As this campaign season reels recklessly, leaving a wake of increasing intolerance, those holding differing opinions can find little common ground. Past seasons of “come, let us reason together” have disappeared; unreasoned assertions from the chronically ignorant now dominate the increasingly purchased airwaves. Little from any side appears balanced or fair. We craft dollar-driven hegemonies of self-satisfied ignorance, cultures of the titillated and thoughtless. Where we once enshrined the ideals of freedom, we now erect a golden calf of contempt atop a tower of babble. Call it the gospel according to the uninformed.
When creed gives way to screed, who speaks into our opinionated age with a staid voice of wisdom?
Maybe it’s because I’m Japanese-American that I feel skeptical reading Western political philosophy. When were we ever born as free individuals into a state of nature, as Locke and Rousseau asserted? I’ve always believed that we’re born into families, with binding ties, benefits, and obligations.
The Bible affirms that relationships are not merely social constructs for us to make and break as we choose.
Last week, God’s Not Dead 2 hit the nation’s movie screens. The sequel to the 2014 sleeper hit tells the story of Grace Wesley, a high school teacher dragged into court for talking about Jesus in her classroom. The movie imagines a hostile government bent on rooting out any trace of religion in public life. As the prosecuting attorney threatens, “We’re going to prove once and for all that God is dead.”
The timing of this film’s release may have been intentional.
In 1963, at the height of segregation, Martin Luther King, Jr. called for creating the beloved community. He exhorted all Americans to stand for justice, not by eradicating our differences but by affirming and claiming our identity, heritage, and legacy.
His vision of the beloved community embraced principles of inclusion: sharing the rich resources of the earth; eliminating poverty, hunger, and homelessness; and combating racism and discrimination.
In recent years, debates over the appropriateness of public monuments celebrating Confederate figures have become increasingly common. Along with exposing deep racial divides, these debates have brought to light historical attitudes and structures built on enduring notions of white supremacy.
While generally taking place in local contexts, they have ramifications that concern all Americans.
The African American Intellectual History Society, founded in 2014, hosted its first annual conference last weekend at UNC Chapel Hill. Scholars from various disciplines delivered engaging papers around the theme “new perspectives on the black intellectual tradition.”
The changing nature of black identity in today’s world is complex.
Historically, black people and those deemed “homosexual” have been marginalized and silenced on many faith-based campuses. My Then & Now post from December notes the increasing acceptance of black Christians at Christian schools. However, such acceptance has not been extended to LGBTQ Christians.
W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk intertwines “the problem of the twentieth century” color line with LGBTQ resistance in the 21st century.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks in Paris in mid-November, Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz set off a flurry of controversy when he announced that he believed the federal government should bar Muslim refugees fleeing violence and civil war in Syria from resettling in the United States. He stated on Fox News, “on the other hand, Christians who are being targeted for genocide, for persecution, Christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven to them.”
After President Obama described these sentiments as “shameful” and “un-American,” Cruz doubled down.