About Trump’s big speech on Islam to be delivered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, please pass this jewel from columnist Sarah Posner to Department chairs of Religious Studies and to their deans. “[E]xperts I spoke with today warned that this speech is so fraught with pitfalls that they are surprised Trump is even attempting it. They say handling such a nuanced topic as religion is a challenge even for the most learned minds and skilled orators. Yet Trump faces that problem and the additional challenge of striking a balance that is unique to his political situation” (emphasis added). Yes, about religion a little nuance would help. One could start with the tense relation between religion and culture, the difference between essentialism and historical contingency, and arguments about “belief.” Maybe not for this crew of deplorables in the White House, but professors in Religion could be able to help serve a public good? While none of this Posner’s precise point, that’s my partisan takeaway. You can read the entire column here.
if the experts were really surprised they haven’t been paying attention to our dear leader, what are the chances he will slur Shia folks on behalf of his hosts and to attack Iran?