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April 6th, 2014
thesmithian

He embarked on the task intending not just to rely on historical research but to track down living witnesses to the many tragedies and upheavals that Congo has endured. His efforts were well rewarded…he managed to find Congolese veterans with memories of early white missionaries and colonial officials, and tales of religious uprisings and resistance movements. His witnesses from more modern times include musicians, footballers, political activists, warlords and child soldiers. The result is a vivid panorama of one of the most tormented lands in the world.

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He embarked on the task intending not just to rely on historical research but to track down living witnesses to the many tragedies and upheavals that Congo has endured. His efforts were well rewarded…he managed to find Congolese veterans with memories of early white missionaries and colonial officials, and tales of religious uprisings and resistance movements. His witnesses from more modern times include musicians, footballers, political activists, warlords and child soldiers. The result is a vivid panorama of one of the most tormented lands in the world.

more.

March 9th, 2014
thesmithian
It was my time to enter the arranged marriage hunt. Now that I was 19, and soon turning 20, I needed to get hitched or at least engaged before my pickings dwindled to creepy, bald, old men. I was fine with an arranged marriage. I had seen hundreds of successful ones and being the good Muslim girl my parents raised me to be, there was no other way. I had my own list of demands, though. I wanted someone educated and between three and five years older than me. I didn’t want more than two children and would not get married until I received my JD. He would be solely in charge of supporting me and the family, as I only wanted to do pro-bono human rights work. In return, I would raise his kids, be a good wife, and never soil his name. I didn’t care what he looked like, but he had to be a practicing Muslim who valued his faith. Let the search begin.
March 1st, 2014
thesmithian

'…if a restaurant decided they wanted to throw out a gay couple, that couple should…just go somewhere else. It isn't the government's role to protect the civil rights of people. If a business owner's God didn't like black people, for example, he could simply throw them out and put up a sign saying “no blacks allowed for religious reasons”…If a Muslim business owner didn't want to serve Jewish people, just go somewhere else, Jews. I presume [the writer] would appreciate some sort of app or website that kept a catalog of which businesses do business with which groups of people. That's the sort of society he wants to live in. Which was exactly how things were before the Civil Rights Act…'

Pretty shocking. But more importantly, why is it that [the writer] seems to think that it is the government’s role to protect the rights of business owners? The government shouldn’t protect a customer’s right to be treated fairly. Instead, that should left up to the market. But a business owner’s right to treat people unfairly, why that should be protected by government statute!

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February 26th, 2014
thesmithian

…Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan—are experimenting with secular governments and free markets. Their efforts have had many fits and starts…

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February 26th, 2014
thesmithian

“…there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation; this tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers; this tube is the most awesome goddamn force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls into the hands of the wrong people!”

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February 1st, 2014
thesmithian

"…I’m still impressed by the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, which was about seeing past ethnic or tribal categories. I wish Christians and other religions would learn that. We all just are who we are walking down the road. We want to be seen as no more and no less than that…"

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January 25th, 2014
thesmithian

…we need media systems that are better at helping us see trolls in context, as attention-seeking outliers, which means we need to do a better job of understanding the reality of a world in which the vast majority of Muslims do not see themselves in conflict with Christianity, modernity or the United States. It’s hard for us to see that reality because contemporary media systems are tuned to warn us of the unusual, not to help us understand the everyday.

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December 29th, 2013
thesmithian

…the remaking of Jesus from Puritan America to antebellum slave cabins, from Joseph Smith’s revelations to Obama’s presidency. The authors compellingly argue that Christ’s body matters, that it signifies power, reflects national fears and evolving conceptions of whiteness, and perpetuates racial hierarchies by continuously reifying the idea that whiteness is sacred.

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December 28th, 2013
thesmithian

"…Obama’s faith has been one of the most misunderstood of any president out there"…People close to the president say that Mr. Obama’s spiritual beliefs are profoundly held. In addition to the daily devotional he receives—which contains lines of Scripture and quotations from people as wide-ranging as Nina Simone and Johnny Cash—Mr. Obama regularly speaks to spiritual leaders on a variety of topics. Every year on his birthday…the president convenes a phone call with ministers “to thank God for the year that was and pray for the year ahead.”

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December 28th, 2013
thesmithian

…the first comprehensive and comparative look at Jews’ involvement in the military and their attitudes toward war from the 1600s until the creation of the state of Israel in 1948…shows that although Jews have often been described as people who shun the army, in fact they have frequently been willing, even eager, to do military service, and only a minuscule minority have been pacifists.

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…the first comprehensive and comparative look at Jews’ involvement in the military and their attitudes toward war from the 1600s until the creation of the state of Israel in 1948…shows that although Jews have often been described as people who shun the army, in fact they have frequently been willing, even eager, to do military service, and only a minuscule minority have been pacifists.

more.

December 27th, 2013
thesmithian
People gravitate away from conflict which usually leaves the platform for the minority of bigots to dominate. We see that in our politics. We see that at our churches. We see that in our corporations. If more people got the courage to step up to the plate, not only on racial issues but socioeconomic issues, society would be much more tolerant, inclusive, and fair. Everyone must go out on a limb and step up to the plate.
December 22nd, 2013
thesmithian
Might some of the audience of Duck Dynasty be ‘slumming’…to feel their difference and superiority while also getting their own bigot on? The popularity of the show clearly has something to do with the characters’ religiosity and rural life, but I’m guessing it also has something to do with the ‘redneck’ spectacle…
December 21st, 2013
thesmithian

'the Muzak brand, once famed/feared for piping the same tunes into every elevator in America…now offers…30 music channels at Christmas alone, tailored to such outlets as Christian bookstores, black barbershops and bilingual malls where Anglo and Hispanic customers mingle.'

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December 19th, 2013
thesmithian

To say that there couldn’t have been a black nun in a European convent in the modern era not only demonstrates a profound ignorance of the long and rich history of black Catholic nuns in the Atlantic world, but also reflects the egregious limitations of the white American racial imagination, which has for centuries equated blackness with moral debasement and vehemently denied the existence of “a virtuous black woman.”

more.

To say that there couldn’t have been a black nun in a European convent in the modern era not only demonstrates a profound ignorance of the long and rich history of black Catholic nuns in the Atlantic world, but also reflects the egregious limitations of the white American racial imagination, which has for centuries equated blackness with moral debasement and vehemently denied the existence of “a virtuous black woman.”

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