My Pianist

My Pianist

It was one of those moments in which every single second seems to last a painful eternity.

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The Naysayers and the Critics

Scientology Religion

February 7, 2020

The Naysayers and the Critics

You are talking to a percentage of the population that would hate YOU if you caught their attention enough.

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Theophobia 101, Part II: Theophobia Goes Global

Religious Literacy

February 7, 2020

Theophobia 101, Part II: Theophobia Goes Global

Well, is religion that dangerous or irrelevant? Should we consider being evangelical about the gospel of Nothingness? Shall...

READ MORE
What Stops Us From Hoping

Media & Ethics

February 6, 2020

What Stops Us From Hoping

It got me thinking: who actually works at tabloids like that? What are their story pitch meetings like? Do they know that...

READ MORE
Next Stop: Tolerance

Next Stop: Tolerance

This is how it played out: At around midday on November 22, a passenger sitting in the train pulled out his phone to film...

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Confessions of an “Open-Minded” Person

Tolerance

February 3, 2020

Confessions of an “Open-Minded” Person

I was, however, “open-minded.” Cue the air quotes, please. There is a difference between open-minded and “open-minded.”...

READ MORE
The Cult Recipe

Media & Ethics

February 3, 2020

The Cult Recipe

I actually saw this question in an online forum the other day: “If I wanted to start my own cult, how would I do it?”...

READ MORE
Bigotry, Beanbags, Opals and Elephants

Tolerance

January 28, 2020

Bigotry, Beanbags, Opals and Elephants

Humankind at its finest sees a tree not as a green blob, but a Maple, its leaves individually defined, each one a bit different...

READ MORE
My Seasonal Pilgrimage: Coming Together, Coming Home

Religious Literacy

January 26, 2020

My Seasonal Pilgrimage: Coming Together, Coming Home

No one’s religion was cause for offense. No difference in color, social standing, job or education impacted the way we interacted.

READ MORE
Don’t Scientologists Believe in Mental Illness?

Scientology Religion

January 25, 2020

Don’t Scientologists Believe in Mental Illness?

The thing that Scientologists take issue with is the lack of science behind so much of the psychiatric community’s categorizations...

READ MORE
The New Decade: Reset. Start.

Tolerance

January 24, 2020

The New Decade: Reset. Start.

Many years ago, at the dawn of the personal computer era, I had a nerdy friend who always seemed to be happy. One day I asked...

READ MORE
New Year’s Resolutions Fail: Scientology Can Help

Scientology Religion

January 21, 2020

New Year’s Resolutions Fail: Scientology Can Help

Sometimes the bar isn’t set very high, like the year my son said that his primary objective for the next 12 months was to...

READ MORE
A Simple, Easy Policy on Politics and Religion

Tolerance

January 17, 2020

A Simple, Easy Policy on Politics and Religion

I have a friend on social media who is a practicing Baptist minister. He’s an old friend from high school. He has the usual...

READ MORE
Who Loses When Scientology Wins?

Who Loses When Scientology Wins?

Last week I had an unusual phone conversation with a client I’m doing some screenplay rewrite work for. He was somewhere...

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Are Christians Right to Protest Netflix’s “First Temptation of Christ”?

Are Christians Right to Protest Netflix’s “First Temptation of Christ”?

I made it 31 minutes in, to the scene that managed to insult Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Rastafarianism, and...

READ MORE
Anti-Semitism and the Festival of Lights

Combating Bigotry & Hate

December 30, 2019

Anti-Semitism and the Festival of Lights

When I was traveling through Arkansas with a business partner, our host pointed out a burned-out establishment and proclaimed...

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How Good People Can Become Bigots

Combating Bigotry & Hate

December 30, 2019

How Good People Can Become Bigots

If bigotry were simple, we would have already solved it. But it isn’t and we haven’t. So here’s a look at the roots...

READ MORE
The Odyssey of the Soul, for When You Need Reassurance

Religious Literacy

December 29, 2019

The Odyssey of the Soul, for When You Need Reassurance

There’s a Jewish legend about what happens to us before we are born. An Angel appears and introduces us to all the high...

READ MORE
Is Intolerance on the Rise?

Combating Bigotry & Hate

December 28, 2019

Is Intolerance on the Rise?

Then there have been a slew of high-profile tragedies including the New Zealand mosque attacks, the Easter Sunday bombing...

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A Tribute to Kayla Mueller

Combating Bigotry & Hate

December 27, 2019

A Tribute to Kayla Mueller

On August 3, 2013, Kayla Mueller was kidnapped by ISIS fighters outside of a hospital in Northern Syria. She had traveled...

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The Most Precious Thing

Combating Bigotry & Hate

December 23, 2019

The Most Precious Thing

Nearly a thousand years ago a great army besieged a castle. Day after day, the army bombarded it with great boulders and flaming...

