In The News: Pussy Riot, Druid Kings, and Religion and Politics

Not all of us have time to read the news. I’ve been too busy reading the news to blog lately. I’d like to start a new feature: weekly lists of aggregated, recent news articles. A lot of what I will choose to add to these lists will be long-form, op-eds, or things that I find fun; if you want quick news bites, read something like TheSkimm. My point here is simply to find and promote interesting and well-written articles. So that for those of you who don’t have the time to sniff through the internet with your news nose pressed to the screen, here’s your cheat sheet.

Religion and Politics

Everyone’s two favorite things to discuss at the dinner table, right? This is the stuff that makes the news world go ’round: party lines, heavenly divides, and of course, the intersection of the two. Though the U.S. claims separation of church and state, Capitol Hill is like a modern-day nesting egg, with the Bible hidden inside the Constitution hidden inside obviously religious congressmen and women. While the U.S.’ roots are puritanical, the rest of the world offers richer–and sometimes more comical, as you’ll see below–disputes between the government and God.

Real News

  1. I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace,” by Zak Ebrahim at Ted Talks. Ebrahim, the son of one of the plotters for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, discusses how he overcame his tumultuous upbringing through, unexpectedly, The Daily Show and Busch Gardens.
  2. The New History Wars,” by James Grossman in The New York Times. A lot of us have taken A.P. U.S. History for college credit, but we didn’t really consider the impact of that course on ourselves and our understanding of what it is to be truly American. While the College Board attempts to amend and revise A.P. curriculum to reflect a changing America, Texas seems to be doing the opposite in an attempt to combat the secularization of history.
  3. Why I Hope To Die At 75,” by Ezekiel Emanuel in The Atlantic. In an interesting meditation on what it’s like not to die young, Emanuel explores America’s obsession with living long. Whether you agree with him or not, Emanuel’s perspective is certainly different from that of the mainstream media — and certainly contradictory to the new bionic human craze sweeping bookshelves and newsrooms.

Real Fast

  1. Religious Crimes and Free Speech: From Pussy Riot to Fellatio with Jesus Statuary, the Controversies Keep on Coming,” by Clay Calvert in The Huffington Post. The title says it all. In case you were wondering, yes, people (including a 14-year-old boy) have done B-A-D things to religious statues.

  2. Dueling Satanic groups feud over Tea Party politics,” by Robert Allen for Detroit Free Press. Who else to challenge a Satanist group than another Satanist group? Though the attempt to erect a 10-commandments statue in Oklahoma’s state capitol has since been stopped, Satanists had dueling plans to foil the Christian agenda.
  3. Stonehenge Mystery: Will Druid King Get a Parking Space for His Kawasaki?” by Max Colchester in The Wall Street Journal. No, a Kawasaki is not a mystical druid carriage, it’s a motorbike. And yes, this is a real druid king we’re talking about.

Photo: Konrad Summer, Fickr

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