(RNS) Deah Barakat took my class “Islam in the Modern World” at North Carolina State University a few years ago. He was curious about Islamic history and contemporary spiritual and political movements, and he was great in class discussions. I’ve taught thousands of students in the last 11 years here, but Deah stood out for his enthusiasm, kindness, calm demeanor, and obvious charisma.
Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha were the very best of people.
On Monday evening, my daughter and I joined several hundred others outside the Capitol in Raleigh, North Carolina. We were there for the latest in a series of Moral Monday rallies organized to oppose the legislature’s policies toward (among other things) social programs, education, environmental legislation, and voting rights.
The statehouse is a solid 90-minute drive from our house, so it makes for a long evening on a school night.
Early this week, the same video kept popping up on my Facebook wall. It's from a press conference in Greensboro, at which North Carolina NAACP president William Barber (whom the Century profiled here) made a crucial point: "How do you feel, personally, about same-sex marriage?" is the wrong question. The right question is about equal rights under the U.S. Constitution and federal law.
North Carolina voters go to the polls today, and the race that will make all the headlines doesn’t have a candidate. On the ballot is a constitutional amendment defining marriage between one man and one woman as the only legal domestic union recognized by the state.
I’m against the amendment--a popular view here in Greensboro. The city council passed a resolution opposing it. Light blue “Vote Against” yard signs dot the neighborhood around our church.