READ MORE
A Jewish Scientologist’s Christmas

Tolerance

December 22, 2019

A Jewish Scientologist’s Christmas

I was raised mildly Jewish. I wasn’t ever bat mitzvahed and, by the time I was 18, I’d actually never been to a synagogue...

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What Is Your Problem?! or Drama in the Produce Section

Tolerance

December 21, 2019

What Is Your Problem?! or Drama in the Produce Section

“WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!” The question was bellowed at me in condemnation of my failure to swerve my motion-challenged...

READ MORE
100 Billion Reasons to Support Humanitarian Groups

Religious Literacy

December 20, 2019

100 Billion Reasons to Support Humanitarian Groups

Two things happened today that prompted this blog. 1. My Mormon neighbors invited me to a Christmas service. Of course I accepted...

READ MORE
Not in Our Stars—A Holiday Entreaty

Tolerance

December 18, 2019

Not in Our Stars—A Holiday Entreaty

As days pass by and disappear we fast approach another year. The last 12 months we pause to weigh and estimate the progress...

READ MORE
Hate Never Wins: A Tale of Two Blog Posts

Tolerance

December 6, 2019

Hate Never Wins: A Tale of Two Blog Posts

I posted this photo on my photography blog. I didn’t think it would be very controversial. Boy, was I wrong.

READ MORE
Why Does Scientology Keep Its Upper-Level Teachings “Secret”?

Scientology Religion

December 5, 2019

Why Does Scientology Keep Its Upper-Level Teachings “Secret”?

When I heard about the “OT levels” I was curious why much of it was kept confidential. Over time, I answered my own question....

READ MORE
Another Way Religions Help

Religious Literacy

December 1, 2019

Another Way Religions Help

I’ll admit it, I’m kind of a sucker for those singing competition shows. Please understand, I’m not a singer, and I’ve...

READ MORE
Theophobia, Part I: Why a Hatred of Religion?

Combating Bigotry & Hate

November 30, 2019

Theophobia, Part I: Why a Hatred of Religion?

Religion has been in an international statistical decline. The religiously unaffiliated, otherwise known as "nones," are growing...

READ MORE
What’s Divine About You

Religious Literacy

November 20, 2019

What’s Divine About You

My reaction was so physically apparent that my daughter took one look at me and asked: “Why’s your face all red?!” That...

READ MORE
Why We Don’t “Believe” In Scientology

Scientology Religion

November 20, 2019

Why We Don’t “Believe” In Scientology

Recently, I've found myself fielding numerous questions about what Scientologists “believe,” so I'm going to address the...

READ MORE
The Chosen Path—A Fable About Brotherhood

Tolerance

November 19, 2019

The Chosen Path—A Fable About Brotherhood

He is an expert on this hellish road you travel, and would teach us its history, and the history of those who’ve gone before.

READ MORE
What’s the Deal With Ghosts?

Religious Literacy

October 31, 2019

What’s the Deal With Ghosts?

When the first Ghostbusters movie came out in 1988, most of my friends were in love with it, myself included. But one friend...

READ MORE
If You Find Yourself Stuck in a Motel in a Thunderstorm

Scientology Religion

October 25, 2019

If You Find Yourself Stuck in a Motel in a Thunderstorm

My wife and I recently had a free weekend and decided to drive to the coast. But as we traveled west, dark clouds rolled in,...

READ MORE
The Controversy at Maunakea—Why Science and Religion Need Each Other

Religious Literacy

October 20, 2019

The Controversy at Maunakea—Why Science and Religion Need Each Other

According to the astronomers supporting the project, it “will allow us to see deeper into space and observe cosmic objects...

READ MORE
Hope in the Face of Tragedy

Hope in the Face of Tragedy

We’re living in a time when it might be easy to lose faith in your fellow man. For centuries, the fearmongers have crowed...

READ MORE
How Does It Feel to Be a Scientologist?

Scientology Religion

October 10, 2019

How Does It Feel to Be a Scientologist?

Since I have been a Scientologist for over 20 years, I feel I’m very qualified to answer this question. I’ll answer it...

READ MORE
Inside Scientology: The Art of Critical Thinking

Scientology Religion

October 7, 2019

Inside Scientology: The Art of Critical Thinking

It takes a very humble person to admit that, compared to the truth, they don’t matter.

READ MORE
Unanswered Questions About Jonestown—Part Four: The Buried Agenda of Leo Ryan

Religious Freedom

September 3, 2019

Unanswered Questions About Jonestown—Part Four: The Buried Agenda of Leo Ryan

To this day, the assailants that closed in on Ryan’s fallen body and riddled it with rifle and shotgun blasts have not been...

READ MORE
You Can Only Kick the Church Up—An Interview With LDS Member Steve Russell

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 1, 2019

You Can Only Kick the Church Up—An Interview With LDS Member Steve Russell

There is nothing more personal—and, for many of us, there is nothing more precious—than the right to live as we believe...

