The Problem of First Person Authority

If you’ve paid attention to the news in the US over the past week or so, you’ll know that a bomber was loose in Austin, Texas, and that the suspect was cornered by authorities the other day and blew himself up. Continue reading

The Effects of “Bad Religion”

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By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She is now working on her M.A. in Religious Studies at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

Many of you may be following, or at least aware of, Rowan, KY county clerk Kim Davis denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the recent Supreme Court ruling (on June 26, 2015) that legalized same-sex marriage across the United States. In the days following Davis’s refusal to cooperate, I have seen a lot of “bad religion” claims being made on social media and news media sites — i.e., claims by some that she exhibits an improper or inauthentically religious position. It has also since come out in the press that Davis has been married four times and had an affair with one man whom she eventually married. So what strikes me as interesting are the types of reactions and articles I have seen while scrolling through Facebook, seeking to invalidate her: she’s a hypocrite, she’s playing fast and loose with the Bible, her “personal beliefs” are infringing on others’, as a divorcée and adulterer she has no moral high ground — the list goes on. Continue reading

“A Reluctance to Put the Religious Label”

Picture 2Did you hear about the White House summit this past week? It was in the news a fair bit and was on “countering violent extremism” — not just those attributed to Muslims but, because such adjectives as Islamic or Jihadist are often glued pretty tightly, at least in some North American and European media and politics, to the words violence or terrorism, that angle on the event has received a lot of attention. Continue reading

Terrorism or Trauma?

Picture 3Alyssa MacDougall, who earned an undergraduate degree in the study of religion and philosophy at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, is now a master’s student in media studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. Her thesis research is focused on the effects of framing of Muslims in the western media. If you’re interested in her musings about her two cats, religion, media and graduate life, you can find her on twitter under the handle @alyssamacd.

On February 10th, 2015, three generous, intelligent people were murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They were students and avid volunteers. The man charged with their murder is their 46-year-old neighbor, reportedly upset over a parking dispute with the victims.

It should be entirely irrelevant that the victims were Muslim, given that their deaths were violent and unnecessary no matter their religion. Unfortunately, to the media, it isn’t; their religion will entirely change how their murder is memorialized in the news. Continue reading

Carry On, They’re Just Misfits

halifaxattackplotDid you catch this Canadian news story today? I’ve heard it discussed on the radio all morning, during each half hour news update, and what’s curious is how National Public Radio’s report just phrased it: according to investigators, it was the plan of “a group of murderous misfits, not Islamic terrorists,” as the newsreader just said. Continue reading

Create Your Own Identity

welcome-to-queens-2 On Oct. 23, a “hatchet-wielding” man attacked and wounded several police officers in New York City (Queens). Naturally, media outlets immediately started speculating about what could have prompted this man to carry out such a horrific attack. According to several accounts, the man was a recent convert to Islam who had “self-radicalized.” The New York Times headline reads: Capture The article goes on to paint a portrait of this lone wolf who was “self-directed in his activities”: Continue reading