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'Happy' songwriter says 'God and universe are synonymous'

Singer Pharrell Williams gestures as he attends the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)'s 35th Anniversary Gala presented by Louis Vuitton at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles, California, on March 29, 2014 (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn)Have you heard the song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams?  It originally appeared in the animated movie Despicable Me 2 and it has been on the radio for over a year.  One critic called it "unbelievably catchy" and "the kind of song that makes you want to dance and sing along."  I am a sucker for a fun song; I use it as the ringtone on my phone.

The "Happy" writer said on Good Morning America that the song came from a moment of writer's block and that "the master, God, the universe" spoke to him.  In a recent interview, Williams described those celebrities that would claim there is no God to be "incredibly arrogant and pompous," and he exclaimed "It's amazing that there are people who really believe that. It's unbelievable."

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The metric system and the future of America

A closeup of a wooden ruler showing both imperial (inches) and metric (centimeters) forms of measurement(Credit: Biking Nikon SFO via Flickr) I think the metric system is a metaphor for the future of America.  Here's why.

My thinking begins with Seth Stevenson, who writes fascinating articles for Slate.  His most recent column responds to Whatever Happened to the Metric System? by John Bemelmans Marciano.  According to Stevenson, a meter was originally one ten-millionth of the length of a longitudinal meridian between the equator and the North Pole.  Got that?  The meter changed in 1960 when it took its basis from the wavelength of krypton-86 radiation.  It changed again in 1983, and now is the length of the path traveled by light in a vacuum during 1/299,792,458 of a second.

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Are Americans more liberal than Jesus?

American flag draped a man's shoulders standing before a large crowd (Credit: E.N.K via Flickr) A research company recently asked 1,000 Americans what they thought Jesus would think about some of the issues of our day.  The results are surprising, to say the least.  Of those surveyed:

  • 48 percent support legal abortion, but only 20 percent think Jesus would agree.
  • 48 percent support gay marriage, but only 32 percent think Jesus would agree.
  • 58 percent support the death penalty, but only 34 percent think Jesus would agree.
  • 56 percent support higher taxes on the wealthy, but only 45 percent think Jesus would agree.

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America: more divided than ever?

America Divided concept: American flag painted on a broken brick (Credit: michaklootwijk via Fotolia)As a boy, I recited the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of every school day.  I've said these words thousands of times: "One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."  How true are they today?

Are we "one nation under God"?

Fifty years ago, America's religious landscape was dominated by Protestants and Catholics.  But as Diane Eck shows in A New Religious America, the U.S. is now the world's most religiously diverse nation.  This diversity can be traced back to 1965, when Lyndon Johnson signed a new immigration law that led to a significant surge of immigrants.  As a result, Muslims in America now outnumber Jews, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians.

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Hobby Lobby: What the ruling means to you

News microphones wait to capture reactions from Supreme Court rulings outside the court building in Washington, June 25, 2013 (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) Aristotle believed that law is "reason free from passion."  If he had witnessed the Hobby Lobby controversy, he might have changed his position.

On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.  The name of the case was changed to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. after Sylvia Mathews Burwell replaced Kathleen Sebelius as the Secretary of Health and Human Services on June 9, 2014.

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