News and Politics

Politics – Current Events – Media

That Smile

January 14, 2004 | 8 comments
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Have you seen “The Mona Lisa Smile?” I loved it. Not only was it at my beloved Alma Mater, the most beautiful campus in the U.S., but showed it when I was there. Long, long ago. Not everyone loved the film. My classmates are planning to sue the producers for devaluing their education. But it was accurate in spirit if not in detail. Read more »

Being “born that way” is meaningless

January 9, 2004 | 63 comments
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In his attempt to overcome the ‘secularist’ charge and to prove he understands religion, Howard Dean said this week, “rom a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people.” Let me start by noting that if this statement is typical of the quality of Dean’s thinking “from a religious point of view,” it’s not hard to figure out why Dean isn’t religious. Even if he isn’t religious, he’s not an idiot, either, so his argument must have made sense according to his secular worldview. (Andrew Sullivan seems to... Read more »

The First Great Mormon Film?

January 6, 2004 | 10 comments
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No, this post is not about a Richard Dutcher movie (though Brigham City was interesting and well-acted). I am referring to Tasha Oldham’s remarkable documentary, “The Smith Family.” Read more »

Mormons and “American Jesus”

December 30, 2003 | no comments
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Famous Mormons

December 30, 2003 | 51 comments
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Practically every church member I know likes to talk about famous Mormons. Of course, there aren’t a lot, and my experience has been once the discussion gets past a few well-known members — Steve Young, Orson Scott Card, Dale Murphy, Shawn Bradley, Danny Ainge, Donny & Marie — the conversation tends to skew towards the “I heard that xx was Mormon too!” direction. However, I just noticed (via Rachel Woods About.com LDS) a web site that lists famous Mormons. How cool is that? Read more »

God and Football

December 29, 2003 | 6 comments
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Living in Wisconsin, I have observed that the line between religion and football is thin. During my formative years, I was the lone Minnesota Vikings fan in a small Wisconsin town. Fortunately for me, the Vikings were quite good during the 1970s … although never quite good enough to win the Super Bowl. More importantly, the Green Bay Packers stunk during those years. After I joined the Church in the early 1980s, I stopped paying attention to professional football because I wanted to keep the Sabbath Day holy, and professional football does not have much to recommend it in... Read more »

Sex

December 23, 2003 | 29 comments
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Is it good, bad, or neutral, to have sex before marriage? This topic comes up often in discussions in many places. The church has taken the unambiguous position that pre-marital sex is wrong. For us as members, what does the church’s teaching mean about its (and our) attitudes about sex generally? Read more »

Lord of the Rings

December 20, 2003 | 10 comments
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I saw the third installment tonight. The triology is an awesome accomplishment, but I still liked the books better than the movie. As you may know already, the movie has generated a plethora of Christian reviews (see here for links), mostly positive. Does this strike anyone else as odd? Read more »

Should I subscribe to Sunstone again?

December 18, 2003 | 40 comments
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Sunstone magazine is different things to different people: a gadfly; a breath of fresh air; a gripefest; scholarship for nonscholars; a needed Mormon arts outlet; an enabler of apostate rantings. For me, it was a first introduction to a broader range of Mormon thought than I was raised with. Unlike Nate’s youth, mine was devoid of discussions of hermeticism and hermeneutics over the dinner table. Read more »

CTR Rings to be Banned in France?

December 17, 2003 | 9 comments
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As though Americans needed more evidence of the absurdity of France’s government, today Chirac proposed a law to ban students from wearing religious tokens in school. Chirac thinks this is a moral battle — his conscience leads him to prohibit Jewish boys from wearing yarmulkes at school: “In all conscience, I believe that the wearing of dress or symbols that conspicuously show religious affiliation should be banned in schools.” Read more »

Gay Marriage Humor

December 16, 2003 | 2 comments
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This was sent to me by my friend Dan Burk, who is currently a visiting professor at Berkeley: The consecration of Gene Robison as bishop of the New Hampshire Diocese of the Episcopal Church is an affront to Christians everywhere. I am just thankful that the church’s founder, Henry VIII, and his wife Catherine of Aragon, and his wife Anne Boleyn, and his wife Jane Seymour, and his wife Anne of Cleves, and his wife Katherine Howard, and his wife Catherine Parr are no longer here to suffer through this assault on traditional Christian marriage. — Paul Emmons, Westchester... Read more »

