A student editor at the Liberty Champion, Liberty University's student newspaper, is crying foul after his column was axed by university president Jerry Falwell Jr. The piece — part of a weekly column by sports editor Joel Schmieg — took aim at Donald Trump's so-called "locker room talk" in which the Republican presidential candidate bragged about being able to get away with sexual assault.
What does the Bible have in common with Fifty Shades of Grey or one of John Green’s best-selling young adult novels? For the first time in nearly a decade, the Bible made the list of the American Library Association’s 10 most frequently challenged books last year.
Saudi Arabia’s first public display of contemporary art opened last weekend in Jeddah.
The National reports that the city was crowded as people visited the raw concrete building that features more than 50 pieces from 22 local artists, under the somewhat provocative title, “We Need to Talk About It.”
The exhibit displays a spectrum of the land’s story – past, present, future. But because the art is open-ended, multi-faceted, and Saudi Arabia is governed by powerful clerics under a version of Sharia law, this public test of authority proves to be a difficult subject.
Take a roller coaster ride on a classical music score, and see a voilionist respond to a cell phone interruption. See a visual of the day the internet went dark, and generate your own SuperPAC name. Plus, for the first time, Disney employees can grow facial hair. Take a look at today's links of awesomeness!
Google's vow to pull out of China last month was partly based on the discovery that human rights activists' Gmail accounts had been hacked into, purportedly by Chinese intelligence. As a human rights advocate, this is worrying news for all who seek to fight for justice around the world.
To sing or to die: now I will begin. There’s no force that can silence me. —Pablo Neruda, “Epic Song”
In a world so torn by poverty and war, perhaps music can seem like a secondary concern. But as Christians know so well, music feeds the spirit, comforts the downtrodden, strengthens the weary, and can give words a power they do not possess on paper. Imagine life without your favorite hymn or the song that safely channeled your teenage rebellion, or the anthem of peace or protest that still stirs you. Imagine life without Bach or Handel, or Neil Young, or Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit” (dismissed in its day by Time magazine as “a prime piece of musical propaganda”).
Imagine if someone literally took away your song. Wouldn’t you hunger for it like bread?
When a government or powerful religious or ethnic group tries to turn off the music, the stakes are high. Music is another way to hear the news and a means to find common passion between very different peoples. In this way silence, or a restricted diet of state-approved tunes, can diminish us. But the more immediate and sometimes tragic cost is borne by the artists around the globe who have faced intimidation, loss of livelihood, imprisonment, torture, and even death for recording, performing, or distributing their music:
- South Africa revoked singer Miriam Makeba’s citizenship and right of return after her 1963 testimony about apartheid before the United Nations.
- Populist Chilean folk/political singer and songwriter Victor Jara was one of several musicians who supported the successful 1970 campaign of Salvador Allende to become president of Chile. When a 1973 military coup overturned the Allende government, Jara was among the thousands of citizens subsequently tortured and executed. His torturers reportedly broke his hands so that he couldn’t play his guitar; his final lyrics, written on scraps of paper during the few days before he was killed, were smuggled out by survivors.