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Religion and Politics

Preparing ground for apology

No, plans for a mosque in Mukilteo should not have been met with an initially anonymous campaign of postcards that, by its email address — — seemed to imply the Islamic Center...

Date: 04/26/2016 | Editorials

For Hillary Clinton, church offers a trusted comfort zone

PHILADELPHIA — Sunday mornings at Baptist churches fall right into Hillary Clinton’s comfort zone.

Date: 04/24/2016 | Nation & World

Muslims for Trump, though few, see past rhetoric, bluster

DETROIT — As a Donald Trump supporter, Nedal Tamer feels he’s in the minority among Muslim-Americans, comfortable with his choice yet somewhat confounded that he doesn’t have more company.

Date: 04/24/2016 | Nation & World

Lawsuit: Former student ousted over gay couple counseling

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A former Missouri State University graduate student says in a federal lawsuit that the school kicked him out of a master’s program three years after he said counseling gay couples violated his religious beliefs.

Date: 04/23/2016 | Nation & World

County’s diverse faiths called to defend religious liberty for all

It's just a postcard. And in some ways it is just a piece of paper. Yet we know it's not. It's a piece of paper that focused on a possible building of a mosque in Mukilteo and included an email address Mukilteostaysafe.Conversations need to take place. Those conversations...

Date: 04/23/2016 | Commentary

Opposition to mosque goes against our religious freedom

The growing volume of hateful speech and deplorable treatment of Muslims in our country is deeply disturbing. This country was founded on the principle that people can practice whatever religion they choose. We are stronger as a nation precisely because our Constitutio n guarantees...

Date: 04/23/2016 | Commentary

Mississippi now allows armed church members

JACKSON, Miss. — A holstered gun sat on top of a Bible on Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant’s desk Friday when he signed a law allowing guns in churches, which he said would help protect worshippers from potential attackers.

Date: 04/16/2016 | Nation & World

'Uncharted territory' in Mukilteo

Mosque supporters call for boycott of aerospace company

Date: 04/15/2016 | Local News

Aerospace exec opposes mosque

Head of key Boeing supplier linked to postcards in Mukilteo

Date: 04/14/2016 | Local News

North Carolina paying a price for ignorance

It's been a long while since South Carolina could look down upon its neighbor to the North.Thanks to North Carolina's anti-LGBT legislation (HB2), also referred to as the "bathroom bill," the state effectively has begun redefining itself from its long-popular...

Date: 04/14/2016 | Opinion Columnists

Would Sanders rather make a run for pope?

Imagine emerging from a rocky political week only to announce, as Bernie Sanders did, that, oh, by the way, the Vatican called. Actually, it was the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, but close enough, I suppose.Hillary Clinton thought bubble: He's Jewish for crying out...

Date: 04/11/2016 | Opinion Columnists

Do religious freedom laws protect liberty or bigotry?

The debate over religious liberty versus gay rights has flared up again. North Carolina recently passed a bill telling cities they can't pass non-discrimination ordinances protecting gay and lesbian residents, while Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a bill that let faith-based...

Date: 04/10/2016 | Commentary

Republicans will be asked: What did you do to stop Trump?

Now that Donald Trump has spoken before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group, Americans have learned the following:Trump can read a teleprompter; he finally got someone to write him a decent speech, which he was able to deliver...

Date: 03/23/2016 | Opinion Columnists

Finding a middle path to fight ISIS’s propaganda

MIAMI BEACH — One wouldn't call them bedfellows, strange or otherwise, but President Obama and Donald Trump are both inadvertently helping the Islamic State through rhetoric that is either too cautious or too rash.It shouldn't be difficult to discern which is which.

Date: 03/17/2016 | Opinion Columnists

Judaism means more than just the Holocaust

Bernie Sanders is the most successful Jewish candidate for the presidency ever. It's a rare sign of the health of our republic that no one seems to much care or even notice. Least of all, Sanders himself. Which prompted Anderson Cooper in a recent Democratic debate to ask...

