Religion and the Politics of Fear

In November we will be reading three selections that fit the theme “Religion and the Politics of Fear”: Martha Nussbaum’s The New Religious Intolerance, Tom Robbins’s Skinny Legs and All, and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
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Martha Nussbaum’s The New Religious Intolerance
In a new book "The New Religious Intolerance," Martha Nussbaum explores a long history in Europe and the United States of fear and discrimination against those of other religions. In recent years, much of this has been directed at Muslims. By understanding the sources of these fears, she writes we can overcome them and extend the rights we demand for ourselves to others.
http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-04-24/martha-nussbaum-new-religious-intolerance

Tom Robbins’s Skinny Legs and All
An Arab and a Jew open a restaurant together across the street from the United Nations...
It sounds like the beginning of an ethnic joke, but it's the axis around which spins Tom Robbins's gutsy, fun-loving, and alarmingly provocative new novel, in which a bean can philosophizes, a dessert spoon mystifies, a young waitress takes on the New York art world, and a rowdy redneck welder discovers the lost god of Palestine--while the illusions that obscure humanity's view of the true universe fall away, one by one, like Salome's veils.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127486706

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
"I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history," Arthur Miller wrote of his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller's drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town's most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4496712

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Reminder: We usually choose 2-3 books per month. You're welcome at our meeting whether you read all or none of the books. We read fiction, nonfiction, and plays, and usually try to cover 1 piece of classic literature monthly. We read books reviewed or mentioned on NPR, and try to mirror NPR's tone at our meetings: thoughtful, polite discussion & commentary, with no arguing or posturing, and no sacred cows or unmentioned elephants in the room.?

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