“W h ere do you get your morality from?”
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T he very first act President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was designed to correct a failing of previous pay equality legislation that prevented women from filing anti-discrimination claims more than 180 days after the discriminatory decision had been made. To me, this provision seems fairly straightforward and uncontroversial, but the vote split along party lines with a very few exceptions. Why the opposition?
W h en the first m easles vaccine was introduced in 1963, the total number of annual measles cases in the United States topp ed 450,000. By 1968, the number had dropped below 30,000, and by 2000, the disease had been eliminated from the United States entirely.
Just in March, three Christianity inspired big screen movies saw their theatrical debut: Noah, Son of God, and God is Not Dead. These films span the spectrum of quality and audience, so I thought it might be interesting to cross-examine them as examples of modern religion inspired films.
N o . Persecution is a very strong word, and I am extremely uncomfortable applying it to atheists in America.
I n her recent guest column in the DP, entitled “Let’s discuss sensitivity,” Shana Frankel asks: “Why do I, as a religious Jewish student, feel marginalized in my college experience” when we claim to be such a politically correct and culturally sensitive campus?
W h en the ARCH building reopened this year, a small pane of stained glass sparked a controversy. The building was the former home of the Christian Student Association and contains 15 glass coats of arms representing international missionary destinations for the CSA. The one in question portrays the Rising Sun Flag, Japan’s military flag. Originally a symbol of good fortune, the flag has come to be associated with Japanese imperialism and conquest in South Korea and China. Obscured by construction barriers for years, the sudden reintroduction of the symbol to Locust Walk understandably caused quite a stir among Penn’s Korean students.
F o r my last column, I wanted to describe why the laws being introduced around the country allowing discrimination on religious grounds were wrong. While writing though, I found myself struggling to come to terms with exactly why I thought that. I was unable to resolve my inner conflict between my desire to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience and my desire to see discrimination of all kinds relegated to the dustbin of history.
Since November of 2012, 10 new states have legalized same-sex marriage by court decision, legislation or popular referendum. Pending appeal, Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia are poised to j oin them in the next couple of years. In reaction to this tremendous push forward, several state legislatures are trying to pull us back to the 1960s.
Last week I attended a seminar entitled “How to NOT build a Terminator” by Ronald Arkin, director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology . The talk explored how roboticists should approach the ethics of robots with lethal autonomy, especially in light of increased military interest in robotics. Advocacy groups around the world are calling for preemptive actions ranging from a moratorium on robots capable of deadly force to a total ban on robotics research.
I n 2007, George Kalman was notified that his chosen corporate name, “I Choose Hell Productions, LLC,” violated a local blasphemy law. The law stated that a business name “may not contain words that constitute blasphemy, profane cursing or swearing or that profane the Lord’s name.” Kalman didn’t live in Syria, Saudi Arabia or Iran.
Pastor Aaron Campbell of Philadelphia’s Antioch of Calvary Chapel has been independently planning the upcoming Ravi Zacharias lecture for over two years. According to Campbell, Ravi’s talk will be “one of the most intellectually stimulating lectures you have ever been to.”
Penn’s promoters and advertisers loudly trumpet our diversity as a campus. The University’s website has an entire subdomain dedicated to the subject.
During his Christmas address in Vatican City, Pope Francis reached out to atheists, saying, “I invite even nonbelievers to desire peace. [Join us] with your desire, a desire that widens the heart. Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace.” The line received an uproarious ovation, but I wish to withhold my applause.