Anti-Semitism: The Israel Factor
The Anti-Defamation League has released a worldwide survey of anti-Semitism. It’s an excellent resource, creating an index that can measure increases or decreases in prejudice against Jews. The most striking finding is a vastly higher rate of anti-Semitism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) than in the rest of the world. But much of this difference seems to be more about Israel than about Jews.
Raise the Retirement Age to 70
A timely idea is coming to us from the other side of the world. The idea is to raise the eligibility age for retirement benefits to 70.
Demographers and policy wonks have been talking about this idea for years. It’s based on the growth of life expectancy. In many countries, as things stand, the increasing number of years in which people draw benefits will overwhelm the unchanged number of years in which they’re paying into the system. The logical solution is to raise the retirement age, so that the benefit-drawing years are matched by an increase in the number of paying-in years.
The Tragedy of Donald Sterling
In his interview with CNN, aired last night, Donald Sterling insisted that the Los Angeles Clippers still loved him. Sterling’s host, Anderson Cooper, asked him why no players had come forward to defend him. Sterling replied that the controversy was too hot. “People are intimidated by even the thought of racism,” he said.
That’s true. These days, many people freak out over the slightest insinuation of racism. Part of Sterling’s problem is that he’s one of these people. He can’t stand the idea of anyone thinking he’s a racist. That’s what blinds him to his racism.
When Churches Do the Right Thing
Religious institutions are often viewed as instigators of conflict, oppression, and violence. That’s due in part to a natural media bias: Conflict makes news. It’s harder to notice the many ways in which churches and religious people work for peace and reconciliation. Here are three recent stories.
Make It Hurt
The bad news, as Slate’s Phil Plait explains, is that climate change isn’t a scenario anymore. It’s happening, and it’s inflicting pain across our country.
The good news is that pain is healthy. Seeing and feeling the damage we’re doing is what will finally make us deal with the problem.
Kenya’s Polygamy Problem
Americans are accustomed to a marriage debate between traditionalists and egalitarians. The traditionalists say marriage is the union of a man and a woman. The egalitarians say all marriages, gay or straight, should be treated the same. The egalitarians also ground their view in pluralism, arguing that the law should respect different ways of life.
In other parts of the world, however, these ideas aren’t always at odds. Traditional, equality, and pluralism sometimes converge. But they don’t converge in the way Americans might expect. What they converge on is polygamy.
Are Conservative Christians the New Queers?
Yesterday I wrote about the decline of antigay religion. The context was the recent Faith Angle conference at which speakers and participants discussed the shifting views of Catholics and evangelical Protestants on homosexuality. The one speaker who clearly reaffirmed his belief in the sinfulness of homosexual behavior was Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. ... What’s striking about Moore’s perspective is that he no longer sees gay people as the deviant minority. The deviants, in his view, are Christians.
The Soft Bigotry of Loose Exaltation
President Obama’s tenure is being memorialized in art, and not in the way his idolizers had hoped.
Sterling vs. Eich
Donald Sterling, Porch Racist
For years, people said Donald Sterling was a closet racist. Now, from an audio recording released by TMZ, we know that’s not true. Sterling isn’t a closet racist. He’s a porch racist, obsessed with maintaining the appearance of segregation.
Racists, like the people they stereotype, come in many varieties. Paula Deen’s version is coarseness. Cliven Bundy’s is ignorance. Sterling’s is cowardice. He has a long track record of bigotry. But again and again in the conversation with his girlfriend, Sterling—or a man who impersonates him perfectly, while the real Sterling mysteriously fails to deny that the voice is his—invokes society’s opinions. You have to practice racism, he argues, because otherwise people will think ill of you.