Blog

Human Rights: There Is No “Them,” Only “Us”

Tolerance

December 7, 2018

Human Rights: There Is No “Them,” Only “Us”

Enough people got so tired of living in a country that treated them like prisoners, and the system became so unworkable, that...

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Lessons I Learned Growing Up Mormon

Religious Literacy

December 6, 2018

Lessons I Learned Growing Up Mormon

I grew up in the south, where hair is big and religion is bigger: mega-church big. Mormons were different. Not the wearing-black-and-avoiding-ornament...

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“Not in Our Town”—The Miracle of Magic City

“Not in Our Town”—The Miracle of Magic City

That night, six more homes with menorahs, along with a Methodist church donning the same, were vandalized. But more menorahs...

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How Science Helped Me Find More Religion

Religious Literacy

December 4, 2018

How Science Helped Me Find More Religion

“How can genetic testing tell you your religion, anyway?” you might ask. 23andMe can’t tell that I’m a Scientologist....

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A New Years’ Ode to Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom

December 3, 2018

A New Years’ Ode to Religious Freedom

One of my personal goals in 2018 has been to speak out, loudly and as often as necessary, to protect my religion, Scientology,...

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And That is Respect

Tolerance

November 28, 2018

And That is Respect

We would have dinner and spend the rest of the night talking till the wee hours about religion—he from his perspective and...

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The “Church” of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its Debt to the Quakers

Tolerance

November 27, 2018

The “Church” of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its Debt to the Quakers

Imagine yourself at your local DMV office renewing your driver’s license. You’ve spent several hours filling out forms,...

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What You Can Do About Ignorance and Hate

Combating Bigotry & Hate

November 26, 2018

What You Can Do About Ignorance and Hate

We do not have to hate each other, we do not have to fight, we do not have to natter and criticize and we do not have to be...

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Thanksgiving—And Why I’m Grateful for the Chance to Help

Tolerance

November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving—And Why I’m Grateful for the Chance to Help

When we care for and nurture others, when we know that life is about what we DO not what we own, and when we can care more...

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The Space Between Us

Tolerance

November 18, 2018

The Space Between Us

So you were right all along. All that “no man is an island” stuff is true, after all. You bother me or yell at me or snub...

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Big Bigotry Goes Mainstream: Remini & Disney Attack Jehovah’s Witnesses

Combating Bigotry & Hate

November 15, 2018

Big Bigotry Goes Mainstream: Remini & Disney Attack Jehovah’s Witnesses

How exactly do you ask, in politically correct terms: “What religious group can we profit from the most by misrepresenting...

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Men of Goodwill

Tolerance

October 29, 2018

Men of Goodwill

The world can be very cruel. Certainly if you sit back and let mass media and pop culture swamp you, it can seem that way....

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How Hateful Lies Can Destroy Others’ Lives

Tolerance

October 29, 2018

How Hateful Lies Can Destroy Others’ Lives

We must all be vigilant for the fabricated, evil and false accusations that can hurt both individuals and communities.

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The Smear

Media & Ethics

October 26, 2018

The Smear

Through this book, one comes to realize that mainstream news is simply what someone has paid to get placed in front of you.

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Carpool of DEATH!!

Tolerance

October 25, 2018

Carpool of DEATH!!

In truth, you have FAR more reason to be terrified of death by carpool. The odds are way higher that you’ll be a carpool...

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Hang Together or we Shall All Hang Separately

Hang Together or we Shall All Hang Separately

We find that religion in general is under increased attack by the media, but mainstream religion still enjoys a certain level...

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The Unity That Disaster Handling Brings

Religious Literacy

October 21, 2018

The Unity That Disaster Handling Brings

I don’t think that there could have been a more appropriate song for us to sing that morning, for truly, it was amazing...

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The Media: “We Have Met The Enemy And It Is Us”

Media & Ethics

October 17, 2018

The Media: “We Have Met The Enemy And It Is Us”

Every time you share a meme or a column or a podcast or a video that you like or agree with, YOU become media.

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Walt Disney Would be Appalled that the Company he Founded is Inciting Religious Hate

Media & Ethics

October 17, 2018

Walt Disney Would be Appalled that the Company he Founded is Inciting Religious Hate

If Walt were alive today there’s no question Remini’s show would never exist on one of his networks.

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How to Fight Fake News in the Post-Journalism Era

How to Fight Fake News in the Post-Journalism Era

There are still plenty of problems to fix in the world, but stupefying viewers with incessant catastrophes on a 24-hour news...

