Christian coach Joseph Kennedy’s prayer at a public school football field’s 50-yard line is not about religious freedom. It is not about God. It is not even about praying. It’s about imposing one version of Christianity in an increasingly pluralist society in one of the last places where that kind of favoritism has no place. It is intolerance by exclusivity.
Today’s the day. We’re taking our son to UCF. There will be bleakness. This day has been hurtling toward us since he was born. It was once a distant meteor, invisible to the naked heart. But impact is today at 3:30 p.m.
In right-to-life theology, the woman’s right is non-existent. She’s a vessel. Pro-life? It might help us to look beneath our legal and social burquas once in a while. It’s not pretty, and it sure as hell isn’t nearly as moral or pro-life as you think.
There is something unfair about Lia Thomas, the University of Pennsylvania star swimmer and transgender woman, winning races and breaking records, and there is something rational in calls by some of her competitors–and by some transgender athletes themselves–for a rule change that addresses both fairness and inclusion.
The Florida GOP is using the Parents’ Bill of Rights to weaponize a minority of insurrectionist parents against schools, giving parents the right to violate privacy and autonomy where it counts most at school: between students and teacher. No wonder there’s a teacher exodus. It’s just what the GOP wants. Destruction from within.
Today we read the Sinclair Lewis of “Main Street,” “Babbitt,” “Elmer Gantry” and “It Can’t Happen Here” not for literary value but the way Margaret Mead studied the Balinese character–for ethnographic insights. Lewis’s novels are a window into an America not nearly as dated as his reputation.
Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire,” published in January 1968, worthy of any top-100 list of the best books of the last hundred years and an essential read–and re-read-today, is a meditation, a polemic, a manifesto, a provocation, a valentine and an elegy to the red desert and to American wilderness.
What historian Arthur Schlesinger had detected in 1992 in a few trends is now orthodoxy–from both sides, neither for the better. The “ethnic rage” of diversity-preaching liberals and the fundamentalist, doctrinaire “monoculturalism” of conservatives has the country in a state of paralysis. Schlesinger wanted a renewed melting pot. But that’s not the solution.
“Achieving Our Country” is an energizing manifesto, a reminder that we are not as good as we think we are, and, atrocious as we can be, not nearly as bad, either. We are merely unachieved. With a little less despair, a little more affection, even–heaven forbid–a bit of patriotism, however defined but equally respected we can achieve more.
Under the appealing but misguided credo of victims’ rights, prosecutors reach plea deals giving disproportionate weight to what the victim’s family wants. The defendant can end up either with a savior, as Joey Renn did this week in Flagler, or, more often, a gang of rage. A person’s fate should never depend on a dice throw between grace and vigilantism.