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Why Has the Critique of Hypocrisy Run Out of Steam?

…we were witnessing its bad faith co-option by political forces intent on muddying the difference between the true and the false, on questioning the premise of what was called, in another context, “the reality-based community.” The critique of hypocrisy has run out of steam for a similar reason. The higher and shared moral principles on which the critique of hypocrisy rests are wielded by bad faith actors who do not themselves share the principles….

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Why Has the Critique of Hypocrisy Run Out of Steam?

…we were witnessing its bad faith co-option by political forces intent on muddying the difference between the true and the false, on questioning the premise of what was called, in another context, “the reality-based community.” The critique of hypocrisy has run out of steam for a similar reason. The higher and shared moral principles on which the critique of hypocrisy rests are wielded by bad faith actors who do not themselves share the principles….

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Thoreau’s Ferocious Critique of Philanthropy Does Not Make Him “Selfish”

…as that we give because it soothes our own pain. “I believe that what so saddens the reformer is not his sympathy with his fellows in distress, but, though he be the holiest son of God, is his private ail.” Philanthropy is driven, on this view, by the relief it offers the giver as a kind of penance. Contemporary social scientific work on charity supports Thoreau’s claim that giving is often a balm for the giver as much as an aid to the receiver. A…

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Kanye West’s Critique of Prosperity Preaching

…eois sensibility, and the album put the lie to the myth that hip hop and middle-class identity are mutually exclusive. In fact, on the track “All Falls Down,” Kanye performed an overdose of the proverbial “conspicuous consumption” as he rapped: I wanna act ballerific like it’s all terrific I got a couple past due bills, I won’t get specific I got a problem with spending before I get it We all self conscious, I’m just the first to admit it “Jesus W…

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However Dull or Ham-Fisted, TV is not Oppressing Mormons — In Fact, We Have a Duty to Scrutinize Religious Institutions That Endanger Vulnerable People

…make a spectacle of religious sex abuse while doing little if anything to address or disrupt the root causes. Not Alone Religion doesn’t cause abuse, no matter what Under the Banner of Heaven wants you to believe. At the same time, powerful religious institutions often allow abuse to flourish while denying its all-too-frequent occurrence. Religious institutions like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can accrue such power because the…

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French Theologian Urges Islam to Self-Critique, Fails to Notice Log in Own Eye

…e the silence. He went on to say the students “considered that it was forbidden to make blasphemies or insult the prophet through drawings or speech.” Many teachers – shocked and speechless – found themselves unable to engage. These new measures, which aim to support teachers and inculcate Republican virtues, include a “zero tolerance” policy towards behaviors that denigrate the values of the Republic, forms of punishment whose goal is to integrat…

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Rapture Theology as Cultural Critique: What Camping’s Prediction Tells Us About Ourselves

…k Times focused their coverage of the prediction through the lens of the Haddad family. The parents actively prepared for the end on May 21, while the kids thought the whole thing ridiculous (but got a trip to New York out of it). Inadvertently, their coverage revealed what rapture and other religious rhetorics can produce: social and familial re-engineering. Harold Camping’s prediction, upon which it is so easy to heap contempt, nevertheless succ…

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How to Separate Jewishness from Zionism

…t narratives always existed, both in Europe and the U.S., from Bundists, Yiddishists, German nationalists, universalist and internationalists of various stripes, Marxists, American assimilationists (i.e. classical Reform Judaism), ultra-Traditionalists from Aguddat Yisrael, to Habad, to various communities of Hungarian Orthodoxy now largely coalesced around Satmar Hasidism. These movements all contested the narrative of Jewish identity encapsulate…

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A Portrait of Islamophobia?

…like many other minority groups, have become accustomed to not being included in the conceptualization of Americanness, with Trump’s anti-Muslim, anti-Latinx, anti-immigrant campaign just being the most blatant example. When the media descended on the home of the San Bernardino shooters, it clearly lacked any restraint or sensitivity. I don’t recall a similar situation following the Charleston massacre or other white terrorist mass shootings. Sar…

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Please Stop Using Islam to Critique the Abortion Ban: It Only Excuses the Very Christian, Very White Roots of Anti-Choice Movements

…men in black “pray[ing] for Texas women,” or embraced by fist bumping, bearded men (one in a turban and the other in a cowboy hat) have gone viral. These tags and images show how Islam and Muslims continue to be used in America as short-hand for misogyny, barbarism, and oppression. As a Muslim woman living in Texas opposed to SB 8, and as a scholar of Islam, I can confidently say that these comparisons do far more harm than good. Not only do they…

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