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Recommended Reading For Martin Luther King Day

It's late in coming, but I don't want to let the Martin Luther King holiday pass without a couple of suggestions for readings that cast light on the intersection of race and America's religious history. Let me make two brief suggestions.  First, I would encourage you to read something by Martin Luther King himself.  Since his assassination in 1968, King has gradually become one of those iconic figures from ...

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Questions from Selma: Where Was the Love?

After watching Selma, I had a weird feeling that the filmmakers thought they were making one kind of movie but unintentionally made a very different one. I gleaned from rave reviews and interviews with the actor David Oyelowo (Dr. King) and director Ava DuVernay that they thought they were making a tribute movie to a hero of the civil rights movement in the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They se ...

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John McCain, Mitt Romney, and America’s Insane Foreign Policy

John McCain recently held a press conference where he speculated on a third Mitt Romney presidential campaign. He said that Romney would be a “viable” candidate, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Just to show how good Romney’s foreign policy would be, he attacked Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Welcome to the presidential campaign. McCain stated about the debates between Romney and Obama during the ...

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Partners In Terror

“Je suis Charlie. Tout est pardonné.” Muhammad in tears adorns the new cover of Charlie Hebdo: “I am Charlie. All is forgiven.” This is bigger than satire. I take a deep breath, uncertain how to write about last week’s insane shooting spree in Paris. My daughter and her husband live there. “Things are normal,” she told me a few days afterward, “but there’s a presence — this thing that has happened. It’s in ...

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Turning Our Backs

Oh, the moral force of a snub. Several hundred cops turn their backs on New York’s mayor as he eulogizes one of their own, killed in the line of duty, and the media have another us-vs.-them story to report. Bill de Blasio’s in trouble, accused of playing politics with the lives of heroes. And, of course, the story goes no deeper than the dramatic accusation. As the sign of a lone protester at the officer’s ...

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Refusing To Wage War

And so we grieve over another national tragedy. Two New York City police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot — assassinated — as they sat in their patrol car this past weekend. Let the needlessness of their deaths rip our hearts open. Let the humanity come first. “Now is a moment for empathy and deep listening.” The words are from a statement issued by #BlackLivesMatter, a grassroots movement ...

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Learning From The “War On Christmas”

If you are in the habit of tuning into Fox News, you will know that, for some years now, Bill O'Reilly has been calling attention each December to what he labels the "War on Christmas."  O'Reilly has in mind the various efforts "to diminish the celebration of Jesus's birthday," from department stores instructing their employees to say "Happy Holidays," to public officials banning nativity scenes, to atheist ...

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Terrorists Win: “The Interview,” North Korea, and the Tragic Irony of Christmas

Unfortunately, we will not be able to watch Kim Jong-un’s assassination on the big screen this Christmas. We will not be able to cheer as the brutal dictator’s helicopter explodes in the air “while Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ plays on the soundtrack.” We will not be able to fulfill this Christmas Day fantasy by watching “The Interview” because the terrorists have won. The FBI now claims that Kim Jong-un’s gover ...

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The Militarized Divide

This shattered nation. “Eric Garner was overweight and in poor health. He was a nuisance to shop owners who complained about him selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. When police came to arrest him, he resisted. And if he could repeatedly say, ‘I can’t breathe,’ it means he could breathe.” And, oh yeah: “You cannot go out and break the law. What we did not hear is that you cannot resist arrest. That’s a ...

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Beyond M.A.D.: Reviving Nuclear War

“Some of the key technocrats and scientists of the Cold War say the nation has become overly confident about its nuclear deterrence. The nuclear enterprise, they say, ‘is rusting its way to disarmament.’” Let’s meditate on this irony — that disarmament, finally, means no more than growing old and weak and pathetic. What brilliant Cold War Revival propaganda, masquerading, in the Los Angeles Times last week, ...

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