Monthly Archives: February 2012

Want to Fight the Man? Reform is Hard Work

Published on February, 15, 2012, on the Black, White, and Gray blog. Click here to read the full post.

“In his recent column responding to the You Tube hit video, “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus,” New York Times Columnist David Brookssent a clear message to many would-be reformers: if you desire reform, you are better off joining a movement tied to a tradition….

I admire the energy and optimism of those calling for religious, economic or political change. Yet, I agree with Brooks that not everyone is called to be a prophet. I learned great intellectual humility when I completed my Ph.D. thesis. It took 6 years of study, writing and research to come up with one important and well-argued thesis in sociology. If it took me 6 years to say something original to my field of study, shouldn’t I pay attention to the ideas that founded this nation? Shouldn’t I learn about the traditions that have guided Christian thinking for two thousand years? Shouldn’t I consider competing arguments about the best way to organize economic life? The best ideas show they understand the alternatives, that is, the traditional arguments, and demonstrate why the new ideas are superior.”

My Conversation with Islamic Reform Scholar Mohsen Kadivar

Published on February 1, 2012, on the Black, White and Gray blog, my post on Islamic reform scholar Mohsen Kadivar. Click here to read the full post.

Mohsen_Kadivar “Although he is known by many as a political dissident, Islamic scholar Mohsen Kadivar emphasized to me over lunch recently, “I never wanted to get involved in politics. I just wanted to be a scholar of religion.” But when the intelligence service in his home country of Iran killed at least four dissidents accused with apostasy and claimed a fatwa of unknown religious authority to justify the killings, Kadivar objected. In articles he wrote and speeches he delivered at a mosque to several thousands of believers during the holy nights of Ramadan, Kadivar argued that according to the Qur’an and the authentic tradition of the prophet Muhammad “terror is forbidden in Islam.” Punishment, he argued, is only the job of the court, not anyone else. It is not lawful, he argued, to kill dissidents for religious crimes.”

Click here to read the full post.

Religious Freedom: An Endangered Liberty in the U.S.?

Posted on January 25, 2012, on the Black, White and Gray Blog, my thoughts on religious freedom. Click here to see the full article.

“In December, Georgetown scholars Tom Farr and Tim Shah organized an online debate through the New York Times that asked if religious freedom is under threat in the U.S.  was particular struck by the viewpoints of representatives of minority religions in the U.S.– such as Sikhs and Muslims–who feel misunderstood, mis-represented, and often find it difficult to carry out their basic religious duties.”