Date: 03/11/2016 | Opinion Columnists

Context cools heat of battle of pope, Trump

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The popular wisdom that opposites attract is true in both romance and politics.But rarely do adages prove so profoundly — and absurdly — true as during the recent, media-created dialogue between Pope Francis and Donald Trump.Set...

Date: 02/21/2016 | Opinion Columnists

Holocaust survivors see the threat in hostility toward Muslims

Wednesday's International Holocaust Remembrance Day is always a somber time for Auschwitz survivor Irene Weiss. But this year's observance had an additional layer of grief: For the first time, Weiss is worried about her adopted homeland."I am exceptionally concerned...

Date: 01/29/2016 | Opinion Columnists

The Donald’s Letter to the Evangelicals

Two Corinthians, right? Two Corinthians 3:17. That's the whole ballgame. ... Is that the one? Is that the one you like? I think that's the one you like.— Donald Trump, preaching the gospel at Liberty University.The front-runner for the...

Date: 01/21/2016 | Opinion Columnists

Saudi insecurity led to clash with Iran

"Fragile" is the word that journalist Karen Elliott House used to describe Saudi Arabia in her 2012 book about the country. "Observing Saudi Arabia is like watching a gymnast dismount the balance beam in slow motion," she wrote. The world holds its breath...

Date: 01/06/2016 | Opinion Columnists

Civility, responsibility strengthen our freedoms

In 2015, America's increasingly crowded public square was often filled with hostility, becoming an angry arena where people shout past one another across religious and ideological divides.Incendiary rhetoric and personal attacks are now commonplace in culture war conflicts...

Date: 12/27/2015 | Commentary

Was 2015 a redder, bluer year for America?

The year is almost over, and an election looms. Is the country more divided now than it ever was? Can Americans find common ground on anything? Is there life beyond political squabbles? As 2015 comes to a close, Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, reflect on the...

Date: 12/27/2015 | Commentary

Santa needs to bring us some sanity before rage consumes our Christmas spirit

Santa, baby, just slip a little something useful under America’s Christmas tree.We don’t need hoverboards, Apple watches, drones or the pie face game.Our country needs courage. Reason. Sanity. But we’d settle for sedation.

Date: 12/24/2015 | Commentary

Rather than sow distrust, we need to start talking

When President Obama addressed the nation following the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, he reiterated the call to resist animus toward Muslims.This was a familiar message — the same we had heard from President George W. Bush following the 9/11 attacks. We aren't...

Date: 12/20/2015 | Opinion Columnists

GOP must abandon the bigots in its base

Editor's note: This column contains words and phrases that, while expurgated, still imply vulgarities and racial, religious and other epithets.A couple of weeks ago, I wrote: "Let's not mince words, Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist."I...

Date: 12/20/2015 | Opinion Columnists

When we treat Muslim Americans as ‘the other’

Marjan Ehsassi is American by choice — and, until recently, was fiercely proud of it.Born in Geneva to an Iranian diplomat who served under the shah, she grew up in Iran until the revolution made life there inhospitable for her family. She married an American, has two...

Date: 12/17/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Meet incident of intolerance with mercy

In the age of the cellphone camera, interactions that are best forgotten instead escalate and become chew toys for the chattering class. When a video goes viral, the public's sense of proportion often goes AWOL.It started last Sunday when San Franciscan Rasheed Albeshari,...

Date: 12/13/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Churches should reject fear and welcome world’s refugees

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." These words are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. The challenge is, will we live up to them? People from Africa and the Middle East desperately seeking refuge from persecution and...

Date: 12/12/2015 | Commentary

Carson secures an early key endorsment: God Almighty

God has blessed America with great bounty during the 2016 Republican presidential contest, and now, with debate finally turning to the long-neglected question of who built Egypt's pyramids, our cup runneth over.Ben Carson, the nominal front-runner, last week restated his...

Date: 11/13/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Of football prayers and gotcha questions

Here are some random thoughts.