READ MORE
A Place for Women in Religion—Hint: It’s Not the Kitchen

Religious Literacy

August 31, 2019

A Place for Women in Religion—Hint: It’s Not the Kitchen

Let me just start by saying I’m about as girlie of a girl as anyone I’ve ever known. A dress is my attire of choice, even...

READ MORE
Are We Supporting Mass Shooters in the Name of Free Speech?

Media & Ethics

August 31, 2019

Are We Supporting Mass Shooters in the Name of Free Speech?

Before taking out his AK-47 and using it to murder 22 innocent people in El Paso, Texas, alleged shooter Patrick Crusius published...

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How and Why I Became a Scientologist

Scientology Religion

August 30, 2019

How and Why I Became a Scientologist

Fellow says, ‘What is the reason for life?’ Oddly enough, the apparent answer to the thing... if he wants a very finite,...

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A&E: When You Pay for Hate Speech That’s Exactly What You Get

Media & Ethics

August 28, 2019

A&E: When You Pay for Hate Speech That’s Exactly What You Get

It’s obvious why journalists are wary of those who offer to trade information for profit— such people are all too likely...

READ MORE
An Investor’s Open Letter to Amazon: Don’t Endanger Our Company by Sponsoring Hate

An Investor’s Open Letter to Amazon: Don’t Endanger Our Company by Sponsoring Hate

As a stakeholder, I’d like to know that Amazon’s Corporate Social Responsibility reaches far beyond just utilizing recycled...

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“Dear White People”: Practice What You Preach

“Dear White People”: Practice What You Preach

What’s ironic is that a show that is so heavy-handed with its messaging about staying woke and ending discrimination against...

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UN Devotes New Day to Combatting Anti-Religious Violence

Religious Freedom

August 23, 2019

UN Devotes New Day to Combatting Anti-Religious Violence

There’s a day that now comes right after the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. Because...

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Tony Ortega: A Nettle of Fiction and Failure

Media & Ethics

August 17, 2019

Tony Ortega: A Nettle of Fiction and Failure

It may be hard to spot the common denominator of all of Ortega’s flops, but I’ll tell you what I see.

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The KKK and the Power of Symbols

The KKK and the Power of Symbols

I wasn’t surprised to read that members got the idea from D. W. Griffith’s 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation. Fire...

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Highlighting the Difference: A Study of Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies

Religious Freedom

August 15, 2019

Highlighting the Difference: A Study of Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some smells made customers stay longer. Others had them fleeing the premises. The research also found odors needed to be appropriate—the...

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Why Religions Shouldn’t Take the Bait

Tolerance

August 14, 2019

Why Religions Shouldn’t Take the Bait

No government, no institution, no club will ever be able to give purpose to man like his religions do.

READ MORE
The Old Jew: A Story About Wisdom

Religious Literacy

August 12, 2019

The Old Jew: A Story About Wisdom

I had not told the old man that I was expecting my first child, but somehow he knew. And I never forgot.

READ MORE
The Tribes of Bad and Good

Tolerance

August 12, 2019

The Tribes of Bad and Good

A few years ago, a seven-year-old boy waving a Pop Tart and saying “bang bang” was suspended from school in Maryland....

READ MORE
How Psychology Lost Its Soul

How Psychology Lost Its Soul

Psychology’s “soul” was a casualty in the war between the spiritually alive and the spiritually dead.

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Interfaith Courage Awarded at Second Ministerial for Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom

August 3, 2019

Interfaith Courage Awarded at Second Ministerial for Religious Freedom

More than 30 years ago, Ivanir dos Santos began combating racial discrimination and promoting rights of members of minority...

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Supreme Court Allows Cross to Remain: Did It Establish Religion?

Religious Freedom

August 3, 2019

Supreme Court Allows Cross to Remain: Did It Establish Religion?

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that a 40-foot-high cross honoring residents of the Maryland town of Bladensburg...

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The Swastika in the Bathroom

The Swastika in the Bathroom

You walk into the bathroom and a large, black graffitied swastika greets you. It’s big, it’s ugly and it exudes an almost...

READ MORE
Catholicism in the Age of Scandal

Religious Literacy

August 1, 2019

Catholicism in the Age of Scandal

Damning headlines and unforgivable scandal have, in recent times, become synonymous in the media with the Catholic Church,...

READ MORE
Speaking of Religion

Tolerance

August 1, 2019

Speaking of Religion

Religion is tough to talk about. It’s true. And instead of welcoming the chance to learn something new, we tend to shy away...

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Is This Who We Really Are?

Is This Who We Really Are?

I, for one, don’t believe it. Don’t get me wrong. I believe the statistics, the surveys and the opinions. I believe the...

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What Happens When You Live?

What Happens When You Live?

The late astronomer and teacher, Carl Sagan, requested that the Voyager 1 spacecraft, in its journey through the cosmos, pause...

