Culture Wars

Cultivating Civility: Can philosophical opposites get along?  Tired of polarizing rancor, food-fight media, and constant “gotcha” bickering?  Try befriending someone from the “other side” whose views differ greatly from your own.  You might learn lots.  We did.  (Short op-ed by Rusty Wright and Mark I. Pinsky)  Washington Examiner version.

The Odd Couple: Mark Pinsky and Rusty Wright on Steve Brown, Etc. nationally syndicated radio broadcast:  “Can people with differing religious and political views get along? Friends Mark Pinsky and Rusty Wright think so. …Steve and the gang chat with the veteran writers about their enduring, if unlikely, friendship and what we can learn from it.” Online video (41:24; scroll down page to access video) and audio (44:47).  Related article.

Cultivating Civility: Braver Angels aims at depolarization. It’s no secret that we live in a polarized world. Even if you ignore politics (good luck trying that), you’d also have to ignore entertainment news (exes or coworkers squabbling), sports news (rivals or teammates bickering), and social media (dislikes, trolls, goofs gone viral) to escape polarization. But one impressive group is trying to ratchet down fiery rhetoric by helping people have conversations. (Short op-ed)  Washington Examiner version. version

Birth of a Nation movie: Freedom fighter or domestic terrorist?  Into a nation boiling with racial conflict enters a film about an antebellum Bible-quoting Virginia slave whose revolt inspires many today to counter racial oppression.  Who was Nat Turner?  What did he accomplish, and why should we care?  (Short op-ed)

Global Warming and Hurricane Sandy.  Did global warming—human-induced climate change—cause or exacerbate Hurricane Sandy?  If you answer “no or “not sure,” are you a “science denier”?  (Short op-ed)

Tiananmen Leader’s Divine Cause.  Chinese student Chai Ling helped lead the massive 1989 demonstrations in Tiananmen Square that drew the world’s praise and her government’s wrath.  Twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, today this Harvard MBA is a successful businesswoman who still risks persecution to bring reform to China.  Her current activities might surprise you.  (Short op-ed)

October Baby movie:  Do you feel wanted?  For nineteen-year-old Hannah Lawson, that desire drives a quest to discover her real identity.  You see, she’s just learned that she was adopted, and the product of a failed abortion attempt.  (Short op-ed)

Evangelicals’ Image Problem.  God should have sued Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for defamation, says New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.  “Few words conjure as much distaste in liberal circles as ‘evangelical Christian,’” he writes.  So why does he sing evangelicals’ praises?  (Short op-ed)

Gay Mayor, Christians in Surprising Alliance.  Portland, Oregon, mayor Sam Adams gets “calls from mayors of liberal cities all across the United States asking me if I’ve been abducted by aliens.”  He tells them the churches and the city really do cooperate in social services and that “we’re better for it.”  (Short op-ed)

When Ted Kennedy Met Jerry Falwell.  When the lion of liberalism met the Moral Majority founder, some surprising, humorous, and positive things happened.  Insights on bridge building that could well inform today’s rancorous debates.  (Short op-ed)

Civil Discourse?  Tired of TV talking heads yelling at each other?  Exhausted/disgusted with debates and discussions that become food fights?  Lanny Davis, President Bill Clinton’s Special Counsel, has written an important book with sound advice for putting the “civil” back into “civil discourse.”  (Short op-ed)

Civil Discourse?  Tired of TV talking heads yelling at each other?  Exhausted/disgusted with debates and discussions that become food fights?  Consider inspiring stories of risk-takers who build bridges of understanding and communication across philosophical, political and religious lines.  Practical examples to help inform your own interaction with those with whom you differ.  (Probe radio series transcript.)

Is Anyone Listening?  Ever feel like you’re talking to a brick wall?  Conversation has been defined as “a vocal competition in which the one who is catching his breath is called the listener.”  A fun look at listening’s merits.  (Short op-ed)

Religious Right: Blinded by Might?  A look at a controversial book that warns of power’s seduction.  (Short op-ed)

Choosing AbortionWhen I met her at a media convention, she seemed so vibrant and alive, full of zest and eager to interact, an attractive woman with a bright smile and sparkling eyes.  I would not have guessed the emotional anguish and physical torment that lay in her past.  Gut wrenching stuff. (Short op-ed)  French  Portuguese

India’s Missing Girls and the Right to Choose, by Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi, PhD. Female infanticide and feticide in India’s patriarchal culture stir passions for equality and fairness but raise troubling questions.  Does favoring a woman’s right to choose logically imply that one supports her right to terminate a fetus simply because it is female? (Short op-ed)

Old Fashioned movie: 50 shades of nice.  Want an alluring love story for your Valentine’s Day movie date?  You have distinct options.  Much-discussed Fifty Shades of Grey is based on the erotic novel that’s drawn countless bookclubbers into lip-biting, toe-curling ecstasy by offering excitement, mystery, pleasure, bondage, and pain.  Old Fashioned takes, shall we say, a somewhat different approach to relationships.  Romance lives.  (Short op-ed)