What if God were one of us?
Singer Joan Osborne famously asked that question in 1995. In her Grammy-nominated hit, "One Of Us," she envisions the author of all creation as "a slob like one of us, just a stranger on a bus trying to make his way home."
The idea of eternity contained in mortality was controversial. But it turns out that ...Read more
Here's an axiomatic truth:
If you want to make sure people see or hear something, ban people from seeing or hearing something. That predates the internet, as any former teenager who ever hid under the covers listening to "Louie Louie" with the volume down can surely attest.
We are talking about a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. If ...Read more
There will be few tears for Aaron Persky.
California voters gave the Superior Court judge his walking papers last week. Persky, the state's first judge to be recalled since 1932, became a target of national fury two years ago when he sentenced Brock Turner, a Stanford University student convicted of sexually assaulting a young woman after she ...Read more
He's a Republican, of course.
Meaning South Dakota State Rep. Michael Clark. On Monday, Clark, being presumably of sound mind and body, suggested on Facebook that maybe racial segregation wouldn't be such a bad idea. A businessman, he wrote, "should have the opportunity to run his business the way he wants. If he wants to turn away people of ...Read more
Black lives don't matter.
It is a message that has, for centuries, been woven like thread into the fabric of this nation.
It was there when the Supreme Court said black people had no rights white people were bound to respect, there when Nazi POWs were seated at a Southern diner while black soldiers were sent to the kitchen, there when federal ...Read more
It made my mother scream.
That's what I remember. I had been lying dozy in bed, but at the sound of her, I scrambled into the living room. She was standing before the television watching an image of chaos in a hotel ballroom.
Although I grew up in the 1960s, very few of the signal events of that tumultuous decade managed to penetrate my ...Read more
I told you so.
I'm sorry, maybe that's petty, but I can't help it. For over a month now, I've felt like a man caught in a feedback loop, doomed to joust till the end of time with readers upset with me for writing that I would boycott the hit reboot of Roseanne Barr's eponymous sitcom because of her support for that sentient sack of racism and ...Read more
We're going to try something different today. Rather than pontificate yet again upon the motives of Donald Trump's supporters, I'll let a few of them explain themselves in their own words.
Here, then, is "Robert" with a comparative analysis of the 44th and 45th presidents:
"President Trump has accomplished more positive things for this nation ...Read more
They might be the three hardest words in the English language: "I was wrong."
Three simple syllables, but many of us find them unpronounceable. As in a Twitter critic who referred to me as "her" the other day.
"Her?" tweeted I. Whereupon, she launched into this tortured explanation of how my beard and name were not enough for her to determine ...Read more
Today, we will discuss one of the most pressing threats to American Christianity. Meaning, of course, American Christians.
Yes, that's an overly broad statement. All those Christians whose faith requires them to live the Good News, to feed the hungry, to house the homeless, speak for the voiceless and welcome the stranger, surely do not ...Read more
Fair warning: this story will disgust you.
But this week -- Saturday, to be exact -- marks 100 years since a singular act of barbarism in tiny Valdosta, Ga. And the tale of what happened there demands to be recalled.
It began when somebody killed Hampton Smith, a white plantation owner. Suspicion fell on Sidney Johnson, an African-American ...Read more
It's like listening to a song you used to know.
It's an old sweet song, a hymn of hope and possibility. It's a tune you haven't heard in far too long.
That's how it is when Rev. Dr. William Barber speaks morality. It's not just that Barber, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., and organizer -- with Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis --...Read more
"If Reality Is Altered, What Can We Believe In?"
In 1994, that was the headline of the first column I ever wrote about the manipulation of images and words -- digital lies that made it difficult to know what was really real. Small wonder, I said, we were a nation "paralyzed by cynicism."
Twenty-four years later, the technology has improved ...Read more
This is for Rose.
She is a nice lady who wrote me a nice email in which she spoke about the need to try to understand Donald Trump's supporters. As Rose put it, "We need to not close ourselves off to how the other side thinks."
It's a sentiment I hear a lot from progressives, and it bespeaks a great generosity of spirit.
But I couldn't ...Read more
Dear Sen. Marco Rubio:
You didn't answer the question.
Questions, plural, actually. As a result, I find myself addressing you for the second column in a row via open letter -- and feeling not unlike Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction." That is to say, "I'm not going to be ignored, Mario."
But first, let me offer some context for those who are ...Read more
Dear Shania Twain:
I used to love "Roseanne." I don't know if that show aired in Canada, where you're from, but here in the States, it was considered appointment TV, groundbreaking and mercilessly funny.
That's why I welcomed news of its reboot. But the show ended up sitting on my DVR for weeks. See, I had read where its star, Roseanne Barr, ...Read more
Racism is a white problem.
I know that many white people will instinctively and emphatically resist that observation. They'll note the self-evident truth that prejudice is confined to no one culture or color. Having known more than a few African-American bigots, homophobes and anti-Semites, I'll be happy to concede the point.
But racism is ...Read more
I don't drink coffee, so I can't boycott Starbucks. But I wouldn't if I could.
Yes, I understand -- and share -- the national anger over viral video of last week's arrest of two African-American men at one of the company's Philadelphia stores. The men, who have yet to be identified, were reportedly doing nothing more threatening than waiting ...Read more
"We kind of gave him -- 'All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here."
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, on the white evangelical response to Donald Trump's alleged tryst with a porn star
"He's new at government, and so therefore I think that he is learning as he goes."
House Speaker Paul Ryan on allegations that Trump ...Read more