’s hospital and maternity ward in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, leaving adults and children buried beneath rubble, killing three and wounding 17? “Gay parades.” This atrocious act, one of many that drew international condemnation and strengthened crippling sanctions against Russia, was […]
Ukraine invasion part of a crusade for ‘Christian internationalism’
Reading Time: 4 minutes To get a glimmer of understanding of the religious dimensions of the invasion of Ukraine one has to cast one’s mind back to the Pussy Riot affair of 2012. In that year, the Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot staged a performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour to protest the Orthodox Church […]
The conflict in Ukraine accentuates a warped concept of freedom in the US
Reading Time: 4 minutes Using the exact same terminology to describe a piece of cloth on your face and an invasion of your homeland by a foreign power is enraging.
Condemning aggressive war: The secular cosmopolitan consensus
Reading Time: 3 minutes The broad international condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine provides an example of the resilience of moral principles and a source of hope. This assault prompted the world to reassert the importance of a secular cosmopolitan vision of a peaceful, law-governed world. As I have explained in a book on the topic, secular cosmopolitan values affirm […]
Why are we so timid in defending Ukraine? It’s MAD.
Reading Time: 5 minutes MAD is the excellent reason why American President Joe Biden—along with the rest of the West—is so seemingly over-cautious in trying to defend Ukraine against the brutal Russian invasion now in progress. MAD is the canny acronym for Mutually Assured Destruction, which, in brief, means first to strike, last to die. In other words, few […]