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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

There is little doubt that the news media amplify and exacerbate social and political divisions. Too often, journalists follow a ‘Noah’s Ark’ approach to coverage in which a strong liberal is paired with a vocal conservative in an ideological food fight. The result is polarization of discourse and ‘false equivalence’ in reporting. This lack of nuanced analysis confuses viewers and makes it difficult for them to sort out the contrasting facts and opinions. People get the sense that there are only two policy options and that there are few gradations or complexities in the positions that are reported.
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From the Brookings report, "Nudging News Producers and Consumers Toward More Thoughtful, Less Polarized Discourse," by Darrell West and Beth Stone. A worthy read.

This is a tension we’ve experienced first-hand when programming live events for The Civil Conversations Project. We’ve been questioned by producers and journalists in public radio news rooms about our guest choices for conversations on gay marriage and abortion. But, there have also been some really wonderful advocates, newsroom managers like Chris Worthington of Minnesota Public Radio too.

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The National Women’s Law Center published this clickable map that allows you to see:
The share of minimum wage workers who are women
The next scheduled increase in the minimum wage
Any recent action on the minimum wage in the state legislature
It looks like my home state of North Dakota has an even split of men and women as minimum wage earners.
~Trent Gilliss, executive editor

The National Women’s Law Center published this clickable map that allows you to see:

  • The share of minimum wage workers who are women
  • The next scheduled increase in the minimum wage
  • Any recent action on the minimum wage in the state legislature

It looks like my home state of North Dakota has an even split of men and women as minimum wage earners.

~Trent Gilliss, executive editor

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A concern I have about my own side is, what the main activists in the pro-life or anti-abortion community want is an overturn of Roe vs. Wade. I am not at all convinced that if that were to actually happen that they would like the world that they would see on the other side.
- David Gushee, a Christian ethicist and professor at Mercer College, during his public dialogue with Frances Kissling, a long-time reproductive rights activist and former head of Catholics for Choice
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No issue in America is more intractable than abortion. Or is it? A conversation with long-time reproductive rights activist Frances Kissling and Christian ethicist David Gushee that doesn’t begin or end in the predictable places.

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fastcompany:


A Turkish performance artist who says he is “nothing” has become a symbol of Turkish protests. Erdem Gunduz has been dubbed the “Standing Man” after he stood motionless in Taksim Square for eight hours, between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time, when he and other silent protesters were dispersed by the police.
Photo via Twitter, @snyx



With this interview from the BBC:

fastcompany:

A Turkish performance artist who says he is “nothing” has become a symbol of Turkish protests. Erdem Gunduz has been dubbed the “Standing Man” after he stood motionless in Taksim Square for eight hours, between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time, when he and other silent protesters were dispersed by the police.

Photo via Twitter, @snyx


With this interview from the BBC:

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For me, the privilege of handling the files of executed Bahá’ís is that it enabled me to view these believers from another time and place as part of my own life story. And though we are left with only memories, these soul scraps are more precious to me than any physical remains.

They are traces of human beings who learned to drink the bitter with the sweet. Memories of weddings, a favorite poem, and the dreams a young girl who dove headfirst into the ocean, arms and legs flying.

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Andréana Lefton (@AELefton) graces our blog this week with "A Dark Privilege: Bearing Witness to Victims and Prisoners of Conscience in Iran." Bahá’í leaders in Iran are being persecuted and imprisoned — simply for their faith. From a desk in London, Ms. Lefton reflects on their circumstances and how they remind her of the sacrifice and the richness of human life.

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Samuel Huntington was correct in looking toward culture as the boundary between Western and Eastern societies. But boundaries are ever-changing and values cross over between cultures by osmosis. To assume cultures are autarkic and unchanging is as erroneous as to assume that cultural distinctions are invariably resolvable. The truth about culture lies in the middle; values are transposable, which is why identity is most enthralling when they are tethered the least.
- Michael Young, from his op-ed What Does Muslim-Western Relations Mean?
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From a 2011 Pew Research Center report, a graphic showing the median percentage of Muslims across seven Muslim countries who say each of these traits describes people in Western countries and median percentage of non-Muslims across the U.S., Russia, and four Western European countries who say each of these traits describes Muslims.
I highly recommend reading Michael Young’s op-ed "What Does Muslim-Western Relations Mean?" that gets at these ideas about values, characteristics, and identity.
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

From a 2011 Pew Research Center report, a graphic showing the median percentage of Muslims across seven Muslim countries who say each of these traits describes people in Western countries and median percentage of non-Muslims across the U.S., Russia, and four Western European countries who say each of these traits describes Muslims.

I highly recommend reading Michael Young’s op-ed "What Does Muslim-Western Relations Mean?" that gets at these ideas about values, characteristics, and identity.

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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trentgilliss:

I fear the copious media coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s handling of same-sex marriage might drowned out a pivotal case the Court is hearing right now. At stake is who owns the stuff of which we are made.

As Nina Totenberg reports for NPR, Myriad Genetics and ACLU are arguing about the patentability of our own genetic material. As Christopher Hansen of the American Civil Liberties Union argues:

“A patent isn’t a reward for effort. A patent is a reward for invention. And Myriad didn’t invent anything. The gene exists in the body. All Myriad did is find it.”

