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Bruce Jenner and God’s Response to Transgendered People

Caryn Riswold wrote a moving article about Bruce Jenner’s interview last night with Dianne Sawyer. In the interview, Bruce states, “For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman. People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything I do in life – it is part of me. That female side of me. That’s who I am.” Caryn article is titled “How Should People of Faith Resp ...

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On This Day In History: How Mourning Became Idolatry

Editor's Note: This column was written on April 14, 2015. Today marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theater in Washington, D. C. Since that time more than 16,000 books have been written about Lincoln—one for every three and a half days since his death—and so I’m not going to try to dash out anything new about Lincoln’s role in the pres ...

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Britt McHenry and the Today Show: How a Scapegoat Can Be Guilty

When we think of scapegoats, we usually think of someone who is innocent but blamed for transgressions. But when it comes to scapegoating, guilt and innocence actually don’t matter. Whether someone is guilty or not, anyone can function as a scapegoat. The Today Show’s reporting on ESPN’s Britt McHenry provides an excellent example of how a scapegoat can be guilty. The Story Britt was eating dinner at a rest ...

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License Plates And The Lost Cause: Concluding Thoughts

We’ll get back to the American Revolution in a few days, but before we head in that direction I’d like to share some concluding thoughts about the Texas license plate case recently argued before the Supreme Court. In a previous post I suggested that, whatever the constitutional merits of their case, the history promulgated by the Sons of Confederate Veterans is simply awful. The SVC’s position is that the C ...

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License Plates And The Lost Cause

As many of you will be aware, last week the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in a case pitting the state of Texas against the southern “heritage” organization Sons of Confederate Veterans. The case centers on the state’s extensive vanity plate program and whether its Board of Motor Vehicles has the right to reject messages on those plates that it deems offensive. The issue arose in 2011 when the ...

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Scandal in Indiana: Will the Real Victim Please Stand Up?

Whose side were you on in the scandal that erupted over Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act? When Gov. Pence signed the bill he insisted that all it did was prohibit state or local governments from “substantially burdening a person's ability to exercise their religion”. Americans are all over freedom of religion, right, so what could be the problem? Well, claims and counter-claims ...

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Slavery And Freedom: Teaching the American Revolution, Pt. 5

No context, no meaning. Know context, know meaning. In my last post, I explained that if we want to understand the causes and meaning of the Revolution to American colonists, we need to place the events that get into the textbooks—the Boston Massacre, the Tea Party, the shots fired on Lexington Green—into the larger fabric of their lives. This will necessarily involve figuring out what was going on in their ...

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Ted Cruz and God’s Political Subversion

Ted Cruz became the first major candidate to declare a presidential run for 2016. His formal announcement came this morning at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world. Cruz’s announcement at Liberty University was an important political strategy. Cruz is the poster child of the Tea Party movement. He wants to spread his influence by appealing to evangelicals. There is no better pla ...

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Know Context, Know Meaning: Teaching The American Revolution, Pt.4

Let’s return to the American Revolution. In a previous post on my American Revolution course at Wheaton College, I explained that I never begin a course by immediately diving into the subject matter. I like to think out loud with my students about what we are going to be doing, and why it might be important to us. We start with a series of foundational questions that it’s good to revisit regularly: What is ...

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Putin May Not Be Crazy!

Since the toppling of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych by street protests just over a year ago, NATO countries and Russian President Vladimir Putin have not been able to agree on a basic point of fact: has Russia invaded Ukraine? NATO says yes, Putin says no. Putin’s denial of military involvement in the face of undeniable violence in the very regions that are strategically important to Russia seems ir ...

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