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Should the tolerant be intolerant?

STATE OF FORMATION Weekly

Contributing Scholar Nominated: Best Articles of 2012

Recently, all Contributing Scholars were asked to nominate articles they thought were the best in 2012. Here are the results! From everyone at State of Formation, we wish you a Happy New Year! Best wishes to a great 2013! 

Why My Vote On Gay Marriage Shouldn’t Count (And Neither Should Yours)
By: Saumya Arya Haas

I live in Minnesota. On Tuesday we will be voting on (among other things) whether or not to amend our State Constitution to include the following: Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.

There is already a law that makes gay marriage illegal in Minnesota, so this seems like mean-spirited overkill. If the Constitutional Amendment does not pass, gays will still not have the right to marry.If it does pass, it will add another layer of injustice that we will have to undo when we are, hopefully, restored to sanity.

Read more here.

The Times We Shouldn’t Defend Our Traditions

By Rebecca Levi
“Philosophers,” says Martha Nussbaum, “don’t write like prophets….they have to believe, I think, that at least a part of evil is not innate or necessary, that at least a good part of it is based on error, whether societal or personal.” For prophets, on the other hand, “the urgency and magnitude of the evils they see admit of no delay, no calm and patient dialogue…Suppose Jeremiah had said, ‘the heart of Israel is corrupt utterly, but on the other hand there are some very nice people there.’” (Nussbaum, Sex and Social Justice, 1999, 240-1)

Read more here.

Gaza and Interfaith Domestic Dialogue

By Ahmed Elewa

"Oh, one more thing" said the landlord as I signed the lease, "the couple sharing the house is from Israel." In a split second long hours of interfaith dialogue, community organizing and genuine friendships all flashed before me as I grinned at his apprehension and simply replied, "...that shouldn't be a problem." Relieved, he collected the lease with a proud smile reflecting, "How amazing, an Egyptian and an Israeli couple living under the same roof!"

Read more here.

The Lesson of Kony 2012 for Mission Outreach: Sometimes “Doing Nothing” is Better

By Kathryn Ray

“Oh, my dear, idealists are the cruelest monsters of them all.”
-Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation

In her various books on American history, Sarah Vowell repeatedly reveals a complex relationship with idealism and the can-do spirit, which parallels her relationship with the United States in general.

In The Wordy Shipmates and Unfamiliar Fishes, she paints a dark picture of what happens when brave and noble souls give up their homes and comforts in order to be a light unto the world, bringing aid and salvation to those living in far-off lands. The Puritans, self-professed “city on a hill,” brutally massacred the Pequot Indians. The children of missionaries to Hawaii eventually took over the country and orchestrated its annexation against the will of most of its people. Yet despite the deep cynicism of her assessment that these and other idealists are among the most damaging forces on Earth, one can sense in her writing a fascination bordering on admiration for the sheer chutzpah of these people. The Puritans’ daring and idealism form an integral part of American culture; it is part of who Sarah Vowell is, I think, and it certainly is a part of who I am.

Read more here.

Tibet and China: Dharma-centric Societies at Odds

By Jai Mirchandani

Entrance of Buddhism into China and Tibet

In the lands of both the Tibetan plateau and Chinese hinterlands, the foreign-born religion of the Dhammapada, the teachings of the Buddha, lies at the crux of spirituality, values, and politics.

The earliest significant mentions of Buddhism in the eastern Sinitic territories appear to be through a revelation of the Buddha himself in the mind of the great Han emperor Ming Di [reign: 58-75 CE]. In 65 CE, following the delegation of the Eighteen (lead by Chung Hu [Zhong Hou], the minister of Ming Di, and headed by Ts’ai Yin [Cai Yin], Ch’in Ching [Qin Jing], and Wang Tsun [Wang Zun]) to the Samarkhand region of present-day Afghanistan in search of Buddhist sutras and monks. The ministers not only returned with texts, but also with the capture of the Dhammapada in their hearts.

Read more here.

Call for Nominations

Please nominate a colleague, student, or friend to become a State of Formation Contributing Scholar!
State of Formation is a forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. Founded by the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, it is run in partnership with Hebrew College and Andover Newton and in collaboration with the Parliament of the World’s Religions.