News & Politics


In God We Trust, Who's "We"?

Following months of effort culminating in hours of very heated debate, Washington state’s Pierce County Council voted to display the national motto “In God We Trust” in its chambers. And you know what? I think that’s fantastic. It’s fantastic, but it’s also incomplete. Why shouldn’t a county council display our national motto, especially as we are overwhelmingly a nation of believers? It’s not as if it violates any church-state issues, to which we should always be attentive, as no one church is being touted over any other. And however often radical secularists......

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How a Hashtag Is Spreading Hope During the Gaza War

I have always felt I could choose to believe, or not believe, that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. Admittedly, in the midst of another Gaza war with mistrust and hatred between Jews and Arabs deepening (if that is possible), in a conflict that really seems insoluble, with political leadership on both sides incapable of making the difficult decisions and the people on both sides not ready to push their leaders to do so, it is easy to despair. But despair is a lie we......

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Leaving Baggage and Blame at the Door - How to Talk about Israel and Gaza

The war between Hamas and Israel drags on, with Hamas yet again rejecting the cease fire proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. But this post isn’t about ascribing blame, it’s about the increasingly difficult challenge of talking about the Middle East in any way that doesn’t focus on just that – on winning the blame game, as opposed to allowing the safety we have here in America to encourage conversation that might actually make a positive difference, whether our passion is for Israel or for Gaza. And based on a......

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The Israel-Hamas War: Hope on the Edge

“Use your words,” I remember saying to my children when they wanted to hit or bite during those terrible twos when children don’t have the words to adequately communicate their feelings. Well, the words of diplomats and politicians, political scientists and pundits, intelligence and military experts, artists, religious leaders, and peace activists have all failed. We are killing each other rather than using our words. Whatever one’s political positions – right or left, hawk or dove – and whatever one’s primary allegiances and blood ties – Jewish or Arab, Israeli or Palestinian......

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Video: Ironic Victory in Greece, NY

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: This week, fanatical religion and absolutist atheism lost and the rest of us won. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in the case of Galloway v. Greece, NY that prayer was acceptable in public meetings – a case brought by a group of local atheists. The latest town meeting in Greece opened with an invocation by local atheist, Dan Courtney. Watch my video discussion below for more commentary: Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better. Their......

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Video: Finding Hope for Israel and Gaza

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: In light of the recent escalation of violence in Israel and the Gaza strip, I’m thinking about the wisdom that whichever side of the argument you stand on, arguing about the facts won’t get us any closer to peace but demonstrating compassion for those lost on both sides, may help us get closer to it. And that we should remember the names of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar and feel compassion for all four boys, not just those we......

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The American Dream: A Post Independence Day Reflection

What does America mean to you? What does America stand for? Over Independence Day, I read the Declaration of Independence as a sacred practice. If there is one phrase in the Declaration of Independence that defines the American way it is that we are “endowed by (our) creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. What a remarkable intuition about what America is. As I think about where our country is today – our political and cultural polarization, the unprecedented inequality and economic hardship......

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Video: Murdered Israeli Students - Life Wins Out Over Death

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: This week the bodies of 3 Israeli teenagers who had been missing for several weeks were found in a field not far from where they were last seen. The murder of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar has ignited passions across the world and from different political camps. But this is not the time for politics and posturing. Instead it is a time to sit shiva and ensure that nobody is left alone in their moments of suffering and that somehow eventually life......

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Wisdom in the Face of Terror - For Naftali, Gilad and Eyal

What daily wisdom is there in the face of the brutal murder of three Israeli teenagers – the absolute nightmare of every parent? The ever- deepening, never ending disease of terrorism, hatred, and evil and the stark fear of what will happen next makes me want to scream out. I am a proud member of the Jewish tribe. When forced to pick a side, Jewish is my side. And so as I watch the funeral of Naftali Frankel, who was 16, Gilad Shaar, who was 16, and Eyal Yifrach who was 19,......

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Redskins and Apaches Are Not the Same, Or How to Stop Undermining Ourselves

When I wrote last week about the dust up over the Washington Redskins’ name, I really thought it was a “one and done” kind of deal. I wrote about why I hope the name is changed – it’s at least potentially hurtful, and may be genuinely ugly. I also wrote about why legally compelling the team to do so, might be a sub-optimal solution because of free speech issues. I really thought that was it, at least until I read “The U.S. military’s ongoing slur of Native Americans” in the Washington Post.......

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