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Neighbors from Hell

The intense summer heat pushed toward 100 degrees everyday, and we liked to keep the sliding door to our balcony open. It didn’t take long for us to realize that our neighbor liked to smoke more than cigarettes. A sickly sweet smoke wafted into our apartment many days.


And That’s the Way It Can Be: Reflections on The Christmas Truce

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of one of my favorite historical and Christmas stories, The Christmas Truce of 1914. I don’t want to spend time on the history or many of the facts about the Truce, you can Google those, this website “Christmas Truce 1914: Operation Plum Puddings” looks particularity good, instead I want […]


Why Progressive Christians Need God

This may seem like an odd title to work with. For folks outside of the church, it may be a given that to be a Christian is to be a theist, one who believes in God. For progressives in the church, we know and welcome many people who are agnostic about such questions, including in […]

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“We Three Kings” Judas Priest Edition

Okay, it is actually Rob Halford and his supergroup. But Halford is best known as the lead singer of Judas Priest. Between now and Christmas, I will be sharing here at Approaching Justice some of my favorite renditions of Christmas songs. The studio version of Halford singing “We Three Kings” is on my iPod rotation […]


Softball Players Kicked Off Team for Not Being Mormon

From ThinkProgress: Three public school students in Mesa, Arizona, including a team captain, were allegedly removed from their varsity softball team, in part because they did not want to start each game with a “team prayer.” According to a complaint filed in a federal court in Arizona, the three girls were “penalized for not conducting […]


Being Gay in a Strait World

Though I am not gay, I often wonder what people would think of me, judged of me, if I were to come out. Even now those people may wish to have some assurance, but what should I say to assure you? First, why do you need an assurance? Fine, well, if you know me at all, you know […]

U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)

Harry Reid: Bad Mormon or Badass?

Today is Harry Reid’s 75th birthday. Harry Reid is the Senate Majority Leader, and soon to be Minority Leader, in the United States Senate. You know that. Now that I live in Nevada (since July 2013), Reid is now my Senator. This is the first time I have lived in a state with a Democrat […]


Don’t Persecute Us, We’ll Persecute You: Mormon Pride

In my previous post, I began a conversation about Mormon pride. I would like to continue from a different angle. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was born into persecution. From the moment its founder Joseph Smith, Jr. claimed to have received a vision from God, a wall of persecution stood in his […]

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50 Years Ago Today: MLK’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

President Obama Tapes An Interview For The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert

Obama on Colbert


$1 Spent on Politics = $760 Gained from Federal Gov’t

by Terry Parris Jr ProPublica, Dec. 5, 2014, 1:24 p.m. $1 spent influencing politics = $760 received from the federal government. America’s most politically active corporations 2013 like Ford Motor Company, McDonald’s and Bank of America 2013 pumped $5.8 billion into federal lobbying and campaign contributions between 2007 and 2012. An analysis of 14 million […]


Kritzinger’s Warning To The Media and Rioters In Ferguson.

HBO produced a film several year ago called Conspiracy. The movie was about the Wenesee Conference, which was a secret meeting held by some of the high-ranking officials of the Nazi party. It was at this conference where Reinhard Heydrich revealed his plan in how to carry out the “final solution.” The movie closed with […]


The Red Cross CEO Has Been Serially Misleading About Where Donors’ Dollars Are Going

by Jesse Eisinger and Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and Laura Sullivan, NPR, Dec. 4, 2014, 8:23 a.m. This story was co-produced with NPR. The American Red Cross regularly touts how responsible it is with donors’ money. “We’re very proud of the fact that 91 cents of every dollar that’s donated goes to our services,” Red Cross […]

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Should We Teach About Religion in the Public Classroom? (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

When Charter Schools Are Nonprofit in Name Only

by Marian Wang ProPublica, Dec. 9, 2014, 10:49 a.m. This post has been updated to include a response from National Heritage Academies. A couple of years ago, auditors looked at the books of a charter school in Buffalo, New York, and were taken aback by what they found. Like all charter schools, Buffalo United Charter […]


Imagine Dragons Rock Vegas to Support Local Schools (Including Mine!)

