Religion

Israel’s Twin Demographic Challenges

Newt Gingrich may call the Palestinians an “invented people,” but how Israel addresses the demographics they represent – and the surging numbers of ultra-Orthodox Jews, too – will likely define the future nature of Israeli society, former senior CIA official Paul R. Pillar writes.

Israeli Scholar Disputes Founding Myth

From the Archive: Republican presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich seems to be laying the groundwork for ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Greater Israel, calling them “an invented people” who “had a chance to go many places.” But an Israeli scholar offered a contrary view, as Morgan Strong reported.

GOP Clowns Take Over the Circus

The Republican presidential race has had many jaw-dropping gaffes and fumbles, but perhaps most shocking is the thought that the extreme policies on display might actually come to pass, offering what Lawrence Davidson sees as the strongest argument for supporting President Obama’s reelection.

Gay Rights Advanced in 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, the year has seen clear progress for gay rights, with the repeal of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and New York State’s acceptance of same-sex marriages, changes that Rev. Howard Bess regrets some organized religions have opposed.

Would Jesus Join the Occupy Protests?

In the holiday season, many Christians take pride in helping the poor – by donating food and toys – but U.S. religious leaders have stayed in the background of challenges to an inequitable economic system, leaving that Jesus work to mostly secular young people of the Occupy movement, the Rev. Howard Bess observes.

The Real Thanksgiving Day

From the Archive: On Thanksgiving Day, the United States celebrates the tradition of Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down together in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621 to celebrate each other as friendly neighbors. But the reality was not so pleasant, as historian William Loren Katz recalled.

Israeli Democracy Fades Toward Black

America’s Founders understood that creating a nation that favored one religion over others was a recipe for repression. Israel’s founders rejected that wisdom and sought a Jewish state with democratic ideals. But it is turning out that America’s Founders were right, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

The GOP’s Unasked ‘Religious’ Questions

In the Republican race, the hottest “religious issue” is the Mormonism of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, which many commentators have ruled out of bounds. But there are broader issues of religion and politics that should be part of the presidential debate, says Rev. Howard Bess.

Smearing Israel’s ‘Peace Now’ Movement

Patriotism was once famously called “the last refuge of a scoundrel,” but it’s also used to discredit citizens who dare question their own country’s wrongheaded policies, as is now the case for Israelis who advocate for a fair peace with the Palestinians, writes Ted Lieverman.

Hunting Witches in the ‘War on Terror’

America’s decade-long hysteria since 9/11 has taken on some characteristics of the European witch hunts of 500 years ago, with incineration of targets after a sham “due process,” albeit now with Hellfire missiles from the air not stake-burnings on the ground, as Mary Beaudoin explains.