Date: 11/11/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Netanyahu may have turned Jewish Americans against him

Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't do regret.Earlier this year, the Israeli prime minister did more than any of his predecessors over nearly 70 years to turn his country into a partisan political issue in the United States. In his speech to Congress and in other venues, he fought...

Date: 11/11/2015 | Opinion Columnists

6 Republican 2016 hopefuls woo faithful at Texas megachurch

PLANO, Texas — A half-dozen Republican presidential hopefuls worked to woo thousands of evangelicals at a Texas megachurch in suburban Dallas on Sunday, declaring their unwavering support for "religious liberty" even after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage and...

Date: 10/18/2015 | Nation & World

Faith without fear

Lynnwood woman relishes freedom of religion

Date: 10/17/2015 | Local News

Dissecting Ben Carson’s take on Constitution

You know what they say: Running for president isn't brain surgery. And now a renowned neurosurgeon is demonstrating that getting through medical school must not be, either. (I made it, after all.) But how is it that he, plus every Republican doctor in Congress, manages to be so...

Date: 09/30/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Pope reminds: We are in this together

"God bless America" sounds banal coming from politicians but profound when spoken by the shepherd of 1.2 billion souls. In his historic address to Congress, Pope Francis delivered a blessing of encouragement, not admonition — and spoke powerfully about the hot-button...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Pope Francis inspires us to be better people, a better nation

"Oh, so you drank the Kool-Aid," my neighbor superciliously sneered from the stoop he occupies each afternoon to sip wine and critique people's parking skills on our beloved Olive Street.I did, I confessed. I grabbed the pope's chalice, gulped it down and asked...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Congress should listen to pope, Boehner

Even by John Boehner's usual standard of lachrymosity, Thursday was a gusher.The House speaker shed a few tears while watching Pope Francis address a joint meeting of Congress. When he escorted the pontiff to the West Front of the Capitol to bless the masses below, Boehner...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

What the pope can teach Xi, Obama, Putin

Pope Francis and Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in America this week the same way, making a slow descent down an airplane ramp toward a waiting entourage. Watching the two, you couldn't help wondering: Which man is more powerful in the world today?Francis is arguably...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Heed the pope and cooperate

Uncertainty, thy name is Congress.With only days remaining — hours, really — to avoid a shutdown of the federal government, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced Friday that he will step down from his post and leave Congress all together. His resignation,...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Editorials

Have faith that voters won’t tolerate bigotry

We have a problem in this country — it's called Donald Trump and Ben Carson. But fortunately we have a solution — it's called voters.Last Thursday, Trump, still the leader in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, didn't quarrel with a questioner at...

Date: 09/23/2015 | Opinion Columnists

We’ve got a problem, all right: It’s the ignoramuses

In the spirit of charity prompted by Pope Francis' visit to the U.S., let's not call them bigots.Let's just call them the clueless, the incurious, the moronic, the dull. In short, ignoramuses.I refer to those Republican wits who unconscionably demonize a swath of...

Date: 09/23/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Anti-Muslim rhetoric would appall nation's founders

The founders of this nation recognized Islam as one of the world's great faiths. Incredibly and disgracefully, much of today's Republican Party disagrees.Thomas Jefferson, whose well-worn copy of the Quran is in the Library of Congress, fought to ensure that the American...

Date: 09/22/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Pope Francis makes it an exciting time to be Catholic

Last month Pope Francis made a historic visit via satellite feed to Chicago's Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, where he reminded those of us in attendance that Catholic faith and education are capable of updating themselves.Not surprisingly, he spoke about social...

Date: 09/06/2015 | Commentary

No church? Kansas civil servant is fired

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A lawsuit filed against the Kansas secretary of state's office in federal court alleges that Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker fired a woman because she would not attend a Christian religious service.Courtney Canfield, who previously worked as...