On Saturday night, the Imagine Dragons performed live on the Las Vegas Strip in a surprise street performance. Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the following: Saturday’s mini-concert at the edge of Bellagio’s Dancing Fountains was the kickoff of a partnership with R&R Partners, the agency of record for the Las Vegas Convention […]


New Teacher Journal: The First Days

Teaching is hard. This is not shocking news, but exactly how hard it is did not sink in until my first day as a middle school reading teacher. That was Monday. I am told that I am at a “rough school.” It is officially designated as a “turnaround school.” That means that it has been […]


Mr. Henrichsen or Mr. H.?

I have blogged as Chris H. and I have blogged at Chris Henrichsen. Next week, I start my new career at a middle school reading teacher. I will be blogging about my experiences and I will be asking you, my readers, for help. Today, I come to you with this dilemma: Should I go by […]

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The Dark Side…and the Light. #starwars


Do Your Holiday Amazon Shopping at Approaching Justice!!!

Support writing centered on faith and social justice by doing your shopping at Amazon. All that you need to do is following any of the links to Amazon here at Approaching Justice. Then just do the Amazon shopping that you already had planned. There is no special login needed. Just shop using your current Amazon […]


You and Your Racist Friend

I have long loved They Might Be Giants. The song “Your Racist Friend” is one of my favorite song by TMBG, partially because experiences in life often (sadly) remind me of the narrative in the song. It is especially appropriate on weeks like this one. As Ardis Parshall occasionally points out, my trouble on social […]

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Star Wars Christmas!!!

STOP What ever you are doing and spend five minutes watching this video.  If you like Star Wars, if you like light shows, if you like cool things, it’s worth it.

President Barack Obama receives an update on Affordable Care Act in the Oval Office, April 1, 2014. With the President, from left, are: Phil Schiliro, Assistant to the President and Special Advisor; Tara McGuinness, Senior Communications Advisor; Marlon Marshall, Principal Deputy Director of Public Engagement; Jeanne Lambrew, Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy; Kristie Canegallo, Advisor to Chief of Staff; and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Big Changes in Fine Print of Some 2015 Obamacare Plans

by Charles Ornstein, Lena Groeger and Ryann Grochowski Jones ProPublica, Dec. 4, 2014, 10:57 a.m. This story was co-published with The New York Times’ The Upshot. At first glance, the 2015 health plans offered by the Ohio nonprofit insurer CareSource look a lot like the ones it sold this year, in the Affordable Care Act’s […]

US Supreme Court

Pregnancy Discrimination Case Reaches Supreme Court

by Nina Martin ProPublica, Dec. 3, 2014, 7 a.m. Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hold oral arguments in yet another blockbuster case at the intersection of sex discrimination, workplace law and reproductive justice. The central issue in Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service is simple enough: to what extent does the federal Pregnancy Discrimination […]

A 1922 drawing by Heinrich Vogeler

No Justice, No Peace (Guest Post)

By Cody Shafer I’m going to admit right here at the front that I’m not going to be very articulate or even rational. I’m not even going to pretend to be, because I think it’s justified to get a little angry once in a while. I’m angry because so many people are using rationalizations and logic […]

tom joad

Holy Ghost of Tom Joad

  I love The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. When I taught American Heritage at BYU and BYU-Idaho, I enjoyed showing the movie version. The Grapes of Wrath is a very important work of literature within the American social justice tradition. The film, and the book even more so, strongly portrays the devastating impact […]


Jante Law and the Stories We Tell Ourselves

  I’ve had a chance to study Danish this last semester at OU and on the side I’ve been reading about Danish and Scandinavian culture. In the process I have come across a concept called the Janteloven, or Jante’s Law. While the term comes from a novel, it has taken a life of it’s own, as […]


“Are We Not All Beggars?”

Sharing a lesson on this tomorrow at church: Here is the full talk: Are We Not All Beggars? BY ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles What a wonderful new element introduced into our general conference format. Bien hecho, Eduardo. In what would be the most startling moment of His early ministry, […]


Hold On!

I just returned from watching Mockingjay Part 1 with my children. In a crucial scene maybe half or two thirds of the way through the story Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen is asked by a companion to sing song.  She honors the request and sings what can only be described as a folk song.  The song is […]


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