Category: Religion

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

It seems appropriate, in that horrible way that sometimes things seem darkly appropriate, that it’s on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that Donald Trump signed an executive action limiting the flow of refugees into the U.S. It’s called “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” but like so many other duplicitously named bills, it’s less about protecting the country than keeping out Others, banning certain refugees, suspending the refugee program, more than halving the number of refugees who will be allowed into the country, and prioritizing Christian refugees over Muslims.

It’s horrible-appropriate because 80 years ago, those same policies, and those same actions, for those same reasons, turned away thousands of Jewish refugees who were left to die in the concentration camps of Nazi-occupied Europe.

Why I’m OK with punching Nazis

A Swedish woman hits a neo-Nazi with her handbag in 1985

[Content note: Violence against Nazis]

So the country is abuzz in the wake of an incident of violence following Friday’s inauguration. Floppy-haired white supremacist Richard Spencer was doing a sidewalk interview with Australia’s ABC when a dude in a hoodie came up from out of nowhere and just fucking clocked him, and then ran off.

Suddenly, all over the media, the question on everyone’s mind is: Is it OK to punch Nazis?

Sure, I’ll weigh in, and thanks for asking.

An Invitation for Meaningful Dialogue

A photo of a tan puppy and a gray tabby kitten sleeping together

There’s been a lot of talk lately about dialogue and understanding. Liberals just need to try to understand conservatives, They say. People get defensive when you call them (or, more often, even just imply that they might be) bigots, They say. If we want to get anything accomplished, we need to meet conservatives halfway, (in which “halfway” is usually defined as “on their side”), They say. Generally, the response from the liberal camp is, “Fuck that shit.” You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. It’s hard and unsatisfying, and maybe the New York Times needs to do a Dialogue and Understanding piece about people who are being asked to take on that struggle. That said, dialogue can happen. Here’s how.

The guilt that comes with having no sympathy

A shot from "The Sound of Music" where Mary spins in a mountain prairie, overlaid by the words, "Look at all the fucks I give"

A lot of attention has been paid to the mystery of why, God, why, and how, and why again, any marginally intelligent person could support. How has a man who is completely unsuited, in character, temperament, knowledge base, intellect, and home training, to be the president of the United States make it as far as he’s made it? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more bigoted, closed-minded, hateful, ignorant people in the electorate than we’d originally thought possible. But we, as a society, don’t generally like to think of people that way — for all the whining about “PC culture,” we give a lot of passes to be people who absolutely don’t deserve them — and so we’ve sought out other options.

That’s where we’ve gotten “>so many articles profiling the “realTrump base — salt-of-the-earth, working-class white voters who are stumbling into a new world of multiculturalism, who are suffering from economic woes, and who just want some support for their very real problems. And yet, for all of that, I haven’t been able to escape the feeling that they need to cry themselves a river and canoe on home.

“Bernie or Bust”ers: Suck it up, women and minorities, because Hillary is the literal and absolute worst

Golf writer, Bernie Sanders supporter, and self-identified privileged white guy Shane Ryan would “like to address the idea that Bernie Sanders supporters who refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election are over-privileged assholes.”

I feel like “You said it, not me” would be a petty interjection at this early stage.

Oregon militia bulldozes Native American archaeological site, still NBD

During their weeks-long occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, armed militants have declared their intention to return the federal land to its “rightful owners.” They’ve also made it apparent that by “rightful owners,” they weren’t talking about the Burns Paiute tribe, whose ancestral lands encompass the reserve. And on Wednesday, they made their priorities clear when they bulldozed a path through a Burns Paiute archaeological site.

Ritual without gods

I’m an atheist, and I always have been. I’m a third-generation atheist, moreover; my parents are atheists, and so were/are most of grandparents. But unlike my parents or my grandparents, I was raised without any Jewish observance in my life…

Q&A: Why Girls Join ISIS?

In our final instalment, we somehow ended up talking with a 12-year-old about Muslim women’s role in geopolitical affairs. And shockingly, it did not turn out horribly… IGNORANT KID EXPLAINS “WHY GIRLS JOIN ISIS” A.K.A. TWO BROTHERS CHATTING WHILST PLAYING…

Monday morning mood lifter: The best defense

It’s a gray, drizzly Monday morning in Birmingham, Alabama, and I’m grumpy because I stayed up last night reading a book because I was hoping it would get better, and it never did, and I’m perfectly happy to accept a degree of sleep deprivation if it’s for a book that’s actually good, but this is just out of line, but you know what? This weekend, a kid in St. Andrews, Scotland, took down a bigoted street preacher in “the most Scottish way possible.”

Quick hit: Malala Yousafzai aced high school, naturally

Malala Yousafzai survived a gunshot to the head from the Taliban in retribution for her passionate activism about education for girls starting when she was just eleven. She started a nonprofit to promote and enable education for girls, including those threatened by the Taliban in her native Pakistan. She won a Nobel Prize at age 16. She’s spoken to the UN. She’s traveled the globe to speak with world leaders. She’s also declined to speak with world leaders when it would conflict with her high school class schedule, which is why her grades are better than yours.