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Rand Paul and the Welfare Rancher

The Nevada rancher’s escalating standoff with the feds raises a worrisome question: Can Americans’ relationship with their government—and each other—be saved?

When Rand Paul is the most prominent voice for peace on a polarizing issue, you know something strange is happening to America.


Rancher Cliven Bundy poses at his home in Bunkerville, Nevada, April 11, 2014. Armed U.S. rangers are rounding up cattle on federal land in Nevada in a rare showdown with Bundy, a rancher who has illegally grazed his herd on public lands for decades, as conflict over land use simmers in western states. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

History Lesson

Was There Really An Empty Tomb?

What makes Jesus different from the prophets of the world’s other great religions? The claim that he rose from the dead and left behind an empty tomb. But how much do we know about that?

The discovery of the empty tomb presupposes that there was a tomb in the first place, and that it was known, and of course that it was discovered. But if serious doubt is cast on whether there ever was a tomb, then the accounts of its discovery are similarly thrown into doubt. Christian apologists often argue that the discovery of the empty tomb is one of the most secure historical data from the history of the early Christian movement. I used to think so myself. But it simply isn’t true. Given our suspicions about the burial tradition, there are plenty of reasons to doubt the discovery of an empty tomb.



Fool Me Once…

The Fringe Faith Duping The GOP

It’s a tiny religion featuring fembots, creationists, and a leader who says his ‘Holocaust Deception’ book was a mistake. Why are so many in the GOP appearing on its TV network?

On May 24, 2012, Senator Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, gave an innocuous interview to a visiting journalist from Turkey.  “There are a lot of good people who would love to see peace, if only the hatred that exists were to vanish,” he said.


The Daily Beast

Born Skeptical

Ehrenreich Gives God a Going Over

Social critic, scientist, muckraking journalist, Barbara Ehrenreich has never been one to take things on faith. In her new book she takes a hard look at everything from religion to science.

When she was a teenager, the prospect of the eradication of the human species did not strike the future social critic and activist Barbara Ehrenreich as particularly troubling. Humans were generally overrated. “I have known people who are duller than trees, as well as individual trees that surpassed most people in complexity and character,” she writes in her new book, Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything. Trees, clouds, and the shifting moods of the sea would suffice for company.


Barbara Ehrenreich (Futh/laif/Redux)

Strange Bedfellows

Are Atheists the New Mormons?

Atheists are holding their annual convention in Salt Lake City, but things have been surprisingly cordial. Maybe these uniquely American groups have more in common than they think.

It’s a bit like holding the Republican National Convention in Berkeley: This weekend, the American Atheists are gathering in Salt Lake City for their annual conclave. Attendees can hear a keynote speech by outspoken former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, attend workshops with titles like “So you want to debate Christians?” and mingle during a karaoke night and a costume dinner.


The Daily Beast

Pope’s Plea

Francis Asks for Forgiveness

Pope Francis asked forgiveness Friday for the sins of priests who abused children. But victims’ groups say it is too soon for apologies—because the abuse and cover-ups haven’t stopped.

VATICAN CITY—The Easter season that begins on Palm Sunday this weekend is traditionally a “good news” moment for the Catholic Church. So it makes perfect sense that Pope Francis would kick off the festivities with criticism-busting headlines in the one area where he has been criticized the most—his seeming reluctance to apologize for the actions of predator priests.


Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty

Christians have flocked to defend a church in eastern China after Communist Party officials claimed it was an "illegal construction" and announced plans to demolish it.

By Tom Phillips

WENZHOU, ChinaThousands of Chinese Christians have mounted an extraordinary, round-the-clock defence of a church in a city known as the 'Jerusalem of the East' after Communist Party officials threatened to bulldoze their place of worship.

Lost Bling

Spain’s Bullsh*t ‘Holy Grail’

Two historians claim they’ve identified the legendary cup—a relic made of gold and precious stones. But where’d a poor carpenter get that kind of money?

This week news emerged that two Spanish historians have identified the Holy Grail, the cup from which Jesus drank the night before he died. And wouldn’t you know it, they found the darned thing right before Easter, too! This is more than just your average Christian relic. According to some later legends, it was also used to catch the blood that flowed from his side at the crucifixion and bestows immortality on those who drank from it.


CESAR MANSO/The Daily Beast

Faith and Science

Creationists Hate This Catholic

Kenneth Miller wrote the biology textbook often targeted by creationists who want to toss it from public schools. Oh, and now he’s won one of the Catholic Church’s top prizes.

Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller, one of America’s leading advocates, has just received one of America’s oldest and most prestigious awards—from the Roman Catholic Church.


Mike Cohea/Brown University

Declaration of Dependence

‘Dependent’ Isn’t a Dirty Word

Too many Americans—including Christians—are afraid that helping the poor will create ‘dependency.’ They’re forgetting that’s what religion is all about.

Not long ago, I preached a Lenten sermon in which I made a lone reference to food stamps as being one of the ways we “love our neighbors as ourselves.” Judging from the reactions of a few congregants, you might have thought it was all I preached about. They went out of their way to tell me how such programs “breed” complacency, laziness, and—wait for it—dependency.

It reminded me of Rep. Paul Ryan, who’s always carrying on about America’s “culture of dependency,” and just realized a major budget proposal that would slash food stamps and other government measures that relieve the misery of the poorest Americans.

Moral Panic

Everybody Chill About Firefox

Critics of Mozilla’s new anti-gay CEO overreacted, and now ‘bullied’ conservatives are in hysterics. Both sides need to slow down; we’re not going to settle the gay issue overnight.

All hell seems to have broken loose over the forced resignation of Brendan Eich as new CEO of Mozilla, maker of the Firefox Internet browser, reportedly based on the “discovery” of a contribution he made to the Prop 8 campaign in 2008. One side is making the argument that now that “the liberals” are in charge, they are bullying anyone who disagrees with them, showing their intolerance for difference of opinion. The other side is claiming that this is only the first volley in the pogrom that will take place when conservative voices and people will be rounded up like criminals, lose their jobs, and (presumably) worse at the hands of the Politically Correct Police.


The Daily Beast

Featured Story

The Power of ‘Survivor’ Blogs

The Power of ‘Survivor’ Blogs

They collect documents, interview sources, and get thousands of Facebook shares. Meet the army of ex-fundamentalists exposing the misdeeds of the organizations they left.

from The Daily Beast

Rand Paul and the Welfare Rancher

Rand Paul and the Welfare Rancher

The Nevada rancher’s escalating standoff with the feds raises a worrisome question: Can Americans’ relationship with their government—and each other—be saved?

History Lesson

Was There Really An Empty Tomb?

Fool Me Once…

The Fringe Faith Duping The GOP

Born Skeptical

Ehrenreich Gives God a Going Over

Thy neighbor’s wife

Sex Scandal Rocks Duggars’ Project

Sullivan on Christianity in America

With Passover and Easter taking place this weekend, Andrew Sullivan and John Avlon discuss how religion and politics mix and whether religion has become too politicized.