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A Progressive Christian Take on Jesus

This post is a bit different. It’s an experiment and I hope you will indulge me. You see, whenever I’ve written a post, the interlocutor in my head has been an atheist, someone on the left who is skeptical that religion has anything to contribute to the question of human good. I have never attempted […]

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Anti-Gay Harrassment at Southern Virginia University Drives Away Student

The Roanoke Times recently published an article about Nic Jensen and his battle with Southern Virginia University over allegations of sexual harassment from the school’s provost Madison Sowell. There has been discussion about Nic’s supposed activism in some conservative Mormon circles, where critics are basically calling Nic a whiny child pushing an agenda to undermine the religious convictions of a god-fearing […]

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Josiah Royce and the Possibilities of Conversation

This blog post is developed from a paper that I presented this month for the Josiah Royce Society at the Central American Philosophical Association conference. Richard Rorty captures well what he considers the liberal and Jeffersonian compromise of how, in a pluralistic society, we can relate to religious language in his essay Religion as Conversation […]

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Religion

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A Balance Between LGBT Rights and Religious Liberty Misses the Point

This article has been making the social media rounds for the last twenty-four hours. A doctor in Michigan told a lesbian couple she prayed about it, and felt she could not be their infant daughter’s physician. That is plainly horrible. It is tragic that people still let their discomfort with homosexuality to cloud their moral […]

“It seems as though we’re always searching for that right balance in our community and our neighborhood and our relationships,” Simmons told a gathering in the Varsity Theater in the Wilkinson Student Center. She visited the Provo, Utah, campus with her husband, Nord Simmons, a retired high school teacher. The university is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
 
“We all would surely agree that justice is important from both moral and political perspectives,” said Simmons. “We probably would not assume that there is an inclusion and assert that justice is an important spiritual concept as well. One may disagree about the nature, basis and legitimate application of justice, but respect for persons is its core.”
 
“Western philosophers generally regard justice as the most fundamental of all the virtues for ordering and organizing interpersonal relations and establishing and maintaining a stable political society,” she explained.
 
Simmons said faith-based education is important in our society today. “Perhaps this is one of the greatest roles for faith-based education in today’s world — to interpret humanity for a world that has lost sight of an understanding as it attempts to relativize all things and to do so from a purely human and significantly secular perspective. And while it should not be the case, education is sometimes more powerful than the church and the home.”

Seventh-day Adventist Leader Speaks on Moral and Political Justice at BYU

I do not always share LDS Newsroom press releases. But when I do, they are about justice. SALT LAKE CITY — Dr. Ella Smith Simmons, general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, addressed students, faculty and administrators at Brigham Young University about the importance of education in a just society as part of a lecture […]

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“O you who love the LORD, hate evil.” (Psalm 97:10)

A few weeks ago Bill Maher, of HBO’s “Real Time,” accused the Navy Seal Sniper Chris Kyle, who is depicted in the movie, American Sniper, as a psychopath. Maher referenced Kyle speaking of Al-Qaeda operatives as “savages” whom he didn’t mind killing. Maher snidely remarked, “I’m sorry.” Maher postulated, “And if you’re a Christian—I know […]

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Ask EOR

                                                                           Ask EOR has returned!  I am glad that my baby-project has found a new home here at Approaching Justice.  Please e-mail any and all questions relative to Mormonism to askeor.aj@gmail.com (all questions will remain confidential).  Let’s get started! “Dear EOR, My husband has decided he wants to change religions. He isn’t trying to be […]

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Dehlin Excommunicated

As expected, John Dehlin has been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From the Salt Lake Tribune: The official charge against the founder of the “Mormon Stories” podcast was “conduct contrary to the laws and order of the church,” but the letter from Dehlin’s North Logan LDS stake president, Bryan King, […]

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Politics

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Kill the Poor

Conservatives have not been shy about their disdain for the poor in recent years. They don’t like the way that they vote, they are okay with the uninsured dieing, they want to take away their school lunch, or force them to stand in segregated lines and feed them peanut butter sandwiches, or shame them in […]

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Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln: My Founder

We have in many ways ruined Abraham Lincoln. I love him because of his flaws. He was surely a work in progress. Yet, the progression of his thought is a work of beauty in and of itself. He was not a pretty politician (though he was a good one). He was not a pretty man. […]

Argentines have been taking to the streets in to demand justice for the dead prosecutor Alberto Nisman (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Alberto Nisman and Argentina’s History of Assassinations and Suspicious Suicides

by Sebastian Rotella ProPublica, Feb. 11, 2015, 10:35 a.m. A year and a half ago, I talked to Alberto Nisman, the Argentine special prosecutor whose mysterious death has made international headlines. I didn’t know Nisman, but I knew the case he was investigating: the terrorist bombing that killed 85 people at a Jewish community center […]

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The Magdalene Laundries: An Extreme But Horrible Example of a Religious Free Pass

When LDS leaders talk about religious liberty, the examples they share almost exclusively deal with an institution’s liberty to discriminate against individuals, which is really the thing that irks me most. The tension between the church and LGBT groups is really a tension between religious liberty and civil liberty, which, frankly, when those two are at […]

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States Fail to Keep School Vaccination Data #MuckReads

by Amanda Zamora ProPublica, Feb. 6, 2015, 3:50 p.m. How prepared are U.S. schools for measles? Most states don’t keep those records. A USA Today analysis found just 13 states met federal standards for collecting school-level immunization records. In those states — which included California — vaccination rates fell below the minimum standard of 90% […]

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Culture

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I Want to Be Classified. I Want to Be Stereotyped.