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Second Ministerial for Religious Freedom Shines a Light on Intolerance and Genocide

Religious Freedom

July 24, 2019

Second Ministerial for Religious Freedom Shines a Light on Intolerance and Genocide

It was a big event: on its final day, a participant reported, “Close to 900 members of civil society and religious groups...

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Why Religion Is Healthy

Religious Literacy

July 24, 2019

Why Religion Is Healthy

Religious people live longer. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to support that statement, and if you click on the link...

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Three Religions and a Wedding

Religious Literacy

July 11, 2019

Three Religions and a Wedding

Guests of many religions were in attendance. We had Jewish relatives from my side, Catholics from my husband's side, Christians...

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Why I Trust L. Ron Hubbard

Media & Ethics

July 9, 2019

Why I Trust L. Ron Hubbard

Occasionally in the course of a day, I hear disparaging things about people I know and love. I’m sure this has happened...

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What Faith In Our Schools Really Means

Tolerance

July 8, 2019

What Faith In Our Schools Really Means

I have good friends who are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist, and many more who are still searching and haven’t quite...

READ MORE
What Happens When You Die?

What Happens When You Die?

And the more I studied religions, the more I saw the common thread. They all believed that you are more than your body and...

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Religious Freedom and Religious Tolerance

Tolerance

July 5, 2019

Religious Freedom and Religious Tolerance

While training as an Army officer, I was taught not to discuss politics and religion. This seemed eminently practical advice...

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Let’s Keep Religion Out of Political Attacks

Tolerance

July 5, 2019

Let’s Keep Religion Out of Political Attacks

Attacks on religion begin with bashing minority groups—and spread from there. It is our duty and obligation to protect and...

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The Aftermath of the “Aftermath”

The Aftermath of the “Aftermath”

Most people are decent: They are constructive, creative, welcoming and social…

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The Fingerprint of the Spirit

The Fingerprint of the Spirit

The theory of evolution postulates that the many different forms of life all descended from a common ancestor, with the many...

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Love In the Age of Granfalloons

Love In the Age of Granfalloons

My Facebook brothers and sisters have become tribes, or more precisely, granfalloons. A granfalloon, as defined by the coiner...

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Aretha’s Soul

Religious Literacy

June 30, 2019

Aretha’s Soul

And at the end of the concert, she smiled. Women had shivered, men had wept. Reverend James Cleveland, who had brought her...

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Why are Physicists Convinced of the Human Soul?

Religious Literacy

June 26, 2019

Why are Physicists Convinced of the Human Soul?

Are science and spirituality mutually exclusive? Alan Lightman, a physicist who has researched black holes, stellar dynamics...

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I Left Scientology as a Teen: Here’s Why I Came Back

I Left Scientology as a Teen: Here’s Why I Came Back

In the end, I gave the “live life one day at a time and just do what makes you happy” thing a try. By the age of 23, I...

READ MORE
Is Freedom of Religion Limitless?

Religious Freedom

June 25, 2019

Is Freedom of Religion Limitless?

In the weeks prior to the tragic raid, one such demagogue, the notorious convicted felon Rick Ross of the now defunct Cult...

READ MORE
All Hail Aladdin

Tolerance

June 25, 2019

All Hail Aladdin

But all in all, I give this Aladdin high marks for trying to do the right thing, and for being highly entertaining to boot.

READ MORE
Everyday Actions to Combat Bigotry

Everyday Actions to Combat Bigotry

Help End Religious Intolerance Wherever You Are Some of the moms I know are total superheroes, and I recently felt compelled...

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Here’s to the Artists

Religious Literacy

June 22, 2019

Here’s to the Artists

Artists bring their own special energy to that endeavor and deserve support and encouragement and validation. Here’s to...

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Terrorism: Let’s Change the Conversation

Terrorism: Let’s Change the Conversation

It is undeniably true that there are terrorists in the world and they are well named: they try to bring about terror, chaos,...

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Freedom Without Bars

Tolerance

June 18, 2019

Freedom Without Bars

“Buy me a drink?” That is what the policeman said to my relative after stopping him for speeding on a highway in a Caribbean...

READ MORE
Religion in the Workplace: How Diversity Creates Better Cultures

Religious Literacy

June 13, 2019

Religion in the Workplace: How Diversity Creates Better Cultures

After I’d been working there for a few days, the CEO called me into his office and said “You know, I really admired the...

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Religion vs. Religious Freedom

Religion vs. Religious Freedom

Would you honor these unbelievers for being religious in an otherwise materialistic world and respect their sincerely held...

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Prayer for Peace

Tolerance

June 11, 2019

Prayer for Peace

A Prayer for Peace - Remembering those who fell at worship

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Religion in Schools: Teaching Isn’t Preaching

Religion in Schools: Teaching Isn’t Preaching

Tolerance of one’s fellow man, including his race, his nationality and his creed, is an essential part of everyday life.

READ MORE
Canadian Church Permits Atheist to Remain Minister

Religious Freedom

May 29, 2019

Canadian Church Permits Atheist to Remain Minister

Religion is extremely valuable to society, but only when people are free to examine the subject for themselves and draw the...

