Category: Blog Posts

The Pandemic and Moral Dilemmas

The first movie I saw with my friends as a teen was Planet of the Apes. I will always remember my surprise at the final scene when Taylor completes his journey, falling to his knees in front of a buried Statue of Liberty, swearing, and condemning humanity for destroying the earth. That ending was a […]

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Taking the Long View, Farmers and Scientists are Attending to the Health of the World’s Soil

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following was written by the Rev. Heather Coates (and before the pandemic). Rev. Coates, ordained in the United Church of Christ, is currently serving out her call to ministry by teaching World Religions to middle school students. She received a masters degree in Theological Studies from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and […]

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Imagine Ourselves as Living in the Wilderness Rather than Defending a Promised Land

Both Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson embraced the U.S. as a new Promised Land—for white people. But in pitching designs for the Great Seal of the United States, they chose differently. Franklin chose a scene of conquest, the children of Israel triumphing over tyranny as the Red Sea swallowed Pharaoh’s forces. Jefferson chose a scene […]

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The Myth of American Exceptionalism is Dying, and that is a Good Thing

In the study of religion, “myth” does not mean “untruth” or “false.” It is a word associated with the deep story in which a people live, the well-springs of a culture. One of the founding, and maybe the most powerful, myth of American life has been exceptionalism. That is the story of being a unique […]

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In Praise of Our Communities

“In the beginning was the relationship,” said a former colleague at Phillips. Not the individual, but the relationship is the fundamental building block of human life. Contemporary understandings of physics and biology largely share the same perspective: individual elements and entities are separate only for analytical purposes. In reality, relationships and community are of first-order […]

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Privatizing the Public is a Bad Idea, for We Can’t Reap What We Did Not Sow

How many articles and studies detail the dangers and detriments of valuing quarterly profits over long-term investments? How many times have we, the American people, been warned that our sense of “the public,” “the common” is too thin? Or, in the colloquialism my late father repeated often in reference to society where taking is valued […]

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Let’s Display “In God We Trust” in Every Classroom, and…

I’m thrilled that the Oklahoma Legislature remains so interested in supporting religion in the state. In recent years, bills have been submitted (not all passed or will pass) to put “In God We Trust” everywhere except washrooms (slight exaggeration), proclaiming the Year of the Bible, and to display the Ten Commandments held by an angry-looking […]

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Label Bubbles

Political partisanship rules all types of discourse, including religious discourse. The terms that express political partisanship—alt-right, right, conservative, moderate, liberal, progressive, radical—have infected the nation’s speech. It is nearly impossible for religious types, who have been labeling ourselves and others for centuries, to eschew labels. But, today, labeling is dominated by partisan politics. And this […]

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The Morality of the Endgame

Let’s imagine that the end justifies the means to get there. The assumption of that statement is that the end is a good or that the end is morally good—for someone or some group. In our acutely polarized era, considering the good of the ends toward which we drive seems essential but I’m not seeing […]

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