Pundit Wire

“Freedom for the thought that we hate”

westboro Nil nisi bonum de mortuis. “Speak only good of the dead.” Generally, that’s a sound maxim. But what if the dead person is the Reverend Fred Phelps, who died last week at the age of 85?

Never heard of Rev. Phelps? His Westboro Baptist Church has a website where you can read all about him.

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That’s blasphemy!

ingersol The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an agency charged by Congress with monitoring liberty of conscience around the world, has just issued a report on prosecutions for blasphemy in other countries.

Predictably, the leading offenders are Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Pakistan is cited as “the most egregious example … where blasphemy charges are common and numerous individuals are in prison, with a high number sentenced to death or life terms.”

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Vladimir Putin, Crimea and ‘Double Standards’

putin On 18 March Russia’s President Vladimir Putin delivered a major speech to Russia’s political elite aimed at explaining Russia’s policy towards Crimea and Ukraine. Plenty of commentators have analysed it (and attacked it mercilessly) on points of substance. See for example this brisk piece for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty…

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Jury Duty–Again

the jury Every two years, regular as clockwork, I get a summons in my mailbox ordering me to report for jury duty. Every time it arrives, I groan.

Being summoned for jury duty is the closest I will ever get to being drafted into the army, and the two experiences are much alike. One is reduced to a number and ordered to report to an inconvenient location at an inconveniently early hour. One is searched, processed, relieved of sharp objects, confined to a holding room, indoctrinated and sworn.

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Discrimination isn’t part of religious freedom. Never was. Still isn’t.

JanBrewer_PresObama The “Religious Right” may characterize this as a matter of religious freedom. But where in any religion, especially Christianity, does it even suggest that treating some people as less than others is okay?

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“I sit with Shakespeare…”

dubois In honor of Black History Month, I am going to share a story that I read many years ago. I do not recall exactly where and when, but I will never forget the story itself.

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Growing Up With Nelson Mandela

nelson The greatest American civil rights leader of my lifetime was a South African. I say this not just because Nelson Mandela’s fight for equality and justice followed a path blazed by Henry David Thoreau and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I say this because he carried the torch for freedom at a time when it was under siege throughout the world. He held it high and with dignity, never letting it be extinguished by violence and recrimination.

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No News Is Bad News

tv If you think the widening chasm between the rich and the rest spells trouble for American democracy, have a look at the growing gulf between the information-rich and -poor.

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