Today in Goodness

Southern Methodist University Theology Professor Alyce M. McKenzie considers her son’s reaction to a trip to Denmark, and then reviews Phil Zuckerman’s book about Denmark and Sweden, entitled “Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Tell us about Contentment.”

His book is, in part, an attempt to counter conservative Christian pundits (Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, William Bennett, Bill O’Reilly, and Paul Weyrich) who swear that a society without God is hell on earth. No, says Zuckerman, based on his experience in Scandinavia. Life in an irreligious democracy can actually be quite pleasant and civil. Denmark and Sweden are strong, safe, healthy, moral, prosperous societies.

Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter tells graduating students about the continuing tensions between one Constitutional good and another, and notes that conservative readings of the Constitution “diminish” us. Linda Greenhouse ponders the meaning of it all.

Marc Ambinder considers journalism’s perpetual struggle to see and report truth, and proposes shaming as a solution for the lies of conservatives. It might seem odd to post this on a blog about goodness, but I believe that no individual or society can become good if they can’t speak truth. Today too much of what passes for political speech (and punditry) is outright fabrication. For what it’s worth, I first struggled with issues of goodness as a rookie journalist at a wire service.

Finally, Tiger Pitcher Armando Galarraga is robbed of his perfect baseball game because of an umpire’s bad call, but he seems to have gained much more than an appearance in the history books.  File this one under the categories of forgiveness and compassion.

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