Religion and Press Freedom in the Digital Age – Part Two: Al Jazeera on Trial

The second in a series of posts on issues at the intersection of press freedom, religion, digital media and politics by Natasja Sheriff . Continue Reading →

Daily Links

Our very own Jo Piazza writes for the Wall Street Journal this week about how one New York synagogue is using the tactics of a political campaign adviser to increase its congregation size.

“The best declaration of conservative principles since the Sharon Statement signed at Bill Buckley’s home in 1960.”  Americans for a Conservative President has a winning list of principles–free markets, small government and God–taken straight out of the Buckley’s time.  The only thing missing from this new campaign’s list is Communism.

Zenit’s Director has been asked to resign, reportedly because the Legionaries of Christ, the group that sponsors the Catholic news service, wasn’t particularly pleased with Jesus Colina’s independence. Colina, who’s headed the service since 1997, has expressed dissatisfaction with the Legionaries lack of financial transparency and the way they’ve managed the sex abuse case of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, their founder.

Don’t forget to check frequencies daily, a joint project of The Immanent Frame and Killing the Buddha!  Today they have original art and Paul Christopher Johnson on spirituality through espresso.

The Guardian‘s mapped Anders Breivik’s media consumption.  It’s gorgeous and scary and fascinating.

Give it Away Now:  Wait, you mean “We Don’t Give Out Foreign Aid to Make People Like Us?”  If you conflate the idea of foreign aid with various religious concepts of charity, it makes sense.  Unless you conflate foreign aid with war, of course. Continue Reading →

Afghanistan: A Hit Close to Home

A more personal note: My sister writes this morning to tell me that her friend, Glen Lapp, a resident of our home county, Lancaster, and an aid worker for the Mennonite Central Committee, was killed in the Taliban ambush in Afghanistan last week.  Glen had been in Afghanistan for nearly two years and was slated to return home in October.  He was one of ten killed in the ambush.

Amidst the current climate of protest against a mosque at Ground Zero and “creeping Islamophobia,” it’s easy to be critical of evangelizing efforts to convert the heathen “Moslem” in the countries where we’re, as a nation, committed to war.  And yet, writes my sister, there’s a way to understand and do God’s work that doesn’t involve a crusading effort for conversion:  “He was so against trying to convert others to Christianity… and abhorred other Christians who did.  He was fully only there to help provide medical aid to those who needed it.”  Glenn’s story complicates the conflicting yet monolithic ideologies often applied to our responsibilities in Afghanistan (and the Middle East in general) by, in turn, neoconservatives like Newt Gingrich and progressive anti-war activists.

For more on Glen Lapp’s death, read here, here, here and here. Continue Reading →