The Common Good

xenophobia

COMMENTARY: Anti-Muslim Bigotry Taints Florida Ban on Foreign Laws

This week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a measure widely touted as a “foreign law ban.” But proponents of such bans should not be too quick to claim victory.

The version of the ban that Scott signed merely mirrors decades-old legal principles that Florida courts have used to resolve international disputes — namely, that they will not apply foreign law if it “contravenes the strong public policy of this state or if the law is unjust or unreasonable.”

This is a far cry from foreign law bans in states such as Kansas and Arizona, which demand their courts to reject foreign laws or judgments if they come from a country that does not protect rights in the identical way we do.

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A Lenten Commitment to Homeland Insecurity

We clearly live in a world that is filled with risks and dangers, and because the increased availability of modern technology allows for harm to occur at unprecedented rates and levels, one can argue that we live in one of the most treacherous eras of human history. However, while the need for protection from harm is both natural and commendable, we are forced to consider whether protection itself can eventually become harmful, unnatural, and even condemnable. In other words, with such extensive resources invested in the pursuit of safety and security, one is forced to consider: What are the consequences of such “protection?" And what happens when so much time and effort is dedicated toward protecting ourselves from our neighbors that we eventually lose sight of who are neighbors actually are? At what point does the heightened priority of protection lead to the increased inevitability of isolation and ignorance? And finally, in our efforts to build impenetrable walls of protection (often in the name of freedom), do we not eventually incarcerate ourselves from the rest of the world and thus limit what it actually means to live free?

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Commemorating 9/11 by Desegregating Theological Education

I just returned from a very moving convocation at the Claremont School of Theology where I am on the faculty. We were celebrating the historic founding of a new interreligious theological university that brings together institutions representing the three Abrahamic faiths, along with our newest partner, the Jains. The Jains are an eastern religion founded in India over 2,500 years ago who are perhaps best known for their deep commitment to the concept of no-harm or ahimsa.

While each partner institution will continue to train religious leaders in their own traditions, the Claremont Lincoln University will be a space where future religious leaders and scholars can learn from each other and collaboratively seek solutions to major global issues that no one single religion can solve alone. The CLU's founding vision of desegregating religion was reflected in the extraordinary religious diversity present at the convocation held in a standing room-only auditorium. I sat next to a Jewish cantor and a Muslim woman who had tears flowing down her face as we listened to the prayers offered in all four religions along with a reflection from a Humanist speaker.

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The Inconsistency for the Call to Civility

In light of an unsuccessful campaign to become the president of my middle school as an eighth grader, I have no plans on entering politics and running for political office.
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Xenophobia 101

"We need immigration reform
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Arizona Reveals a Struggle Beyond the Courtroom and the Ballot

In light of recent events in Arizona, I propose we lead in our communities where national and global leaders lag behind on issues of human rights and love of neighbor.
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After World Cup, Violence Persists in South Africa

The World Cup eclipsed our lives in South Africa as we witnessed four weeks of unbelievable soccer and celebration. Instead of basking in the glory of the tournament and reflecting on a way forward, xenophobic violence has once again reared its head.
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California Band Hires Latino Day Laborers

A San Francisco band called Monarchs hired three Latino day laborers to pose as the band members in a music video for their song "Mexicans." Both the video and the song pay tribute to the
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Drugs, Guns, and Immigration: An Unholy Trinity of Failed Policy

The reports out of Juarez, Mexico, are depressing, doubly so for me.
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