Overheard (Oct. 2021)

Nobody really chooses a religion. We’re born with it and then we try to justify it because we get emotionally attached.  

Alaa Al Awwany, renowned Egyptian novelist.

Wall Street Journal, 8-6-21


The end-of-the-world vision at the heart of the new Republican orthodoxy may help explain a further observation: The people who attend these kinds of religious nationalist gatherings — the activist backbone of the Republican Party — are in no mood to back down from the Jan. 6th attempt to subvert the presidential election through a brutal and disgraceful attack on our Capitol. 

Columnist and author Katherine Stewart, in her article, “What’s missing from popular discussions of today’s Christian nationalism?”

Religion Dispatches, 8-9-21


False equivalence is the bread and butter of the post-truth approach, and the upshot, thanks to misguided media insistence on giving “both sides” of any “controversy” a hearing, has been the normalization of extremism and the enabling of America’s surging conspiratorial far Right — especially the Christian Right.

Chrissy Stroop, in her article, “Is being trans a religion? Why the Christian Right wants you to think so.”

Religion Dispatches, 8-6-21


Why are we systematically killing the scientific spirit by instilling in our citizens a body of irrational thought? Let us unite to denounce pseudoscience and promote the scientific spirit and temper.

Partha P. Majumder, writing about the establishment of a Master’s program in astrology at Indira Gandhi National Open University.

The Indian Express, 8-25-21


Many rank-and-file conservative Christians have come to see their faith as a form of identity threatened by the forces of secularism and diversity.

E.J. Dionne Jr., in his column, “Can religion strengthen democracy?”

Washington Post, 8-25-21 


Democrats must not take for granted the increasing number of atheists and agnostics in their coalition. . . . Data indicate that atheists are the most politically active religious group in the United States in recent years. In a 2018 survey, atheists were twice as likely to donate money or work for a political candidate as white evangelicals. Atheists want the Democratic Party to become more progressive and are unlikely to remain silent if they don’t see changes.

Ryan Burge, political science professor at Eastern Illinois University, in his column, “A more secular America is not just a problem for Republicans.”

The New York Times, 8-25-21


I am sure Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who famously spends a good deal of his time composing press releases about religious liberty issues in other states, will be proud to see that Texas’s robust religious liberty laws, which he so vociferously champions, will prevent future abortion rituals from being interrupted by superfluous government restrictions meant only to shame and harass those seeking an abortion.

Lucien Greaves, spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, which is suing Texas for the abortion restrictions “which impede TST’s abortion ritual.”

TheSatanticTemple.com, 9-5-21