Think again.

April 24 2014 5:57 PM

Anti-Semitism: The Numbers

Yesterday I wrote about the exaggeration and exploitation of anti-Semitism. I discussed three cases: 1) the shooting of three people at two Jewish facilities in Kansas, 2) the campaign against a U.N. official for alleged anti-Jewish bias, and 3) an anti-Semitic flyer in Ukraine. With regard to the Kansas shooting, I cited data from the FBI and the Anti-Defamation League showing that anti-Semitic hate crimes have been declining in the U.S. ... [But] These data don’t address trends in Europe or elsewhere. And the data in Europe are much more complicated.


April 21 2014 4:46 PM

Creationism, Evolution, and Antibiotics

Do Americans believe in evolution? That depends on who’s evolving. According to a new Associated Press poll, only a slight majority believes that humans evolved through natural selection. But almost 90 percent of respondents believe that bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics. And that belief is far more important.

April 20 2014 10:53 AM

Obama, Biden, and Gay Marriage

In the days since Brendan Eich quit Mozilla, supporters of same-sex marriage have debated the wisdom of using pressure to punish their opponents. Eich, an executive with no known record of antigay bias in the workplace, was forced out for having donated $1,000 to the 2008 campaign for Proposition 8, a ballot measure that said California would recognize marriage only between a man and a woman.

One way to cut through debates like this one is to set aside the rhetoric and look at a real-life case in which progress toward same-sex marriage was achieved. In today’s New York Times Magazine, Jo Becker, the author of Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, tells such a story. It’s about President Obama and Vice President Biden. The story suggests that pressure is important but that partial acceptance is natural, persuasion is central, and progress is incremental.

April 12 2014 7:33 AM

The Bear in the Woods

A month after seizing and annexing Crimea—and with thousands of troops still massed on its border with Ukraine—Russia says it’s being unfairly portrayed as a menace.

"The constant accusations against us by [NATO’s] secretary general convince us that the alliance is trying to use the crisis in Ukraine to rally its ranks in the face of an imaginary external threat,” protests Russia’s foreign ministry. Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister, says NATO is catering to the “absolutely groundless fears, phobias and ambitions of a minority of its country members.”

April 9 2014 2:42 PM

Coming Out Is Contagious

First it was Jason Collins. Then Michael Sam. Now Derrick Gordon.

One openly gay athlete leads to another, and another, and another. Collins is in the NBA. Sam, a college football player, is trying out for the NFL. Gordon, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, came out today as the first openly gay player in Division I men’s basketball .

April 8 2014 4:28 PM

Is Brendan Eich Queer?

Ross Douthat recognizes what I was trying to get at yesterday: Brendan Eich’s ouster is in some ways a model for what religious conservatives would like to do in their own communities. They want the freedom to invoke their values in the appointment and removal of officers whose views offend them.

Liberals For Eich, meet Conservatives For Mozilla.

April 7 2014 9:04 AM

Brendan Eich and the New Moral Majority

Many self-styled liberals are celebrating Brendan Eich’s resignation as CEO of Mozilla. They say the company had every right to remove Eich for supporting a 2008 referendum campaign against gay marriage. It’s a matter of free enterprise and community standards, they argue. ...

The argument should sound familiar. It has been used for decades to justify antigay workplace discrimination.

April 2 2014 3:34 PM

Is the Campaign Against “Judaization” Anti-Semitic?

The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have blown up again. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, unhappy with Israel’s failure to release Palestinian prisoners as part of the negotiations, has applied for membership in international agencies, circumventing the U.S. and Israel. Secretary of State John Kerry has responded by canceling his trip to the Middle East. Meanwhile, Israel is soliciting bids from contractors for more settlement construction in east Jerusalem.

April 1 2014 1:01 PM

Does Sex Surgery Defy God’s Will?

When a person is born with a male body but a female psyche, is his body a divine gift to be respected? Or is her body a birth defect, an error by her creator? does sex-reassignment surgery overturn God's will?

Kim Seok-Kwun, a doctor who pioneered gender surgery in South Korea, struggles with these questions in an interview with the Associated Press...

March 31 2014 1:22 PM

Why Pro-Lifers Kill

The death-penalty drug fight has engulfed a third state. First it was Texas. Then Oklahoma. Now Louisiana.

On Thursday, a panel of federal judges refused Louisiana’s request to conceal its execution drug formula and drug supplier from inmates the state was preparing to kill. On Friday night, the Louisiana Department of Corrections gave in. It will accept the court’s ruling.

The further this fight spreads, the clearer the pattern becomes: States that practice capital punishment, and fight to hide the identities of their lethal drugs and suppliers, are the same states that restrict abortion in the name of life.