Mormons and the ACLU – Short Redux

December 16, 2003 | 17 comments
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A while ago I posted on my blog, discussing whether a good Mormon can also be a good member of the ACLU. (I concluded that it is possible to be both — see the four-part discussion, 1, 2, 3 and 4; see also links to further discussion here). That multi-post discussion in turn kicked off a lengthy e-mail discussion on the LDS-Law list. Now, a reader of this blog e-mails in with an interesting piece of information: This reader was an ACLU member before baptism. Since joining the church, he reports that in his temple recommend interviews, he is... Read more »

BYU Law School

December 15, 2003 | 24 comments
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Since we have been having a discussion about BYU, I thought I would post a little bit about BYU and my particular discipline: law. Although I went to BYU as an undergrad, I didn’t go there for law school. Still, I have friends that did, I know some of the faculty, and I have always been interested in the school. Here are some of my impressions: Read more »

The “P” Word, Again

December 10, 2003 | 17 comments
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Polygamy is in the news once again. CNN reports that an excommunicated member was banned from discussing his ideas about polygamy with his daughter in a child-custody case, and is now suing for the right to teach her about polygamy. Read more »

How to Make a Mormon Political Theory

December 10, 2003 | 16 comments
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How should Mormons use Mormonism to think about law and politics? My question is not about what the “right” Mormon answer is to this or that issue. Rather, it is about how we go about constructing a Mormon theology of politics. It seems that we have three possible alternatives. Read more »

Mormons as Sports Fans

December 10, 2003 | 9 comments
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After reading the amazing conversation on gay marriage below, I am in the mood for something a little lighter. How about sports? Mormons enjoys sports as much as any group … maybe more than most, since we are sober at sporting events. Anyone out there who is associated with BYU knows that the football team is a passion for many Mormons, perhaps even more so after two straight losing seasons. Just visit Cougarboard or CougarBlueII and you can witness the continuing interest in BYU football, even though the season ended several weeks ago with an ignominious loss to the... Read more »

Against Civic Religion

December 9, 2003 | 43 comments
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Some time ago, Russell and Adam challenged me to explain what was wrong with cyrpto-protestant prayers in the public schools. What follows is my response along with some general thoughts on civic religion. Read more »

Church Boundaries and Political Gerrymanders

December 8, 2003 | 7 comments
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Greg’s post below on the criteria used in drawing ward boundaries, reminds me of another interesting issue: the use of ward boundaries as a criteria for drawing political boundaries Read more »

LDS Fiction Writers

December 8, 2003 | 14 comments
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Below we are discussing books in the Mormon Studies genre, but one of our readers — Sid Sharma from Ann Arbor — emailed me to inquire about LDS authors who write “modern, literary fiction.” Good question. Who are some LDS authors we really love to read? Anyone care to share a review of a favorite LDS author? Read more »

Why Marriage Deserves Constitutional Protection

December 8, 2003 | 6 comments
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Maggie Gallagher’s response to conservatives who have expressed qualms about amending the constitution to define marriage is superb. She approaches the issue from two angles. First, on the federalism argument, she points out mundane matters that are part of the constitution, and wonders why these topics merit nationwide uniformity, rather than state-by-state experimentation, but that the fundamental institution of society is beneath the constitution. Second, she makes a passionate argument about the importance of marriage to civilization, and the devastating effects weakened marriage has and will have on our culture. Read the whole essay. By reminding me how high... Read more »

The Federal Government as Public Nuisance

December 7, 2003 | 4 comments
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I think that most Mormons are aware of that during the last half of the nineteenth century relations between the Church and the federal government were often chilly at best. Most Mormons, however, are unaware of the some the creative legal tactics employed by their nineteenth-century coreligionists. Read more »

Sex and Censorship at NYU

December 5, 2003 | 4 comments
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I just have a millisecond to blog today, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to link this story about the (gasp!) despicable censorship at NYU, that well-known bastion of conservative thought. Apparently they are refusing to let a film student film actual sex for her film project. Read more »

…And Now The Movie

December 4, 2003 | 2 comments
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Of course we always knew it would happen, but we didn’t think that it would happen so quickly: Times & Seasons has been made into a movie, with Helen Hunt and George Clooney, no less. At anyrate, the script has been written. Check it out here Read more »

What if Davis v Locke arose in Utah?

December 3, 2003 | 3 comments
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As I read Dahlia Lithwick’s coverage of the Davis v Locke oral argument, I wondered what approach the court and press would have taken had the case originated in Utah. Dahlia writes: bothered by the fact that Davey had his scholarship revoked simply because he’d declared a double major in pastoral ministries and business administration. According to Kennedy, Davey could have just declared the business major, taken theology courses, and kept his funding. Kennedy asks, over and over, “What is the state interest in denying him funding simply because he declared a double major?” Finally Ruth... Read more »