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Leah Remini—the TV Personality Who Makes Disney’s Biggest Villains Look Like Tinkerbell!

Leah Remini—the TV Personality Who Makes Disney’s Biggest Villains Look Like Tinkerbell!

Just like in any Disney movie, the villain always loses in the end, winding up with egg on his or her face. Visibly, this...

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The Not-So-Magical Magic Kingdom

Media & Ethics

October 10, 2018

The Not-So-Magical Magic Kingdom

Why “family friendly” Disney would risk its reputation by sponsoring a hate show against a religious group begins to make...

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Fake News Isn’t News and It Isn’t New

Media & Ethics

October 2, 2018

Fake News Isn’t News and It Isn’t New

Some years ago, my local Church of Scientology was in a legal battle with an individual who was violating the law. We took...

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Disney Has a Problem

Media & Ethics

September 30, 2018

Disney Has a Problem

As a sad testimony to the bloodthirstiness of a portion of America’s viewing public, Remini’s show had a few people watching...

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Desensitizing Hate: A Scientologist’s Perspective

Tolerance

September 29, 2018

Desensitizing Hate: A Scientologist’s Perspective

But rather than focusing on what we don’t like about others, we should look for ways to accept—even admire—our differences.

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If Even Saints are Smeared by the Media, Can We Believe What We Read?

Media & Ethics

September 28, 2018

If Even Saints are Smeared by the Media, Can We Believe What We Read?

Surely Mother Teresa, who received the Nobel Prize in 1979 and was made a saint in 2016 would be a perfect candidate. To my...

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How Young Is Too Young to Learn About Bigotry?

Tolerance

September 21, 2018

How Young Is Too Young to Learn About Bigotry?

I was moved by a recent articulate, thoughtful article about how to prepare your children for the evil that exists in the...

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LAist Breakfast: Journalism With a Side of the Same Old Diatribe

Media & Ethics

September 21, 2018

LAist Breakfast: Journalism With a Side of the Same Old Diatribe

If Sofia Kercher had decided to be honest with Scientology Celebrity Center International about her intentions during her...

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How Religion Improves Lives and Why Bigots Oppose It

Religious Freedom

September 20, 2018

How Religion Improves Lives and Why Bigots Oppose It

Growing up as an agnostic, John did not give religious matters too much thought. Nor did he assess his actions against any...

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A Word of Advice From Someone Who Used to Love Disney

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 20, 2018

A Word of Advice From Someone Who Used to Love Disney

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of Disney, I am sure you have seen the stats in Hollywood. People are tuning out in droves. Hollywood...

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Race, Religion & Bridges to Understanding

Tolerance

September 20, 2018

Race, Religion & Bridges to Understanding

A group of almost 600 people, mostly African-Americans, gather on a road leading east out of a small southern town. They begin...

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Why Tolerance Is Not Enough. #respectfaith

Tolerance

September 20, 2018

Why Tolerance Is Not Enough. #respectfaith

When I was a child in France, the word “culte” just meant “worship.” Still does. In fact, when intolerant types there...

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Disney & Remini: You Picked a Bad Time to Be Haters

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 14, 2018

Disney & Remini: You Picked a Bad Time to Be Haters

Out of touch. That’s how haters like Leah Remini can be described. Like all bigots and bullies, she is even proud of being...

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One Thing You (Few) Haters Don’t Know About Us

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 13, 2018

One Thing You (Few) Haters Don’t Know About Us

Hey haters! I know you tend to think you’re pretty sharp. That you know everything we’ll say and do before we say and...

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The Definition of Hate

Tolerance

September 13, 2018

The Definition of Hate

Just as the only thing we need to fear is Fear itself, so the only thing truly worth hating is Hate. And since Hate equals...

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Finding Solace in the Tajikistan Bicycle Attack

Tolerance

September 12, 2018

Finding Solace in the Tajikistan Bicycle Attack

While this world has a history of vicious intolerance—one it sometimes appears may continue forever—I see signs that there...

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Religious Tolerance and Growing up in Brooklyn

Tolerance

September 12, 2018

Religious Tolerance and Growing up in Brooklyn

The question becomes: how can we maintain and express our deep-seated religious beliefs and practices without becoming intolerant...

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Cyrus the Great and the Roots of Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom

September 12, 2018

Cyrus the Great and the Roots of Religious Freedom

You’ve probably never heard of Cyrus the Great, but if you admire and enjoy freedom of religion, freedom from slavery, and...