READ MORE
A Case for Faith

A Case for Faith

Faith is real. Faith is attainable. Faith can be learned and applied to create a richer life for one and all.

READ MORE
Identity Politics: Divided We Fall

Tolerance

May 18, 2019

Identity Politics: Divided We Fall

A shining example just occurred in New Zealand. A week after the insane murder of fifty Muslims and the injury of dozens more…

READ MORE
How a Jew and Roman Catholic Make Their Marriage Work

Tolerance

May 9, 2019

How a Jew and Roman Catholic Make Their Marriage Work

I was raised Roman Catholic and my husband was raised Jewish. I had my First Communion at the age of 6 and my husband had...

READ MORE
The Danger of Hate Speech on Social Media

Tolerance

May 6, 2019

The Danger of Hate Speech on Social Media

How to express oneself is a personal choice. But just know that hate speech is not rational; its effect is cumulative and...

READ MORE
One Night on Council Beach

Tolerance

April 10, 2019

One Night on Council Beach

Hysterical cheers swept through the flock like gusts of wind across a wheat field. Krak stood silent, smiling, soaking in...

READ MORE
The Answer to Hate Is Love

The Answer to Hate Is Love

“Love one another.” It’s an adage so common it can seem trite. So simple that it’s hard to believe it can matter....

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Why People Are So Passionate About Religion Online

Tolerance

April 2, 2019

Why People Are So Passionate About Religion Online

I believe that the more confident you are in your beliefs and viewpoints, the more generous you can be with beliefs and viewpoints...

READ MORE
Anti-Semitism 101, Part 2: <br />Modern Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism 101, Part 2:
Modern Anti-Semitism

Old lies die hard. A recent survey by the Anti-Defamation League revealed that 13 percent believe that “Jews are more likely...

READ MORE
Twenty Minutes From Hate

Twenty Minutes From Hate

We don’t take these things lightly anymore. We can’t. Not in a parade, not in Mardi Gras, and certainly not 20 minutes...

READ MORE
House Passes Anti-Bigotry Resolution

House Passes Anti-Bigotry Resolution

No matter what the politics were behind it, no matter what backroom deals and compromises spawned it, no matter what debates,...

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Religious Freedom: The Elephant in the Room

Tolerance

March 11, 2019

Religious Freedom: The Elephant in the Room

If we keep enforcing the “my religion is better than yours” game—if we keep squashing the religious freedom of another...

READ MORE
Teamwork & Friendship Tear Down Intolerance

Tolerance

March 8, 2019

Teamwork & Friendship Tear Down Intolerance

Our friendships grew and our business thrived because we worked together as one team. We also worshipped together.

READ MORE
Five Easy Ways to Tell If Your Post Is Bigoted

Tolerance

March 8, 2019

Five Easy Ways to Tell If Your Post Is Bigoted

Religious intolerance can be sneaky. You may not even realize you’re being a bigot. Probably because someone said some line...

READ MORE
Why I Choose Scientology

Why I Choose Scientology

Scientology does not discriminate in who it helps. It literally can help anyone: the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the...

READ MORE
Theophobia 101, Part II: Theophobia Goes Global

Religious Literacy

February 7, 2020

Theophobia 101, Part II: Theophobia Goes Global

Well, is religion that dangerous or irrelevant? Should we consider being evangelical about the gospel of Nothingness? Shall...

READ MORE
What Stops Us From Hoping

Media & Ethics

February 6, 2020

What Stops Us From Hoping

It got me thinking: who actually works at tabloids like that? What are their story pitch meetings like? Do they know that...

READ MORE
Confessions of an “Open-Minded” Person

Tolerance

February 3, 2020

Confessions of an “Open-Minded” Person

I was, however, “open-minded.” Cue the air quotes, please. There is a difference between open-minded and “open-minded.”...

READ MORE
The Cult Recipe

Media & Ethics

February 3, 2020

The Cult Recipe

I actually saw this question in an online forum the other day: “If I wanted to start my own cult, how would I do it?”...

READ MORE
Bigotry, Beanbags, Opals and Elephants

Tolerance

January 28, 2020

Bigotry, Beanbags, Opals and Elephants

Humankind at its finest sees a tree not as a green blob, but a Maple, its leaves individually defined, each one a bit different...

READ MORE
My Seasonal Pilgrimage: Coming Together, Coming Home

Religious Literacy

January 26, 2020

My Seasonal Pilgrimage: Coming Together, Coming Home

No one’s religion was cause for offense. No difference in color, social standing, job or education impacted the way we interacted.

READ MORE
Don’t Scientologists Believe in Mental Illness?

Scientology Religion

January 25, 2020

Don’t Scientologists Believe in Mental Illness?

The thing that Scientologists take issue with is the lack of science behind so much of the psychiatric community’s categorizations...

