Religion and Global Society

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On New Year’s Day 2019 I read an OpEd by “the most important political artist of our time” (as Princeton University Press put it). China’s illustrious artist and dissident, Ai Weiwei, now 61 and living in Germany since 2015, ominously proclaimed, “Human Dignity is in danger. We must stand as one to survive.” Human rights are threatened all over the…
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On the cover of the November 2018 issue of National Geographic is a rancher on his horse illuminated by a setting sun against the backdrop of dark clouds. Speaking of the Bears Ears landscape, he says, “It’s a diverse, iconic, some say a spiritual landscape.” The two cover articles come under the rubrick, “Battle for the American West.” The first…
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I begin here a two-part blog post that revisits a theme I raised in Earth, Empire and Sacred Text: the strong propensity since at least the 1970s of those with power, be they multinational corporations, rich individuals, or some governments, to privatize goods that should belong to the wider public, or the “common good.” I want to end up next…
09 September 2018

Ending Hunger

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Amazingly, the goal of halving the number of undernourished people worldwide was just about reached hrough the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs, 2000-2015). UN chief Ban Ki-moon declared at the end of that process, “The MDGs helped to lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty, to make inroads against hunger, to enable more girls to attend school than…
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In a sequence now all too familiar in Europe, a truck careened down a busy shopping street in Stockholm last Friday afternoon killing four people and seriously injuring nine others before going up in flames as it rammed into a department store. The driver, as was later discovered, was a 39-year-old Uzbek, a Muslim likely radicalized through ISIS propaganda. An…
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It’s no secret that stoking the fear of “Islamic terrorism” was one element of candidate Trump’s successful campaign and the prime motivation behind his attempt (so far unsuccessful) to ban travel to the US from six Muslim nations. That fear is real. In the 2016 Survey of American Fears, Chapman University found that people’s top fear was “government corruption” (60.6%).…