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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Carrying red crosses and wearing T-shirts reading "STOP KILLING IRAQI CHRISTIANS," hundreds of protestors demonstrate along 14 Mile Road in Sterling Heights, Mich., Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Brandy Baker)
Doing good, doing bad, with and without religion ...

The good and the bad hide behind religion — George Pyle | The Salt Lake Tribune

" ... Of course, what the law and any religion have in common is that people interpret both of them to suit their own needs, wants, desires and feelings. People decide what is right, what they want, what they will and won’t do, and then search for legal, or religious, justifications. ...

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" ... What religion does is provide cover. Cover for the selfish, for the suddenly contrite, and even for the selfless. Religion’s greatest contribution is that it enables charity and concern for other human beings in a way that the generous and the devoted come across as serious and inspired, not weak or easy marks.

"Good and bad. It’s the individual who chooses. Not the Almighty."

Trib editorial talks diversity in the judiciary. All about religion:

Utah high court needs religious diversity — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

" ... The judiciary is necessarily more insulated from popular politics. Supreme Court justices are first appointed, not elected (although they do stand for retention elections where no justice has ever lost). Those who appoint them have the duty to foster a diverse court, and in this case that means replacing Nehring with another non-Mormon. ..."

Kirby takes a look at prayer. Hard to do without being about religion:

Prayer — hearing what you want — Robert Kirby | The Salt Lake Tribune

" ... If I owed someone a million bucks and didn’t feel like paying it, you can be damn sure that I would find a way so that God didn’t want me to pay it, either. ..."

Catholic bishop calls for doing onto the least of these. Invokes religion:

Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act does not match up with Utah ideals — Bishop John C. Wester | For The Deseret News

"As a relative newcomer to Utah, I have been impressed with the people’s generosity and deep commitment to charitable works, which are evident throughout the state. Utahns display a level of understanding of the Gospel call to care for the poor and the needy that is a model for the nation. This is one reason I find it so difficult to understand why Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, would propose H.R. 5137, the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act, which contradicts these ideals. ..."

Sportwriter looks to do something good, if not entirely selfless, for others. Does not really invoke religion (just a passing God bless at the end):

Looking forward to becoming foster parents — Jason Turner | The Logan Herald-Journal

" ... You see, my wife and I are in the final stages in preparing to become foster parents. We have completed all of the pre-service training classes, have undergone a background check, submitted all of our paperwork and have prepared a couple of rooms in our house for kids. ..."

Impossible to talk about all the violence in the Middle East without mentioning religion:

— U.S. sending arms to Kurds in Iraq — AP | sltrib.com

"The Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in northern Iraq, senior U.S. officials said Monday.

"Previously, the U.S. had insisted on only selling arms to the Iraqi government in Baghdad, but the Kurdish peshmerga fighters had been losing ground to Islamic State militants in recent weeks. ..."

Women stoned to death in Syria for adultery — AP | sltrib.com

" ... The killings were the first of their kind in rebel-held northern Syria, where jihadis from the Islamic State group have seized large swaths of territory, terrorizing residents with their strict interpretation of Islamic law, including beheadings and cutting off the hands of thieves. The jihadis recently tied a 14-year-old boy to a cross-like structure and left him for several hours in the scorching summer sun before bringing him down -- punishment for not fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. ..."

Gaza war cease-fire holds as negotiators gather — AP | sltrib.com

U.S. Evangelicals cheer on Latin American culture wars — Reuters

"Losing the fight against same-sex marriage at home, leading U.S. Evangelical Christians are joining in the culture wars in Latin America as cheerleaders for opponents of gay legal partnerships, abortion and pornography. ..."



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