No issue inspires more division and debate in the modern Christian community than homosexuality. While LGBT people of faith are gaining more of a foothold in the religious community than ever before, opponents are pushing back just as hard. Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, is a loud and passionate advocate for acceptance, thrust by birth into the very heart of the controversy. His new book “Fall To Grace: A Revolution of God, Self and Society” is equal parts autobiography and clarion call, as Jay explores his understanding of “grace” and how he came to see homosexuality as fully compatible with a life lived in faith. There are many, however, who believe that homosexuality is clearly and directly labeled a sin in the Bible, and that accepting homosexuality would be akin to accepting adultery, or theft. Is homosexuality compatible with Christian theology or not? Is it time for members of the community of faith to open their hearts to their gay brothers and sisters? Or would that be utterly contrary to the written word of God?
Doctors joke that healthy people, are simply folks who haven't gone through enough medical testing. Patients who visit doctors often, get poked, prodded, x-rayed, tested and re-tested. What starts out as a mild burning sensation from drinking apple cider, leads to a diagnosis of acid reflux disease. Cold hands on the ski slope? Reynaud’s Disease. In his new book, “Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health Medicine," Dr. Gilbert Welch argues that what we’re really suffering from is an epidemic of over diagnosis. Welch, a health policy expert, examines the possibility that American doctors now label too many of us as sick, and as a result, are over-treating patients who never go on to develop symptoms or die from the diagnosed conditions. Going against the conventional wisdom that more screening equals the best preventive medicine, Welch builds a compelling case that we need less – not more – scans and tests. Are doctors being overly alarmist? Or do we really need all those mammograms? What are the ramifications of a health care system that unnecessarily diagnoses and treats patients?
Almost a year ago, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren came to UC Irvine to give a speech on U.S. Israeli security. Oren was interrupted 10 times by student protesters while trying to give his speech before 500 people at the UCI Student Center. He took a 20-minute break after the fourth protest and then resumed his speech, only to be interrupted again every few minutes. Eleven students were arrested and the Muslim Student Union, which denies organizing the protest, was suspended for one year. Word has it that now the District Attorney of Orange County has convened a grand jury to look into conspiracy charges against the students. Is this excessive? Are the Muslim students being treated as any other protesters would?
On Martin Luther King Day, a UC Irvine cafeteria offered an MLK Holiday Special of fried chicken and waffles. The university’s Black Student Union complained and yesterday campus officials issued an apology. But did they need to? Was the offering any different than providing Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo? Was the move culturally insensitive or an appropriate recognition of African-America cultural history? What food should the campus dining hall offer on MLK Day?