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Our Outraged Society

Tolerance

September 10, 2018

Our Outraged Society

We are supposed to be living in an enlightened age, but instead we seem to be devolving into a society of bullies who, ironically,...

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An Open Letter to the Executives of Disney and A&E

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 5, 2018

An Open Letter to the Executives of Disney and A&E

I have been a structural and specialty contractor for almost half a century and have helped build several of the very Disney...

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Why I Know Walt Disney Would Be Ashamed

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 5, 2018

Why I Know Walt Disney Would Be Ashamed

I remember two things about Walt: one was that he was really tall and the other was that he was the kindest man I had ever...

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What Do You Mean by “God?”

Tolerance

September 3, 2018

What Do You Mean by “God?”

Man’s entire history has, to a large degree, centered on the question of God. Wars have been fought, families torn apart,...

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation: Attacking Those Who Help

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 2, 2018

The Freedom From Religion Foundation: Attacking Those Who Help

Why attack or defame that level of commitment? Why would the FFRF see this as a threat to their organization? To humanity?...

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To Remini, Rinder, et al: Don’t Be a Leech

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 1, 2018

To Remini, Rinder, et al: Don’t Be a Leech

Why would anyone devote their life to tearing someone else down? In the last 45 years I’ve seen such people pop up occasionally,...

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Disney: How Do I Explain Bigotry to My Granddaughter?

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 1, 2018

Disney: How Do I Explain Bigotry to My Granddaughter?

Perhaps I could tell her that the movie characters she admires—those who stand up for their beliefs, who overcome obstacles...

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Disney & Remini: A “Tangled” Story of Lies and Doublespeak

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 1, 2018

Disney & Remini: A “Tangled” Story of Lies and Doublespeak

Even the cynical staff at Disney and A&E would recognize that they had gone too far if Remini attacked their church, their...

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Disney and A&E: It’s a Small (-Minded) World

Disney and A&E: It’s a Small (-Minded) World

I find it difficult to envision Walt Disney trying to make a buck by inciting anti-religious witch hunts. However, if current...

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What a Catholic Taught Me About Civil Discourse

Tolerance

August 26, 2018

What a Catholic Taught Me About Civil Discourse

Sometimes YOU (not the other guy) are the one who has to change. I’ve learned that many times in my life.

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From Bambi to Bigotry: Disney’s Steep Fall

From Bambi to Bigotry: Disney’s Steep Fall

My sons were raised on Disney. We watched movies like Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Toy Story, over and over and...

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Humanity’s Continuing Belief in God and the Soul

Religious Literacy

August 25, 2018

Humanity’s Continuing Belief in God and the Soul

A recently released report by the Pew Research Center showed that Americans are much more likely to be actively religious...

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What Is It That Bigots Hate? That You Communicate.

What Is It That Bigots Hate? That You Communicate.

When you look at bigotry (or more succinctly “hate”) as one person’s desire to ensure the target of the bigotry stops...

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In the World of Crisis Headlines, Is Philosophy a Waste of Time?

Religious Literacy

August 15, 2018

In the World of Crisis Headlines, Is Philosophy a Waste of Time?

Philosophy is one of those topics that seems to belong in some ivy-covered building being discussed by men in vests who punctuate...

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Is Religious Intolerance the First Step Toward the Decline of a Civilization?

Religious Literacy

August 13, 2018

Is Religious Intolerance the First Step Toward the Decline of a Civilization?

The Roman Empire was the largest and most powerful empire this planet had ever seen… And all through the remains of this...

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The Thai Cave Rescue—A Buddhist “Miracle?”

Religious Literacy

August 13, 2018

The Thai Cave Rescue—A Buddhist “Miracle?”

Millions of people across the world, including myself, followed this saga as it unfolded with bated breath.

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This Year’s Heroes Against Hate—The Real All-Stars

This Year’s Heroes Against Hate—The Real All-Stars

He sustained five severe wounds, lost one third of his lung, but miraculously survived. “I’m no hero,” he said, thus...

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Unanswered Questions About Jonestown—Witnesses Report

Religious Freedom

August 13, 2018

Unanswered Questions About Jonestown—Witnesses Report

Was Jonestown one of the worst massacres of innocent American men, women and children in history? What purpose could the deaths...

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Religion: The Price of Being “Different”

Tolerance

August 7, 2018

Religion: The Price of Being “Different”

What are these people so afraid of? That Jehovah’s Witnesses are personally attacking them by handing them copies of The...