READ MORE
The New Decade: Reset. Start.

Tolerance

January 24, 2020

The New Decade: Reset. Start.

Many years ago, at the dawn of the personal computer era, I had a nerdy friend who always seemed to be happy. One day I asked...

READ MORE
New Year’s Resolutions Fail: Scientology Can Help

Scientology Religion

January 21, 2020

New Year’s Resolutions Fail: Scientology Can Help

Sometimes the bar isn’t set very high, like the year my son said that his primary objective for the next 12 months was to...

READ MORE
A Simple, Easy Policy on Politics and Religion

Tolerance

January 17, 2020

A Simple, Easy Policy on Politics and Religion

I have a friend on social media who is a practicing Baptist minister. He’s an old friend from high school. He has the usual...

READ MORE
Are Christians Right to Protest Netflix’s “First Temptation of Christ”?

Are Christians Right to Protest Netflix’s “First Temptation of Christ”?

I made it 31 minutes in, to the scene that managed to insult Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Rastafarianism, and...

READ MORE
The Odyssey of the Soul, for When You Need Reassurance

Religious Literacy

December 29, 2019

The Odyssey of the Soul, for When You Need Reassurance

There’s a Jewish legend about what happens to us before we are born. An Angel appears and introduces us to all the high...

READ MORE
What Is Your Problem?! or Drama in the Produce Section

Tolerance

December 21, 2019

What Is Your Problem?! or Drama in the Produce Section

“WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!” The question was bellowed at me in condemnation of my failure to swerve my motion-challenged...

READ MORE
100 Billion Reasons to Support Humanitarian Groups

Religious Literacy

December 20, 2019

100 Billion Reasons to Support Humanitarian Groups

Two things happened today that prompted this blog. 1. My Mormon neighbors invited me to a Christmas service. Of course I accepted...

READ MORE
Not in Our Stars—A Holiday Entreaty

Tolerance

December 18, 2019

Not in Our Stars—A Holiday Entreaty

As days pass by and disappear we fast approach another year. The last 12 months we pause to weigh and estimate the progress...

READ MORE
Hate Never Wins: A Tale of Two Blog Posts

Tolerance

December 6, 2019

Hate Never Wins: A Tale of Two Blog Posts

I posted this photo on my photography blog. I didn’t think it would be very controversial. Boy, was I wrong.

READ MORE
Why Does Scientology Keep Its Upper-Level Teachings “Secret”?

Scientology Religion

December 5, 2019

Why Does Scientology Keep Its Upper-Level Teachings “Secret”?

When I heard about the “OT levels” I was curious why much of it was kept confidential. Over time, I answered my own question....

READ MORE
Theophobia, Part I: Why a Hatred of Religion?

Combating Bigotry & Hate

November 30, 2019

Theophobia, Part I: Why a Hatred of Religion?

Religion has been in an international statistical decline. The religiously unaffiliated, otherwise known as "nones," are growing...

READ MORE
What’s Divine About You

Religious Literacy

November 20, 2019

What’s Divine About You

My reaction was so physically apparent that my daughter took one look at me and asked: “Why’s your face all red?!” That...

READ MORE
Why We Don’t “Believe” In Scientology

Scientology Religion

November 20, 2019

Why We Don’t “Believe” In Scientology

Recently, I've found myself fielding numerous questions about what Scientologists “believe,” so I'm going to address the...

READ MORE
The Chosen Path—A Fable About Brotherhood

Tolerance

November 19, 2019

The Chosen Path—A Fable About Brotherhood

He is an expert on this hellish road you travel, and would teach us its history, and the history of those who’ve gone before.

READ MORE
What’s the Deal With Ghosts?

Religious Literacy

October 31, 2019

What’s the Deal With Ghosts?

When the first Ghostbusters movie came out in 1988, most of my friends were in love with it, myself included. But one friend...

READ MORE
If You Find Yourself Stuck in a Motel in a Thunderstorm

Scientology Religion

October 25, 2019

If You Find Yourself Stuck in a Motel in a Thunderstorm

My wife and I recently had a free weekend and decided to drive to the coast. But as we traveled west, dark clouds rolled in,...

READ MORE
The Controversy at Maunakea—Why Science and Religion Need Each Other

Religious Literacy

October 20, 2019

The Controversy at Maunakea—Why Science and Religion Need Each Other

According to the astronomers supporting the project, it “will allow us to see deeper into space and observe cosmic objects...

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How Does It Feel to Be a Scientologist?

Scientology Religion

October 10, 2019

How Does It Feel to Be a Scientologist?

Since I have been a Scientologist for over 20 years, I feel I’m very qualified to answer this question. I’ll answer it...

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Unanswered Questions About Jonestown—Part Four: The Buried Agenda of Leo Ryan

Religious Freedom

September 3, 2019

Unanswered Questions About Jonestown—Part Four: The Buried Agenda of Leo Ryan

To this day, the assailants that closed in on Ryan’s fallen body and riddled it with rifle and shotgun blasts have not been...

