Faithful Conversations

This column was published on UPI’s on October 30, 2006. It also headlined the UPI webpage’s religion section that day.

Americans have a problem when we talk about religion. Most of us think we’re more knowledgeable than actually we are, and, as a result, the plague of stereotypes traps us in our ignorance and foments enmity between religious communities.

Allow me to illustrate the American attachment to religious stereotypes by inviting you, esteemed reader, to play a game of “Religion Trivia:”

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Cry, the Beloved Border

This column appeared on the UPI Religion and Spirituality website on October 23, 2006

Last week I came across an email addressed to “minutemen and supporters,” that appeared to have been written by the director of Arizona Border Watch, an organization affiliated with the California-based Minuteman Project, whose motto is “Americans doing the jobs that Congress won’t do: ‘operating within the law to support enforcement of the law.’”

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Ramadan in the American Family

This column was first published on UPI’s on October 16, 2006
Because it is the holy month of Ramadan, I stopped by a local mosque last week to spend time with an old friend and to talk about the state of Islam in America.

I had been troubled by a series of anti-Muslim “Mallard Fillmore” comic strips on the funny pages of the San Jose Mercury News last week, and I wanted to get a sense for how such Islamophobic vitriol was affecting the Muslim community. But first we talked about Ramadan. Continue reading

Review: “The Book of Daniel” on DVD

This Column was first published on the UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum Website on October 9, 2006

Praise the Lord and pass the popcorn! “The Book of Daniel” has just been released on DVD, and now we can see what all of the fuss was about and what heinous heresy inspired the American Religious Right to rally a successful campaign to have NBC discontinue the much-anticipated show after just three weeks last January.

Here’s the verdict: those who fought to have “The Book of Daniel” axed should be ashamed of themselves. “The Book of Daniel” is a great show. Continue reading

Who Would Jesus Torture?

This Piece was published on October 2, 2006 on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum webpage under the title “Who Would Jesus Bomb?” It also headlined the religion section on UPI’s homepage that day.

For those politicians in Washington who seek to be guided by their faith as they make policy decisions that affect the nation and the world, and especially for any politician claiming that “Jesus Christ” is his favorite political philosopher, I have a message: our nation’s treatment of detainees is a religious issue. Continue reading