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Forty Years a Scientologist: A Comment on Friendship

Forty Years a Scientologist: A Comment on Friendship

A few months ago I reconnected with an old, incredibly close friend of mine from my long-gone youth, a friend who had a major...

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The Rabbi and the Bigot—A Story of Redemption

The Rabbi and the Bigot—A Story of Redemption

A few days later, the Rabbi found a package on his front walk containing anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi pamphlets and a card reading:...

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How to See People for Who They Really Are

Tolerance

July 25, 2018

How to See People for Who They Really Are

This lawyer wanted my friend to make a generalization about two groups of people rather than allow her to judge the case by...

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God Has a Name and It Is “Peace”

Tolerance

July 17, 2018

God Has a Name and It Is “Peace”

One cannot, in fact, be a devout Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist and still wish to do harm to those who believe...

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How I Answer Questions About Scientology: “Do the Math.”

How I Answer Questions About Scientology: “Do the Math.”

So my solution to this is, when someone asks me about a few upset ex-Scientologists out there complaining, I just “do the...

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Unanswered Questions About Jonestown

Religious Freedom

July 16, 2018

Unanswered Questions About Jonestown

Dr. Mootoo did not waver in his assessment of what had happened: the vast majority of Jonestown residents were victims of...

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Scientology: If You Don’t Know, Don’t Pretend to Know

Media & Ethics

July 13, 2018

Scientology: If You Don’t Know, Don’t Pretend to Know

We eventually won that particular battle—and many others. But we didn’t win it by waiting for newspapers to say nice things...

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White Supremacy: Alive and Well in Hollywood

White Supremacy: Alive and Well in Hollywood

You’ll find modern versions of these supremacists in the audiences of the likes of Jerry Springer, Tosh.0, South Park, Samantha...

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Canadian Supreme Court Finds For the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Religious Freedom

July 11, 2018

Canadian Supreme Court Finds For the Jehovah’s Witnesses

The decision is a victory for the rights of religious groups to uphold standards for membership based on their own religious...

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Unanswered Questions About Jonestown—First in a Series—Who Silenced Joe Holsinger?

Religious Freedom

July 1, 2018

Unanswered Questions About Jonestown—First in a Series—Who Silenced Joe Holsinger?

In November 1988, the Chicago Tribune featured his comments in an article by Bruce Buursma. Holsinger, Buursma wrote, “has...

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Religion in Comedy—Where Do We Draw the Line?

Religion in Comedy—Where Do We Draw the Line?

When you want to bring up a faith that’s not your own, you better know what you’re talking about. You better be accurate,...

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Masterpiece Cakeshop and The Need For Tolerance and Respect

Tolerance

June 18, 2018

Masterpiece Cakeshop and The Need For Tolerance and Respect

I believe that the Masterpiece opinion will make such bodies more aware of the need to produce decisions, however they rule,...

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The Honest View of Scientology

Media & Ethics

June 13, 2018

The Honest View of Scientology

What’s more, the high IQ free-thinker is much more likely to become curious about the effort by vested interests to drag...

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What Scientologists Are REALLY Up To

What Scientologists Are REALLY Up To

While I have been Jewish all my life, for the last 12 years I have added Scientology to my religious resumé. In practicing...

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Is Man Just Another Animal? Part 2: Loss of Spirituality and Increase of Dementia

Is Man Just Another Animal? Part 2: Loss of Spirituality and Increase of Dementia

The immortality of the soul is certainly a crucial and integral part of the belief systems of most if not all religions. And...

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The Boogeyman Factory

Media & Ethics

May 19, 2018

The Boogeyman Factory

War is sold by a handful of madmen on the basis that every citizen of the enemy country spends every waking minute slobbering...

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In Memory of Chris Cornell, July 20, 1964—May 18, 2017

Tolerance

May 16, 2018

In Memory of Chris Cornell, July 20, 1964—May 18, 2017

When my brother and I were kids, we were driving in the car with my dad one day and “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin...

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Indonesia Takes a Step Forward For Religious Freedom

Indonesia Takes a Step Forward For Religious Freedom

I’ll end with my hope that the people of Indonesia will find an inclusive and fair way to treat all of its rich religious...

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Why is Religion Under Attack?

Religious Freedom

May 15, 2018

Why is Religion Under Attack?

Religion has been attacked and even its symbols are being aggressively removed from our society. School prayer, the Ten Commandments,...

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