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Podcast: The costs of culture wars: Curiosity at risk

Podcast: The costs of culture wars: Curiosity at risk

In some ways, our culture is less tolerant and more fragile than it once was. The teaching of literature in schools and colleges is often caught in the crossfire of the culture wars. Support for canceling books and authors by the illiberal left and demands to ban books from the reactionary right have led to the removal of important literature from classrooms and libraries.

In this episode, author and literature professor, Deborah Appleman mounts a rousing case for teaching troubling texts in troubling times. "Our classrooms need to remain a space where critical thinking is taught, tolerance from different viewpoints is modeled, and the sometimes-harsh truth of our history and literary heritage are not hidden," she says. Her latest book is "Literature and The New Culture Wars."

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Quite simply, fairness matters

Sturner, the author of “Fairness Matters,” is the managing partner of Entourage Effect Capital. Meyers is the executive editor of The Fulcrum.

This is the first entry in the “Fairness Matters” series, examining structural problems with the current political systems, critical policies issues that are going unaddressed and the state of the 2024 election.

Our path forward as a nation requires that we send a resounding message to Washington that fairness matters. That proportional representation needs to be the heart and soul of our political system because, right now, the far left and the far right are disproportionately represented. Meanwhile, "we the people" are not nearly as polarized as our legislatures, and that is by design.

The absence of fairness (some real and some perceived) is driving the political dysfunction in our country today. The vast majority of the American public wakes up every day and we go to work. We are moderate in our views on most issues, mostly just to the right or left of center. Most of us value common sense in our lives and strive to find a way to peacefully get through our days, to enable us to care for our loved ones while trying to make better lives for ourselves and our children.

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A Maricopa County GOP leader told an audience that if local election official Stephen Richer (above) were in the room with them, she would '"ynch him."

We can’t let Christianity be used to ‘lynch’ anyone

Sexton is executive director of the Arizona Faith Network and an ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Campbell is lead pastor at Desert Springs Bible Church and author of “Disarming Leviathan: Loving Your Christian Nationalist Neighbor.”

As pastors in Arizona, we are concerned about the toxic polarization that has taken hold in our state and the weight it is adding to the souls of our neighbors. A video recently surfaced that showed violent rhetoric toward an Arizona public servant. It deserves the rebuke of Christians in our state — and all people of goodwill.

Maricopa County Republican Party official Shelby Busch told an audience that if Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican, were in the room with them, she would “lynch him.” This was not only a call to violence. It is a term that carries a particularly disturbing connotation in the history of our country.

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The ideal democracy: An orchestra in harmony

Frazier is an assistant professor at the Crump College of Law at St. Thomas University. Starting this summer, he will serve as a Tarbell fellow.

In the symphony of our democracy, we can find a compelling analogy with an orchestra. The interplay of musicians trained in different instruments, each contributing to the grand musical tapestry, offers lessons for our democratic system. As we navigate the complexities of governance, let us draw inspiration from the orchestra's structure, dynamics and philosophy.

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David French

New York Times columnist David French was removed from the agenda of a faith-basd gathering because we was too "divisive."

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Is canceling David French good for civic life?

Harwood is president and founder of The Harwood Institute. This is the latest entry in his series based on the "Enough. Time to Build.” campaign, which calls on community leaders and active citizens to step forward and build together.

On June 10-14, the Presbyterian Church in America held its annual denominational assembly in Richmond, Va. The PCA created considerable national buzz in the lead-up when it abruptly canceled a panel discussion featuring David French, the highly regarded author and New York Times columnist.

The panel carried the innocuous-sounding title, “How to Be Supportive of Your Pastor and Church Leaders in a Polarized Political Year.” The reason for canceling it? French, himself a long-time PCA member, was deemed too “divisive.” This despite being a well-known, self-identified “conservative” and PCA adherent. Ironically, the loudest and most divisive voices won the day.

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Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer testifies at the Democratic National Convention in 1964.

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60 years later, it's time to restart the Freedom Summer

Johnson is a United Methodist pastor, the author of "Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community" and program director for the Bridge Alliance, which houses The Fulcrum.

Sixty years have passed since Freedom Summer, that pivotal season of 1964 when hundreds of young activists descended upon an unforgiving landscape, driven by a fierce determination to shatter the chains of racial oppression. As our nation teeters on the precipice of another transformative moment, the echoes of that fateful summer reverberate across the years, reminding us that freedom remains an unfinished work.

At the heart of this struggle stood Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper's daughter whose voice thundered like a prophet's in the wilderness, signaling injustice. Her story is one of unyielding defiance, of a spirit that the brutal lash of bigotry could not break. When Hamer testified before the Democratic National Convention in 1964, her words, laced with the pain of beatings and the fire of righteous indignation, laid bare the festering wound of racial terror that had long plagued our nation. Her resilience in the face of such adversity is a testament to the power of the human spirit.

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