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You Can Only Kick the Church Up—An Interview With LDS Member Steve Russell

Combating Bigotry & Hate

September 1, 2019

You Can Only Kick the Church Up—An Interview With LDS Member Steve Russell

There is nothing more personal—and, for many of us, there is nothing more precious—than the right to live as we believe...

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A Place for Women in Religion—Hint: It’s Not the Kitchen

Religious Literacy

August 31, 2019

A Place for Women in Religion—Hint: It’s Not the Kitchen

Let me just start by saying I’m about as girlie of a girl as anyone I’ve ever known. A dress is my attire of choice, even...

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Are We Supporting Mass Shooters in the Name of Free Speech?

Media & Ethics

August 31, 2019

Are We Supporting Mass Shooters in the Name of Free Speech?

Before taking out his AK-47 and using it to murder 22 innocent people in El Paso, Texas, alleged shooter Patrick Crusius published...

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How and Why I Became a Scientologist

Scientology Religion

August 30, 2019

How and Why I Became a Scientologist

Fellow says, ‘What is the reason for life?’ Oddly enough, the apparent answer to the thing... if he wants a very finite,...

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A&E: When You Pay for Hate Speech That’s Exactly What You Get

Media & Ethics

August 28, 2019

A&E: When You Pay for Hate Speech That’s Exactly What You Get

It’s obvious why journalists are wary of those who offer to trade information for profit— such people are all too likely...

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An Investor’s Open Letter to Amazon: Don’t Endanger Our Company by Sponsoring Hate

An Investor’s Open Letter to Amazon: Don’t Endanger Our Company by Sponsoring Hate

As a stakeholder, I’d like to know that Amazon’s Corporate Social Responsibility reaches far beyond just utilizing recycled...

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“Dear White People”: Practice What You Preach

“Dear White People”: Practice What You Preach

What’s ironic is that a show that is so heavy-handed with its messaging about staying woke and ending discrimination against...

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UN Devotes New Day to Combatting Anti-Religious Violence

Religious Freedom

August 23, 2019

UN Devotes New Day to Combatting Anti-Religious Violence

There’s a day that now comes right after the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. Because...

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Tony Ortega: A Nettle of Fiction and Failure

Media & Ethics

August 17, 2019

Tony Ortega: A Nettle of Fiction and Failure

It may be hard to spot the common denominator of all of Ortega’s flops, but I’ll tell you what I see.

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Highlighting the Difference: A Study of Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies

Religious Freedom

August 15, 2019

Highlighting the Difference: A Study of Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some smells made customers stay longer. Others had them fleeing the premises. The research also found odors needed to be appropriate—the...

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Why Religions Shouldn’t Take the Bait

Tolerance

August 14, 2019

Why Religions Shouldn’t Take the Bait

No government, no institution, no club will ever be able to give purpose to man like his religions do.

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The Tribes of Bad and Good

Tolerance

August 12, 2019

The Tribes of Bad and Good

A few years ago, a seven-year-old boy waving a Pop Tart and saying “bang bang” was suspended from school in Maryland....

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Interfaith Courage Awarded at Second Ministerial for Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom

August 3, 2019

Interfaith Courage Awarded at Second Ministerial for Religious Freedom

More than 30 years ago, Ivanir dos Santos began combating racial discrimination and promoting rights of members of minority...

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Supreme Court Allows Cross to Remain: Did It Establish Religion?

Religious Freedom

August 3, 2019

Supreme Court Allows Cross to Remain: Did It Establish Religion?

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that a 40-foot-high cross honoring residents of the Maryland town of Bladensburg...

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Catholicism in the Age of Scandal

Religious Literacy

August 1, 2019

Catholicism in the Age of Scandal

Damning headlines and unforgivable scandal have, in recent times, become synonymous in the media with the Catholic Church,...

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Speaking of Religion

Tolerance

August 1, 2019

Speaking of Religion

Religion is tough to talk about. It’s true. And instead of welcoming the chance to learn something new, we tend to shy away...

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Second Ministerial for Religious Freedom Shines a Light on Intolerance and Genocide

Religious Freedom

July 24, 2019

Second Ministerial for Religious Freedom Shines a Light on Intolerance and Genocide

It was a big event: on its final day, a participant reported, “Close to 900 members of civil society and religious groups...

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Three Religions and a Wedding

Religious Literacy

July 11, 2019

Three Religions and a Wedding

Guests of many religions were in attendance. We had Jewish relatives from my side, Catholics from my husband's side, Christians...

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Why I Trust L. Ron Hubbard

Media & Ethics

July 9, 2019

Why I Trust L. Ron Hubbard

Occasionally in the course of a day, I hear disparaging things about people I know and love. I’m sure this has happened...

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What Faith In Our Schools Really Means

Tolerance

July 8, 2019

What Faith In Our Schools Really Means

I have good friends who are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist, and many more who are still searching and haven’t quite...

