Reporting From Pakistan
I’m not much good at timing. I was visiting Jordan on a lecture tour when the Israelis assassinated Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin. Amman closed down and much of my program had to be canceled; Americans weren’t welcome on campuses where student groups were mourning the sheikh and vowing revenge. I was in Indonesia when the […]
Pentecostalism – Protestant Ethic or Cargo Cult?
On June 22, 2010, a crowd of some 35,000 Evangelical Christians gathered in a football stadium in Manaus, the Brazilian city located in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest. They met about two hours after Brazil beat Ivory Coast at the World Cup. But the purpose of the rally was only partly to celebrate this […]
May One Joke About Religion?
A number of relatives and friends have followed my first forays into the strange country of Blogostan. One of them criticized the fact that my tone occasionally becomes flippant, implying that this is inappropriate when one is dealing with a serious topic like religion. I’ll accept the charge of flippancy, if by that is meant […]
Posting From Pakistan
During the next two weeks I’ll be visiting Pakistan at the invitation of the US Embassy there. I won’t be there to toe the government line; from time to time US diplomats abroad call on people from many different points of view and walks of life to give overseas audiences a chance to encounter Americans […]
Welcome To Via Meadia
I was waiting to name my blog until the White House came up with a new name for the Conflict Formerly Known As The Global War On Terror (COFKATGWOT); I’ve pretty much given up on that now. We are fighting an anonymous war with unspecified goals against Those Who Cannot Be Named and that’s the […]
Democracy and Judaism in Israel
Israel was established as both a democratic and a Jewish state. Both qualities continue to be real enough. But there have been increasing tensions between these two definitions of the state, and some (in Israel and outside it) have questioned whether there is not an inherent contradiction that cannot be resolved—Israel can be one or […]
Green Dreams Die Ugly On Capitol Hill
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? asked the Roman satirist Juvenal: Who will watch the guards? In our society, we have another question to ask: Who will reform the reformers? As the country sweltered under the hottest three months since record keeping began, as the gushing oil spill in the Gulf riveted the country’s attention on the […]
Sex and Schism in the Anglican Communion
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and symbolic (though in actuality rather powerless) leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, is by all accounts a very pleasant individual. He has been trying valiantly to keep within the sprawling Anglican fold, estimated to be between 70-80 million adherents worldwide, the progressives and traditionalists who have been in […]
Nuking Westphalia: Obama’s Deep Convictions Point to War With Iran
In spite of what some conspiracy-minded critics on the right think, mainstream journalists like Time’s Joe Klein do not often agree with Fidel Castro. That both Klein and Castro think the chances of war between the United States and Iran have increased recently is worth noting. I happen to think they are right. The problem […]
Who are "We"?
A Chinese sage defined a wise person as one who sees things together which others see as apart. Writing a blog implies the presumption of at least a measure of wisdom. So here we go: In an earlier effusion of wisdom, in reference to conflicts between secularist elites and religious voters, I compared the Supreme […]