Your take on religious beliefs & remembering the four chaplains
Welcome to The Fulcrum’s daily weekday e-newsletter where insiders and outsiders to politics are informed, meet, talk, and act to repair our democracy and make it live and work in our everyday lives.
Earlier this week, we were musing about religion, why it exists, and if religious beliefs are, on balance, helpful or unhelpful to modern life. We asked you for your opinions on this question:
What is your take on why religious beliefs are necessary? Or not?
We received hundreds of responses. The most ever. And many people conflated religious beliefs with religion itself. We caused some of this confusion with our subject line: Your Take on Religion’s Best Use.
With more American troops desperately needed to fight in Europe during World War II, the SS Dorchester left New York on January 23, 1943. Formerly a civilian ship, the Dorchester - like the 900 men onboard - was recruited for military service.
During the early morning hours of February 3rd, the German submarine U-223 fired on the Dorchester off Newfoundland. Exploding in the boiler room, this missile cut off the electricity and released thick clouds of gas and steam all over the ship. The immediate aftermath of the damage disoriented those onboard and paralyzed many with fear, thereby impeding their ability to head to the lifeboats. In fact, only two of the fourteen lifeboats were successfully utilized as soldiers and crew were directed to abandon ship. Many soldiers jumped into the freezing water and waited for rescue.
Sixty years ago in his most famous speech, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of his vision of an America transformed. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," he said. Was this an argument for a color-blind society, or should racism be thought of as structural and systematic?
Ibram X. Khendi, author of the best-selling book, "How To Be An AntiRacist", argues that "the most threatening racist movement" is the drive for race-neutrality. This episode's guest, Bion Bartning, argues that instead of emphasizing our common humanity, the approach of Kendhi and others lumps people into simplistic racial groupings.
UNITE is a national initiative to ease divisions, prevent violence, and solve problems. UNITE designed the Dignity Index, an eight-point scale that measures the level of contempt or dignity in a selected passage of speech. Lower scores (1-4) reflect a lack of dignity and the presence of contempt, with the lowest score (1) showing the most contempt. The higher scores (5-8) reflect language grounded in dignity, with the highest score (8) showing the most dignity.
In September 2022, a team from the University of Utah that included the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, the David Eccles School of Business, and the Hinckley Institute of Politics joined the project UNITE effort to pilot the Dignity Index in Utah. With a team of 22 student coders from politically and ideologically diverse backgrounds, the Utah pilot tested using the Dignity Index in coding passages in Utah political campaigns.