Hong Kong’s population includes an estimated 7.5 million people, approximately two million of whom participated at the height of the protests that have grabbed world-wide attention.
At one point earlier this week, something quite amazing happened: The sea of protesters parted to allow an ambulance to get to somebody in distress. As the ambulance passed by, the protesters reformed their ranks.
In a 7-2 decision with Justice Samuel Alito writing the opinion for the majority, the Supreme Court said Thursday that a Maryland memorial dedicated to the memories of 49 local residents who died in World War I does not violate the Constitution simply because a cross is its most prominent feature.
“For nearly a century, the Bladensburg Cross has expressed the community’s grief at the loss of the young men who perished, its thanks for their sacrifice, and its dedication to the ideals for which they fought,” said Alito, one of the High Court’s most conservative members.
“It has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many, not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of ‘a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions,’” Alito said.
The latter statement quoted from a concurring decision written by liberal Justice Stephen Breyer.
Alito also wrote that “the Religion Clauses of the Constitution aim to foster a society in which people of all beliefs can live together harmoniously, and the presence of the Bladensburg Cross on the land where it has stood for so many years is fully consistent with that aim.”
In today’s hyper-charged environment, these type of statements are becoming more frequent. It’s understandable how one would react when hearing something like this. For me, a sense of indignation, fear, and anger are the emotions I typically feel.
Things get ugly when permission to speak depends upon whether the hearer agrees with what is said
A recent keynote speaker at the Harvard University Art & Science Faculty Conference on Diversity told his Twitter followers in 2015 that people who base their spiritual beliefs on the Hebrew scriptures should be “locked up.”
Author and speaker Tim Wise went on in that tweet, saying “people basing their beliefs on the fable of Noah and the Ark, or their interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah … rather than science or logic … If you are basing your morality on a fairy tale written thousands of years ago, you deserve to be locked up … detained for your utter inability to deal with reality … NO, we are not obligated to indulge your irrationality in the name of your religious freedom …”
Wise undoubtedly thinks everybody else — including those who accept the Hebrew scriptures and all other “fairy tales” — absolutely are obligated to respect his spiritual beliefs or lack thereof.
Proponents of atheism like Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking and Sam Harris have become prominent public figures, thanks to their intelligence and debating skills, science knowledge and formidable public presences.
They are helping prompt the renewal of a much-needed public debate in the U.S. and Europe on the Theory of Everything (TOE) questions: Why is there something rather than nothing, why does the universe exist, why are human beings in it, and what happens to us after we die?
It’s hard to imagine how any of us would react in the instant of a trial, but two Iranian followers of Jesus Christ know for themselves, as they reportedly refused two judges’ order to renounce their faith earlier this month.
“Iranian Christians Saheb Fadaie and Fatemeh Bakhteri were asked by presiding judges Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar to renounce their faith, but refused to do so” during a January 15 trial, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
It’s a truism heard often these days that “all roads lead to God, whether you believe in Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Confucius, the Hindu pantheon, Bahai or …” on and on it goes.
As it happens, Jesus is the only one of this all-star lineup of claimants to deity who claimed absolute exclusivity, as He did at John 14:6, saying “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.”
What if Jesus is right? Professor Sean McDowell has the answer to that question. (Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash)