Featured Articles

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Joe Paterno: The Pain of a Tainted Legacy

When one considers Paterno’s legacy and all the good he did for Penn State and the student athletes he taught, coached, and inspired, those actions deserves praise, and certainly, one mistake does not erase all that good. Unfortunately, all the respect I gained for Paterno over the years led me to a great disappointment.

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How is the family under attack?

By Joseph Peterson I have a real and abiding question that I truly don’t know the answer to. What do religious leaders (not just Mormon) mean when they say “the family is under attack”? Now for a bit of context. I remember when I first I opened my mission call to the Netherlands, Amsterdam mission. […]

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I’m relying on your common decency…

A lot has already been said by people far more eloquent than I about the bigoted mess caused by Indiana’s new right to discriminate law.  So rather than try to add more words to a debate that should not even need to be happening in 2015, I want to use this “Hymns of Social Justice” […]

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Religion

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Charles Taylor on The History of American Secularism

Philosopher Charles Taylor:

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The Best Mormon Talk This Weekend was…

   The first talk given today in church was one of the best I have heard in a long time. It was better than anything I heard last night and, most likely, better than anything I will hear next week. The sister spoke about her experiences, her life, and her faith. She touched on the […]

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The First Actual Women’s Session of Conference

The Approaching Justice liveblog for the first official Women’s Session of General Conference begins here with the session at 6:00 pm MDT. All women age 8 and older are invited to watch the session, although I won’t say anything if you participate without meeting the requirements. First things first: A female voice over replaces the […]

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Politics

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

Harry Reid Will Not Seek Re-election in 2016

Sen. Reid’s announcement: From the Associated Press: In a statement, the Nevada Democrat said the recovery period gave him to think about his political future. “We have to make sure that the Democrats take control of the Senate again,” he said. “And I feel it is inappropriate for me to soak up all those resources […]

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Coming Out…as a Democrat

I wanted to take some time to offer some brief, general background about myself. Call it ethos or just a little context for many of my Approaching Justice posts. If you know me at all (or have read any of my recent posts), what I am about to say will shock you: I used to listen to and love Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and others like them.

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Why, Yes, My Faith Does Sway My Politics

I would like to know what is so liberating about leaving people sick, naked, and hungry. That is precisely what government entitlement programs address: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and taking care of the sick. If conservative Christians really are disciples of Christ, then I would like each one of them to ask, “What would Jesus do?”

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Is This Land Made For You And Me?

While making a playlist on my tablet, I realized that I had five different versions of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land” on it.  I was not really very surprised by this as it is one of my all time favorite songs and I have several more versions on my computer.  I first remember learning to sing […]

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Why Would Anyone Be Pro-Abortion?

I think about the term “pro-abortion” a lot. In fact, this is not the first time I have written about it. I have heard this appellation too many times from pro-lifers, and when I use ‘pro-lifers,’ I mean it with complete respect because I am, essentially, pro-life.

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Culture

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John Oliver on the Foolishness of April Fools’ Day

This is a rather Kantian (sort of) critique: Take the pledge!

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Approaching Justice Podcast Episode Two: Israel, Obama, and Iran. Can’t we all just get along?

In this episode, Michael Talerico, a social democrat, and Shaun Maher, a conservative, discuss the implications of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to congress and its potential impact on the negations between the Obama Administration and the Iranians over their nuclear program. Various questions are raised in this episode: Is Iran trustworthy? Is Obama trustworthy? Is Netanyahu […]

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Socialism, the Death of America

“Socialism and the redistribution of wealth is a fundamentally wrong-thinking, anti-freedom, anti-American idea. Nowhere in history has it worked. It destroys nations. Why do our leaders keep moving us in this direction? Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness CANNOT happen when you limit, confiscate, and redistribute ownership and property through central government – societies […]

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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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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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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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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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How Many Deaths Will It Take?

The morning paper greeted me with the following heart wrenching headline at the top of the opinion section “Deadly Persecution of a Gay Man.” I immediately felt ill, my stomach turned, I thought, “Dear God, not again.”  It seems that stories about LGBT suicides are a regular occurrence anymore.  The statistics on LGBT suicides are […]

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Do Boycotts Work? Ask Hobby Lobby.

The New York Times magazine recently published an Ethicist article about shopping at Hobby Lobby for those that are pro-choice.  Or, I would argue, those that understand science and know that no method of abortion was ever on the table and that reproductive health care should be included in all health care packages.  But, I […]

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I’m a UCC Minister Who Believes in God

That probably sounds like a rather unremarkable claim. I’m a minister serving in the United Church of Christ who believes in the reality of God. Of course, I do. It’s my job really. I don’t think this post will generate the traffic that my fellow progressive blogger John Shuck has in his recent post which […]

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Grave of the Fireflies

The night of March 16th, 1945 the United States Firebombed Kobe, Japan killing 8,841 people.  Another 650,000 were left homeless.  These were not soldiers, they were civilians.  The old, the young, women and children.  I’m not writing this post to start a debate.  I will not engage with any comments that say that “It was […]

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Redeeming the Dead: A Mormon Murder Mystery BOOK REVIEW

“Redeeming the Dead: A Mormon Murder Mystery” by Steven Kerry Brown Published by: Hard Row Publishing Inc., 306 pages long. ISBN: 9780989205429; Price: 14.95 It is hard to review a murder mystery novel. How do you say enough about the plot and characters to entice potential readers, to whet their appetite, without saying too much […]

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God as Personal but not a Person

There is a discussion happening between Ryan Bell and Jeremy Neil on whether it is necessary for God to be personal. Necessary for worship and necessary to be connected with the Christian tradition. And is it coherent given the concept or given the kind of world we live in? While Jeremy affirms God is personal […]

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Can the Secular and Religious Converse?

Whenever you see a breakdown of communication, this is likely the failure of both parties seeking to communicate with one another. If it is true that the religious and secular cannot speak unless one gives up their own language, then both sides have failed to do their task. To begin with I’ll use Henry Nelson […]

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(N)o (R)ational (A)rguments

With Wayne LaPierre popping up in the news again, it seemed like a good time to remind people why they should not listen to the NRA. While many people have taken a stance to declare the obsolescence of the right to bear arms, I am not ready to go that far. Likely, I never would […]

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