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Posted inReligion

Surprise! Empty pews are nonpartisan

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s been common knowledge since the coronavirus pandemic arrived in America several years ago that empty pews have sharply increased, as churches, often controversially, closed their doors to protect congregants from spread of the deadly disease among their flocks. But in reading some year-old statistics on the pandemic’s effects on religious ritual, I was surprised […]

Posted inHealthcare

A colonoscopy probably saved my life—but not from colorectal cancer

Reading Time: 5 minutes If reports about a new European study that questions the effectiveness of colonoscopies are causing you to question whether you should get one, don’t let them. I make this recommendation due to my own life-changing personal experience with that undignified cancer-detecting procedure more than a year ago. If the routine, every-5-years colonoscopy I underwent in […]

Posted inCulture

LGBTQ happiness booming in … Bhutan?

Reading Time: 4 minutes The tiny, landlocked Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan would hardly seem a likely haven for an LGBTQ revolution. After all, this mountainous Asian country of fewer than a million inhabitants is far more famous for its arch-conservative Buddhist traditionalism and quaint “Gross National Happiness” (GNH) index than for groundbreaking relaxations of longstanding socio-sexual mores. The GNH is […]

Posted inReligious News

Why Southern Baptists weren’t part of the Native Americans abuse report

Reading Time: 12 minutes Recently, the United States government finished the first part of its investigation into federally-funded boarding schools that abused Native Americans. As you might expect, it’s a dark read. Primarily, it reveals that for 150 years, the American government used these schools to systematically destroy Native Americans’ culture⁠. Worse, the government sought to destroy that culture […]

Posted inLaw

Supreme Court needs a new motto: First, do no harm

Reading Time: 10 minutes American conservativism was on alarming display in two U.S. Supreme Court rulings announced last week on abortion and guns. With these new decisions the strongly conservative Court majority, in effect, insisted that the text of the U.S. Constitution and the reactionary justices’ divining of the Founding Fathers’ original constitutional intent is far more important than […]

Posted inPolitics

Disinviting bigoted campus speakers blocks bigotry, not free speech

Reading Time: 6 minutes When American university and college students try to deny “free speech” platforms to arch-conservative opinion leaders they consider dangerous purveyors of bigotry, or just shout them down, right-wing complaints of suppression are swift and virulent. The constant trope is that American higher education institutions are controlled by “woke,” “liberal” academics and students who want to […]

Posted inReproductive rights

The Catholic Justices driving the Supreme Court’s Roe reversal

Reading Time: 5 minutes I grew up Catholic, so I know something about the ancient faith’s hammerlock absolutism, especially regarding anything even remotely sexual. That’s why I immediately thought of sexuality when I learned along with everyone else this week about the “leaked draft opinion” of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. in a case that threatens […]

Posted inReligion

Will American religion one day mirror Norwegian godlessness? We should be so lucky

Reading Time: 4 minutes Norwegian godlessness today just might resemble American religion tomorrow. I was thinking this as I read an essay in TheHumanist.com decrying America’s nouveau-traditional National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 3 featuring President Joe Biden’s keynote call for unity. The United States, with its quasi-sacred religious freedom and church-state-separation ethos, does not have an officially designated national […]

Posted inPolitics, Religion

Saudi state executes apostates. Is U.S. immune to such religious brutality?

Reading Time: 6 minutes I can confirm firsthand from past decades I spent living and working in Saudi Arabia that the desert kingdom’s citizens are—as most Americans are—generally warm, generous, and kindly folks. Extraordinarily so, in fact. But the Saudi government and presumably most citizens also vigorously support the death penalty. Saudis are the Semitic Muslim, political equivalent of […]

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