In a Detroit Free Press op-ed, John calls for nuance in reactions to the Orlando shooting:

In Mateen’s case, there’s less evidence of religious extremism inciting murder than of a violent individual reaching for the nearest violent ideology to justify his violent tendencies — tendencies that arose from various causes, both religious and secular . . . . These details matter in formulating a smart response.

Read the full article here.

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ABC twitter

On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, I discuss the recent “bathroom bill” in North Carolina. From the interview:

The idea that this is about safety and security, it’s kind of like when somebody says that they ate all the ice cream in order to make room in the freezer. I mean it’s just obvious that that’s not the real reason. This is about discrimination, particularly against transgender people.

It’s a quick interview, and by the time I start getting warmed up, it’s over. But you can watch the full segment here.

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At The Philosophers’ Magazine, as part of an issue on “50 New Ideas In Philosophy,” John discusses the emergence and future of LGBTQ philosophy as “applied” philosophy. An excerpt:

[M]uch of what occurs under the mantle of applied ethics is neither applied nor ethics. The word “applied” suggests taking a developed theory and then drawing out its lessons for a particular topic; yet “applied ethics” often invites us to revise theoretical commitments. Moreover, much interesting work in applied philosophy comprises metaphysics and epistemology, as has long been the case.

Read the full post here.

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I’m excited to return to the University of Texas at Austin–where I received my Ph.D. in 1998–to participate in a public panel on the “Freedom of Religious Expression.” It’s on Thursday February 4th at 5:30 pm in the College of Liberal Arts Building (CLA) 1.302B; my co-panelists are Prof. Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia and Prof. Marci Hamilton of Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University. More information here.

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Photo by Scott Olson

Photo by Scott Olson

At the Detroit Free Press, I give a brief lesson on the pursuit of wisdom. From the op-ed:

By mocking philosophy, and the humanities more generally, Rubio devalues the pursuit of wisdom: the critical scrutiny of our fundamental beliefs and convictions; the quest to understand the world and our place in it, the exploration of great ideas about reality, knowledge, and value. Judging from our current political scene, we need more of that pursuit, not less.

Read the full article here.

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At CU-Boulder’s What’s Wrong? blog, my colleague Katherine Kim and I consider some of the pros and cons of religious arbitration. From the essay:

An important feature of liberal (i.e. free) states is to protect citizens’ moral agency, allowing them to align their actions with their moral convictions. Many citizens base their moral convictions on their religious beliefs. For these citizens, religious arbitration may provide an important opportunity to resolve disputes in accordance with shared values.

Read the full essay here.

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At the CU-Boulder “What’s Wrong?” blog, I respond to religious conservatives who claim that anti-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation strip them of their liberty. From the essay:

It’s worth emphasizing, however, that this concern is not unique to same-sex marriage. Oregon prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status or age . . .” If Ron and Nancy want a wedding cake, the Kleins may not refuse them on the grounds that one of them is previously divorced. If Rebecca and Mohammed want a wedding cake, the Kleins may not refuse them on the grounds that they have an interfaith relationship. If Richard and Mildred want a wedding cake, the Kleins may not refuse them on the grounds that they’re of different races—and so on.

Notice that virtually no one would frame these cases as “forcing” the Kleins to be “complicit” in the resulting marriages. That’s partly because there’s greater moral consensus on these other issues. But it’s also because people recognize that baking a wedding cake is not tantamount to participating in a marriage: If it were, there would be a lot of polygamous bakers in the world.

Read the full essay here.

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In response to Dan Johnson, who critiques my New York Times piece “Gay Rights and the Race Analogy,” I offer a rejoinder at The Partially Examined Life. An excerpt:

I actually support antidiscrimination laws that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. But I think we need a better argument for them than “because … segregated lunch counters.” In the original post I make a plea for nuance and fine distinctions; that plea is lost on Johnson.

Read the full rejoinder here.

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