Date: 08/20/2015 | Nation & World

A Polish Jew reaches out to save Syrian Christians

Christianity, whose presence in the Middle East predates Islam's by 600 years, is about to be cleansed from the Middle East. Egyptian Copts may have found some respite under Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, but after their persecution under the previous Muslim Brotherhood government, they know how...

Date: 07/31/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Switch to civil unions would resolve debate

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states must recognize same-sex marriages, dissenting Chief Justice John Roberts wondered whether polygamy will be next. Some legal scholars have responded that yes, the arguments for gay marriage could apply to relationships among more than two...

Date: 07/28/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Don’t change cannabis buffers

Only a week after setting its regulations and zoning for operation of marijuana businesses, the Everett City Council may be asked to reconsider one aspect of the rules: the rejection of a proposed 1,000-foot buffer...

Date: 07/15/2015 | Editorials

After gay marriage, can we move from battleground to common ground?

In recent years, religious freedom — or, more precisely, religious-freedom claims — have been front and center in the battle over same-sex marriage.From bitter debates in Arizona and Indiana to the grand compromise in Utah, proponents and opponents have shouted...

Date: 07/12/2015 | Commentary

With marriage and liberty for all

Viewpoints: Does court's ruling threaten religious liberty?

Date: 07/05/2015 | Commentary

More reasons to limit carbon

The justifications for taking real and effective steps to slow climate change and limit the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere continue to mount.Recent studies and events now add to the warnings and recommendations about the threat to our...

Date: 06/24/2015 | Editorials

Pope’s climate stance political not spiritual

Pope Francis released an encyclical Thursday on climate change — a draft of which was leaked to the Italian magazine l'Espresso on Monday. The New York Times reports that the encyclical is "eagerly awaited, especially by scientists and environmentalists" —...

Date: 06/21/2015 | Opinion Columnists

'Our common home'

Viewpoints: Pope Francis calls for action on climate change

Date: 06/21/2015 | Commentary

All are welcome

Edmonds church reconciles to include LGBT

Date: 06/20/2015 | Local News

Volunteer quits Young Life over ban on gay leaders

SNOHOMISH — A woman here is standing up for what she believes is right.Pam Elliott, a volunteer leader for Young Life Snohomish, is leaving the evangelical Christian ministry after being asked to...

Date: 06/11/2015 | Local News

1 reason ­— and counting — to separate religion, politics

Several years ago, I heard Republican strategist Karl Rove give a most eloquent answer to a question about his faith, rendered here from memory:"Faith is a gift that, unfortunately, I have not received."I feel the same way about reality shows.

Date: 06/01/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Why is GOP infatuated with the Duggars?

Why did Republicans embrace the Duggars in the first place?Rick Santorum no longer digs the Duggars.Back in 2012, I watched the Republican presidential candidate campaign in Iowa alongside Jim Bob Duggar and several of his many children — the celebrity...

Date: 06/01/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Suspensions revoked for teen who preached at Cascade High School

EVERETT — A Cascade High School senior who was suspended three times for loudly preaching at the school has had his suspensions erased from his record by a federal judge.The student, Michael Leal, was disciplined after...

Date: 05/30/2015 | Local News

Religious rights

UW prof explores how religions treat human beings

Date: 05/23/2015 | Local News

Pope or Palin? You decide

A columnist for The Guardian newspaper, Kristina Keneally, a self-described "progressive Catholic" accuses Pope Francis of being nothing...

Date: 05/18/2015 | Editorials

Freedom best antidote to counter Islamic State

WASHINTON, D.C. -- As Arab leaders gather for discussions at Camp David this week, the Obama administration is quietly debating a revision of its strategy against the Islamic State to reflect a U.S. assessment that the terrorist group poses a global threat.Given the swirling...

Date: 05/13/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Respect for faith a casualty of presidential campaign

It is nearly axiomatic that presidential contests tend to shine a harsh light on conservative Christians — inasmuch as they are viewed as the Republican Party's base and are, therefore, deemed fair game.Of course, religious folks come in a variety of stripes, checks...

Date: 05/13/2015 | Opinion Columnists

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