Fanning the Flames of Islamophobia

This column was the featured commentary on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality website on August 20, 2007.

On Friday, I walked without fear into a potential den of scheming terrorists. To me it looked like the local halal butcher shop, but according to the New York City police department, halal butcher shops—together with bookstores, hookah bars and places where taxi drivers gather—are likely places to find young, Muslim men who are en route from being urban-hip, booze swilling, tail-chasing, fully integrated Western homeboys, to being Osama wannabes marching t

Peru Earthquake Assistance

Like many of you I have been touched and concerned by stories and images coming out of Peru in the wake of the recent earthquake. There are lots of organizations doing good work in Peru and elsewhere around the world, but I will be donating money to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to support their work. If you have not yet made a financial donation to help with relief efforts in Peru, I hope you will consider joining me in supporting the work of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

Birthday Bonds

This column ran on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on August 13, 2007.

On August 7, when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record, my mother called to wish me a happy birthday. “A lot of folks are celebrating your birthday tonight,” she said. I was happy because I like the Giants. Despite his grumpy public demeanor, Barry Bonds is fun to watch, and as far as I am concerned, it was downright decent of him to break the American pastime’s greatest record on the day of my birth. Continue reading

Farm Bill On My Mind

This column ran as the featured commentary on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on August 6, 2007.
I wish the farm bill had a bigger place in the Great American Discourse.

Every five years, our elected leaders in Washington have the opportunity to set the policies that apportion federal subsidies given to America’s farmers, and when the farm bill comes up for renewal it is a great opportunity to ask some very basic, very important questions.

How do we want to eat? What kind of food do we want to feed America’s poor children who take advantage of the school breakfast and lunch programs that are underwritten by the federal farm bill? Which farmers and what kind of farming should derive the greatest benefit from federal financial aid? Continue reading