Category: Blog Posts

An Open Letter to White American Christians

My fellow white American Christians: On the soil of indigenous people’s nations, our forebears planted a version of Christianity, and they planted the rhizome of racism. They  brought that rhizome to America and planted it along with all the wonderful aspirations expressed in the opening of the Declaration and the Preamble to the Constitution. That […]

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Religious Communities Could Help Us Develop the Power to Slow Down our Moral Responses

All religious communities are schools of moral formation and moral discourse. The work of defining the gap between “is” and “ought,” the difference between right and wrong, between the desirable and the undesirable, between what to love and hold close and what to reject, between times to act and times to wait—this work is essential […]

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No Government Deserves (or Can Handle) a Sacred Canopy

“There have been religions intimately linked to earthly governments, dominating men’s souls both by terror and by faith; but when a religion makes such an alliance, I am not afraid to say that is makes the same mistake as many might; it sacrifices the future for the present, and by gaining a power to which […]

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Using the Language of “Sacrifice” Can’t Hide the Rotten Smell of “Unnecessary”

Regular readers of this blog know I believe it is imperative for religious people to develop their capacities to relate politics and religion. Politics and religion share the cultural spaces and work of offering founding stories, defining belonging, setting moral order, and imagining what it would take to be a fully-empowered people. But politicians dealing […]

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The Best and Worst of Religion in Public During the Pandemic

The pandemic highlights the worst and the best of humanity and of religion. Examples of the worst of humanity include selling personal protective equipment at World Series scalpers’ prices and manufacturing shoddy tests and ineffective sanitizers. Examples of the best of our species include medical teams “leaving it all on the field” to save lives, […]

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The Pandemic and Moral Dilemmas

The first movie I saw with my friends as a teen was Planet of the Apes. I will always remember my surprise at the final scene when Taylor completes his journey, falling to his knees in front of a buried Statue of Liberty, swearing, and condemning humanity for destroying the earth. That ending was a […]

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Taking the Long View, Farmers and Scientists are Attending to the Health of the World’s Soil

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following was written by the Rev. Heather Coates (and before the pandemic). Rev. Coates, ordained in the United Church of Christ, is currently serving out her call to ministry by teaching World Religions to middle school students. She received a masters degree in Theological Studies from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and […]

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Imagine Ourselves as Living in the Wilderness Rather than Defending a Promised Land

Both Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson embraced the U.S. as a new Promised Land—for white people. But in pitching designs for the Great Seal of the United States, they chose differently. Franklin chose a scene of conquest, the children of Israel triumphing over tyranny as the Red Sea swallowed Pharaoh’s forces. Jefferson chose a scene […]

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The Myth of American Exceptionalism is Dying, and that is a Good Thing

In the study of religion, “myth” does not mean “untruth” or “false.” It is a word associated with the deep story in which a people live, the well-springs of a culture. One of the founding, and maybe the most powerful, myth of American life has been exceptionalism. That is the story of being a unique […]

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