We are in the process of buying a house here in Las Vegas. I am glad that we picked a house in an older part of town. It is still the suburbs, but it is not one of the trendy areas. It has grit. It has charm. It is also a bit crusty. The process […]

Bradley Cooper (Right) as Chris Kyle in American Sniper.

American Sniper and Futile Heroism

It seems everybody’s talking about American Sniper these days, so I figured I’d join the chorus. The movie’s popularity has exploded, with general acclaim from critics and even more from audiences who’ve made it the #1 film of the year thus far. And there’s no doubt that it’s generally well-crafted, as Clint Eastwood flicks tend […]

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Did You Watch The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore? Check Out The First Episode.

I missed it, too. Here it is: I am excited. I love Wilmore. I was a big Colbert Report fan, but I am ready for something different. Thoughts?

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Education

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In Defense of Higher Education, Loans and All

Thanks to Facebook’s settings, I am privy to whole conversations on others’ timelines simply because my wife makes a comment. A couple years ago, I read through a “discussion” about the movement to forgive student loan debt, which continues to linger, though it has passed through many different phases over the last couple of years, […]

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Like a Mother Bird: Don’t Work Harder than Your Students

by Adam Stout My student-teaching supervisor watched what I was doing one day and told me, “Don’t work harder than them.” I was amused. I thought she was offering a sort of life hack, a clue to sliding more easily through the job. It was as though she was telling me I could get away […]

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You Need Credibility

By Adam Stout As a 2nd year teacher, I have learned a lot and have a lot left to learn. So, take this post for what it is – the musings of a new teacher in the trenches. Lately, one of the lessons I am learning is the importance of establishing credibility with students. Bottom […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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What is “Net Neutrality”?

Right now the Internet consists of you on your computer, and everyone else on their computers, each connected through a modem or radio that attaches to the worldwide network. A block of data coming from anywhere in the world has an equal chance of reaching you in a few milliseconds, no matter what it is. […]

"Mormonism in the New Germany" Deseret News, Church News section, Saturday, Dec 9 1933, p. 3

Moroni and the Swastika – Book Review

BOOK REVIEW – “Moroni and the Swastika: Mormons in Nazi Germany” Author: David Conley Nelson Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press Genre: History Year Published: 2015 Number of Pages: 416 Binding: Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8061-4668-3 Price: 29.95 (All page notations in this review reflect my using an Advance Reader’s Copy of the book) David Conley Nelson’s journey […]

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A Special Fireside on Religious Liberty…This Could Be Fun

We noticed the above poster in our LDS stake center (Nevada Paradise Stake) on our way out of the building on Thursday night. We were there for a young men’s basketball game. We lost the tough game, but this poster made the evening a win. Today, we saw this in our ward bulletin that was […]

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Obama’s Liberal Protestant Faith

Apparently many on the religious right are upset, even offended by remarks made by President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast. I admit, I’m at a loss why.  Somehow his talk was taken as an attack on Christian faith even though Obama is a Christian, baptized, and spent two decades of his adult life as […]

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Will the Supreme Court’s Lethal Injection Review Kill the Death Penalty?

by Annie Waldman ProPublica, Feb. 4, 2015, 11:39 a.m. Last week, the Supreme Court put three executions in Oklahoma on hold as it reviews the constitutionality of the state’s death penalty protocol. If the nation’s top court strikes down Oklahoma’s lethal injection procedure, what would it mean for the death penalty? We’ve asked the experts […]

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Ask EOR is Coming to Approaching Justice!

Approaching Justice is lucky to have Emmett O. Rab (or EOR) as a contributor and I am very excited that she will bringing her “Ask EOR” column to Approaching Justice. “Ask EOR” had previously run at Rational Faiths. EOR has put out the following call for questions: Ask EOR comes to its new home, Approaching Justice, next […]

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Mitt Will Not Run. Phew.

Mitt Romney will not be running for President. He had previously run for president in 2008 and 2012 (when he was to Republican Nominee). From the Washington Post: Romney insisted that he would have had enough support from potential donors to be “more than competitive” and that the positive reaction he heard from Republican activists was […]

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Can a Mormon be a Conservative?

In an article published by Deseret News, Ralph Hancock, Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University, examined whether one can be both a faithful, practicing, Latter-day Saint and politically liberal. He concludes that while it’s possible liberalism inherently leads one away from principles espoused by the church.  I’d like to follow Hancock’s pattern and […]

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