Supreme Court Ruling on Public Prayer Re-enforces Christian Supremacy

While a strict separation of synagogue and state, mosque and state, Hindu and Buddhist temple and state, and separation of atheists and state and virtually all the other approximately 5000 religions and state has been enacted, on the other hand, church – predominantly Protestant denominations, but also Catholic – and state, have connected virtually seamlessly to the affairs and policies of what we call the United States of America, from the first invasion of Europeans in the 15th century on the Christian Julian to the Christian Gregorian Calendars up to 2014 Anno Domini (short for Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi – “In the year of our Lord Jesus Christ”).

From Bullying to Genocides: Reflections on Holocaust Remembrance Day

One piece of my family puzzle met a tragic end, another partial segment survived. In both instances, the bystanders determined the balance of power: in Krosno, many, though not all, conspired with the oppressors, while in Antwerp, many dug deeply within themselves transitioning from bystanders into courageous, compassionate, and empathetic upstanders in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

A Not So Modest Proposal: Africa and Homophobia

I urge the pastors and bishops of my own Methodist denomination in Africa and elsewhere (as well as all right-thinking people) to sign a covenant condemning, at minimum, the extra-judicial murder of persons on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. Without this, we are indeed hopelessly divided, not only on what it means to be a religious person, but also on what it means to be human. We are not animals.

Theaster's Way

Theaster Gates has been dubbed “the real-estate artist,” so when I went to the Studio Museum of Harlem on January 16th for the activation of See, Sit, Sup, Sip, Sing: Holding Court (2012) — tables, chairs and desks salvaged from a now-closed public school on Chicago’s South Side, I believed the hype but still wasn’t sure what to expect.

Making Radical Decency a Daily Practice

If Radical Decency challenges us to be decent at all times and without exception does this mean that those of us who are not saints are doomed to fail? This blog tackles this issue; framing Radical Decency as an aspirational practice; arguing that we realize its promise – not when we’re perfect – but when we practice it with focus, persistence, imagination, and guts.

Holistic Healing — Embracing the Practical and the Radical

“Holistic healing” typically refers mind, body, and spirit, an approach that focuses on mastering what is going on within the four walls of our body. Operating in a world in which compete and win, dominate and control are so dominant, the author offers a broader definition that includes “the practical” – effectively negotiating your place in the world, as it is – and “the radical” – being an active agent in molding the environments within which you exist.

The Problem with Partition: Human Rights Provide an Alternative for Israelis and Palestinians

A human rights based approach could assist both Israel and the Palestinians. This is because human rights contain reciprocal responsibilities against irredentism, as well as requires a commitment to state unity. Also, human rights do not exclude a partition of Israel. In fact, they can help to facilitate this but in a manner that comports with other important rights, such as the rule of non-discrimination. Human rights merely require that human groups treat each other with what legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin termed “equal concern and respect.”

Humanistic Jews Plant a Tree

Humanistic Judaism is a comprehensive response to the needs of contemporary Jews to create personal and communal experiences that celebrate identity, values, and connection. In my experience as the lay ceremonial leader of a congregation of Humanistic Jews, the pursuit of these experiences can lead to great rewards in unexpected places, places never visited by the other branches of the modern Jewish tree.

Darwin and Religion for the Nonreligious

As an agnostic appreciator of spirituality and amateur student of evolution, I like this article by the UK’s Chief Rabbi on Darwinian reasons why religion persists. Jonathan Sacks asks why it is that “still in Britain three in four people, and in America four in five, declare allegiance to a religious faith.”

Nonviolence and Killing

In the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s killing a very active discussion emerged on the email forum used by the community of trainers certified with the Center for Nonviolent Communication. One thread of this conversation has been about responses to the particular event, and especially how to relate to the people celebrating Bin Laden’s death. This exploration was the primary inspiration for my previous entry (to which I still intend to come back). Another thread has focused on a more general question: can killing in any way be compatible with nonviolence? This is by far not a new dilemma in human affairs.