But, it may not be as simple as that. Research companies want to be compensated for their efforts. They want to ensure that their work is protected  from other profiteers. But, to what extent? Can human genes themselves be patented, or the mechanisms behind them? What is the right of companies like Myriad Genetics to be rewarded for their efforts that contributes to better clinical care and our social good? What are the ethical and moral responsibilities of these companies to put patients first and not keep them from their own genetic information?

Big questions with huge decisions that will impact us and our children.

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A reframed, redemptive conversation about same-sex marriage with the subject before the Supreme Court. Coming to the gay marriage debate from two, predictable opposing directions, David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch both have an equal desire to strengthen the institution of marriage. They’re now showing all of us another way forward in grappling with the future of marriage.

This live event is part of On Being's continuing series, The Civil Conversations Project. Check it out. We are addressing all types of difficult topics, taking them head-on but from an angle.

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On this sad day commemorating 45 years since MLK’s death, a reminder that his message of nonviolence and the beloved community lives on in the work of one of his closest friends and confidants, Congressman John Lewis.

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An hour with the extraordinary humanity of Congressman John Lewis. The civil rights movement he helped animate was — as he tells it — love in action. He opens up the art and the discipline that made nonviolence work then — and that he offers up for our common life even today. John Lewis so gives voice to the meaning of Passover and Holy Week.

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Krista Tippett interviews civil rights legend and Congressman John Lewis in Montgomery, Alabama during the Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Amazing man!

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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trentgilliss:

On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision regarding Roe v. Wade. Forty years later, the decision remains a hot-button topic in the news but, as this Pew study points out, there has been remarkable consistency in public opinion over the last two decades:


“More than six-in-ten (63%) say they would not like to see the court completely overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Only about three-in-ten (29%) would like to see the ruling overturned. These opinions are little changed from surveys conducted 10 and 20 years ago.


White evangelical Protestants remain outliers in this respect:


[They] are the only major religious group in which a majority (54%) favors completely overturning the Roe v. Wade decision. Large percentages of white mainline Protestants (76%), black Protestants (65%) and white Catholics (63%) say the ruling should not be overturned. Fully 82% of the religiously unaffiliated oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.


However, the U.S. public continues to be divided over whether it is morally acceptable to have an abortion:


“Nearly half (47%) say it is morally wrong to have an abortion, while just 13% find this morally acceptable; 27% say this is not a moral issue and 9% volunteer that it depends on the situation. These opinions have changed little since 2006.”


For a more in-depth discussion about the nuances of this conversation, I recommend listening to this conversation I produced for On Being with David Gushee, a Christian ethicist who advocates a “consistent ethic of life,” and Frances Kissling, a long-time abortion-rights activist, who reveal what they admire in the other side and discuss what’s really at stake in this debate.

trentgilliss:

On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision regarding Roe v. Wade. Forty years later, the decision remains a hot-button topic in the news but, as this Pew study points out, there has been remarkable consistency in public opinion over the last two decades:

“More than six-in-ten (63%) say they would not like to see the court completely overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Only about three-in-ten (29%) would like to see the ruling overturned. These opinions are little changed from surveys conducted 10 and 20 years ago.

White evangelical Protestants remain outliers in this respect:

[They] are the only major religious group in which a majority (54%) favors completely overturning the Roe v. Wade decision. Large percentages of white mainline Protestants (76%), black Protestants (65%) and white Catholics (63%) say the ruling should not be overturned. Fully 82% of the religiously unaffiliated oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.

However, the U.S. public continues to be divided over whether it is morally acceptable to have an abortion:

“Nearly half (47%) say it is morally wrong to have an abortion, while just 13% find this morally acceptable; 27% say this is not a moral issue and 9% volunteer that it depends on the situation. These opinions have changed little since 2006.”

For a more in-depth discussion about the nuances of this conversation, I recommend listening to this conversation I produced for On Being with David Gushee, a Christian ethicist who advocates a “consistent ethic of life,” and Frances Kissling, a long-time abortion-rights activist, who reveal what they admire in the other side and discuss what’s really at stake in this debate.

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Recently I heard a wonderful program on National Public Radio about Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. I was struck by one of his quotes: ‘Some are guilty, but all are responsible.’

I pray for the victims and families in Newtown and Aurora and Virginia Tech and Red Lake and Columbine and Minneapolis and Norway and Webster and all the other lesser known atrocities — and for my country.

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The Spiritual Audacity of Abraham Joshua HeschelJohn Patrick Egelhof, lead FBI agent of the Red Lake High School massacre, from his excellent if not challenging commentary in the Star Tribune. Read it.

The NPR program to which Mr. Egelhof is referring is On Being with Krista Tippett, which is the radio program I’ve edited and produced for the last nine years. The show he’s culling from: “The Spiritual Audacity of Abraham Joshua Heschel.”

One of the most gratifying aspects of working on this project is seeing this type of practical impact. Many times it’s difficult to quantify the influence our work is having in the world; seeing a key law enforcement official who has faced unbelievable tragedy use these pearls of wisdom to inform his own thinking and being breathes new life into the work that I do. It’s all the thanks I need.

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