Mitt Romney, After the Storm

Before the storm, said Louisiana resident James Madison, he had Mormons knock on his door, just like everybody else, and the object was to try to get rid of them as fast as possible; go away, not interested, don’t want to hear what you have to say. After the storm, he said, it’s “a little bit different now. They’re part of my family now. Always will be. They got into my heart. They’ll never stand on my doorstep again without being invited into my house.”

They were hearing stories of troops coming in and heard helicopters were flying over, he said — they even heard that the president was flying over. But no one was there on the ground with them except the Mormons in their yellow T-shirts to help them clean up.

Requiem for the Walrus — John Lennon Remembered

Is it not written in your law you are gods?
— John 10:34

John Lennon was gunned down and killed in New York City 28 years ago next Monday. This event goes largely unnoticed in the press today, but in 1969, at the peak of the war in Vietnam, John Lennon was the most important man in the world.

The high point of his art and work had come a couple years before, when he used the expression "I am he" at the beginning of one of his most important and entertaining songs at the height of the hippie days. Lennon was, in his time, a generational shaman. He awakened his own generation between childhood and adulthood. But today he resonates in the world as a pure force all his own.

Religious Fascism?

I first heard the term “Islamofascism” on a summer visit to the U.S. six years ago. Though its source was dubious — talk radio of the most strident sort — the expression immediately rang true with me. Yes, fascism did seem a good way to characterize the extreme Islamic fundamentalism that appeared to be spreading through the Muslim world and beyond.

Before going further, it's worth noting that few expressions are more offensive to Muslims than “Islamofascism,” since it associates their religion with something that is patently evil. You have only to pair fascism with your preferred religious system to see why: “Christian fascism,” “Jewish fascism,” “Buddhist fascism” — we'd like to think all of these are contradictions in terms.

So I'm going to generalize the term and use “religious fascism” instead.

Turning Catholic

Bobby Jindal, governor of Mississippi, has abandoned devotion to Kali, the Mother of Death and Life, and adopted the way of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. They say it increases his chances of being chosen as vice president by John McCain. They’ve been saying that about Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia, as well. He’s at the top of the VP list for Barack Obama. Sources close to Kaine say one of the things that makes him appealing for this job is that he is a Roman Catholic.

My own belief systems fall somewhere between the Bodhisattva and Brett Hull, so I shouldn’t claim that much insight into this.

Obama's Berlin Speech Disappointing

Barack Obama's speech in Germany made for quite an impressive picture, and any American gathering an audience of 200,000 in Europe — or anywhere, for that matter — is cause for excitement. No dispute there. But as speeches go, Obama's call for global unity was quite bland, cautious and clearly designed to offend no one. He got to tell Americans how much he loves his country, and to call for peace and justice throughout every land, from Berlin to the Balkans to Bangladesh to Burma.


This is a crucial moment in world history; wars are raging, countries are forming and terrorists are plotting. The opportunity to make positive change and bring about good in the world is right at our fingertips. But in order to make a lasting impact, we as a global community need to be united. This is why I was so disappointed in Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican for releasing a document stating that Roman Catholicism is the only true path to salvation. The document also said that other Christian and Orthodox communities are either defective or not true churches. These actions by the Catholic Church are a big blow to the movement for peace and unity amongst religions and nations.

No Religion Has Bragging Rights

In this video, Armstrong Williams discusses why he thinks no religion has the right to say that one belief system is better than the other.


Los Angeles Archdiocese Settles Massive Abuse Case

The case and the settlement raise large issues that affect many aspects of our society.

There is the obligation of the powerful to protect the powerless and the obligation of the old to protect the young.

There is the need for institutions to put the people they serve ahead of the protection of the power and reputation of the institution, and never to cover up the wrongdoing of the guilty when the institution's moral duty is to protect the innocent.

There is the need for those who profess their great faith to live up to that faith, whether it is members of the clergy who abuse young parishioners, or United States senators who put themselves forward as moral judges of others while they are committing moral sins themselves.

Pope Echoes Bush: 'My Way or the Highway'

It’s bad enough that George Bush acts like he has a monopoly on the truth. Now Pope Benedict XVI is acting that way, too.

In his latest papal pronouncement, Benedict asserts that the Roman Catholic Church is the one and only true church — and that all other faiths suffer from serious “defects.”

In other words, to billions of Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Quakers, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Buddhists, and other believers, the Pope’s message is: “Suck it up. You’re all losers. You’ll never get to Heaven.”

It’s an assertion first made by the Pope in 2000, when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, and one that created a serious backlash among leaders of other faiths. After all, it’s hard to be taken seriously as an ecumenical partner when you start out by insisting that God has anointed you, and only you, as the sole path to salvation.