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What Happens When You Die?

What Happens When You Die?

And the more I studied religions, the more I saw the common thread. They all believed that you are more than your body and...

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Religious Freedom and Religious Tolerance

Tolerance

July 5, 2019

Religious Freedom and Religious Tolerance

While training as an Army officer, I was taught not to discuss politics and religion. This seemed eminently practical advice...

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Let’s Keep Religion Out of Political Attacks

Tolerance

July 5, 2019

Let’s Keep Religion Out of Political Attacks

Attacks on religion begin with bashing minority groups—and spread from there. It is our duty and obligation to protect and...

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The Fingerprint of the Spirit

The Fingerprint of the Spirit

The theory of evolution postulates that the many different forms of life all descended from a common ancestor, with the many...

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Why are Physicists Convinced of the Human Soul?

Religious Literacy

June 26, 2019

Why are Physicists Convinced of the Human Soul?

Are science and spirituality mutually exclusive? Alan Lightman, a physicist who has researched black holes, stellar dynamics...

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I Left Scientology as a Teen: Here’s Why I Came Back

I Left Scientology as a Teen: Here’s Why I Came Back

In the end, I gave the “live life one day at a time and just do what makes you happy” thing a try. By the age of 23, I...

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Is Freedom of Religion Limitless?

Religious Freedom

June 25, 2019

Is Freedom of Religion Limitless?

In the weeks prior to the tragic raid, one such demagogue, the notorious convicted felon Rick Ross of the now defunct Cult...

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All Hail Aladdin

Tolerance

June 25, 2019

All Hail Aladdin

But all in all, I give this Aladdin high marks for trying to do the right thing, and for being highly entertaining to boot.

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Here’s to the Artists

Religious Literacy

June 22, 2019

Here’s to the Artists

Artists bring their own special energy to that endeavor and deserve support and encouragement and validation. Here’s to...

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Freedom Without Bars

Tolerance

June 18, 2019

Freedom Without Bars

“Buy me a drink?” That is what the policeman said to my relative after stopping him for speeding on a highway in a Caribbean...

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Religion in the Workplace: How Diversity Creates Better Cultures

Religious Literacy

June 13, 2019

Religion in the Workplace: How Diversity Creates Better Cultures

After I’d been working there for a few days, the CEO called me into his office and said “You know, I really admired the...

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Religion in Schools: Teaching Isn’t Preaching

Religion in Schools: Teaching Isn’t Preaching

Tolerance of one’s fellow man, including his race, his nationality and his creed, is an essential part of everyday life.

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Canadian Church Permits Atheist to Remain Minister

Religious Freedom

May 29, 2019

Canadian Church Permits Atheist to Remain Minister

Religion is extremely valuable to society, but only when people are free to examine the subject for themselves and draw the...

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Identity Politics: Divided We&#160;Fall

Tolerance

May 18, 2019

Identity Politics: Divided We Fall

A shining example just occurred in New Zealand. A week after the insane murder of fifty Muslims and the injury of dozens more…

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How a Jew and Roman Catholic Make Their Marriage Work

Tolerance

May 9, 2019

How a Jew and Roman Catholic Make Their Marriage Work

I was raised Roman Catholic and my husband was raised Jewish. I had my First Communion at the age of 6 and my husband had...

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The Danger of Hate Speech on Social Media

Tolerance

May 6, 2019

The Danger of Hate Speech on Social Media

How to express oneself is a personal choice. But just know that hate speech is not rational; its effect is cumulative and...

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One Night on Council Beach

Tolerance

April 10, 2019

One Night on Council Beach

Hysterical cheers swept through the flock like gusts of wind across a wheat field. Krak stood silent, smiling, soaking in...

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Why People Are So Passionate About Religion Online

Tolerance

April 2, 2019

Why People Are So Passionate About Religion Online

I believe that the more confident you are in your beliefs and viewpoints, the more generous you can be with beliefs and viewpoints...

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Anti-Semitism 101, Part 2: <br />Modern Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism 101, Part 2:
Modern Anti-Semitism

Old lies die hard. A recent survey by the Anti-Defamation League revealed that 13 percent believe that “Jews are more likely...

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Religious Freedom: The Elephant in the Room

Tolerance

March 11, 2019

Religious Freedom: The Elephant in the Room

If we keep enforcing the “my religion is better than yours” game—if we keep squashing the religious freedom of another...

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Teamwork & Friendship Tear Down Intolerance

Tolerance

March 8, 2019

Teamwork & Friendship Tear Down Intolerance

Our friendships grew and our business thrived because we worked together as one team. We also worshipped together.

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Five Easy Ways to Tell If Your Post Is Bigoted

Tolerance

March 8, 2019

Five Easy Ways to Tell If Your Post Is Bigoted

Religious intolerance can be sneaky. You may not even realize you’re being a bigot. Probably because someone said some line...

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