Want to Understand What’s Happening in America? Watch a Divorcing Couple

Does anyone believe the conversation Americans are having about guns and school shootings is (a) thoughtful, (b) sufficiently nuanced, (c) productive, or (d) even reliably honest? How about all those other conversations we’re having about immigration, policing, or gay rights? Not so much, right?  Okay, so what about discussions about elections, health care, religious freedom, … Continue reading

One Day Americans Will Weep about This: A Lament for Syria

Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D. Note:  One of the precious characteristics of dialogue is that you can actually SAY what you’re thinking….and maybe even be heard too?!   Back in 2011 when the Syrian people began protesting for more freedom, I wrote an essay entitled, “The domestic violence of Syria is all our problem”; but I … Continue reading

Dear America, Please Don’t Forget about the Never Trump Conservatives

Subtitle:  There Are (Still) Two Fundamentally Different Kinds of Conservatives One week ago, hundreds of Utahns gathered to share thought about the election and this new moment in America.  No matter what people were feeling – fear, anger, despair, elation – we made welcome space to explore them all. One thing is for sure: the fear … Continue reading

Dear Fellow Religious Americans: A Wicked Man is Not Going to Make Our Country’s Problems Any Better

Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D. Over the last year, I’ve been among the Never (Ever) Trump conservatives watching friends and family get pushed closer and closer to eventually concluding that they must simply “hold their nose,” as they usually say, and Vote Trump. Like people muscling up the courage to start a drug with predictably huge side-effects, they … Continue reading

Attention from in Utah’s Largest Newspaper

Thanks to Allison Pond for mentioning us in her article last weekend in Utah’s biggest newspaper, the Deseret News:   Is there a movement to depolarize America? (Sunday, March 6, 2016)  Hess, a lifelong religious conservative, teamed up with Phil Neisser, an atheist, Marxist professor at State University of New York, to write a 2012 book called … Continue reading

Still DON’T GET Trump Supporters? This Might Help

by Jacob Hess “How can so many people be supporting…HIM?!”  Either you’ve heard that or thought it yourself (or both). Psychoanalyzing Donald Trump supporters has become a kind of American hobby – ‘they’re mostly uneducated, you know’…’I heard they’re into that authoritarian thing’…from the insulting to the humorous, theories explaining ‘those people’ abound. As fun as it … Continue reading

Celebrating (and Mourning) Marriage’s Evolution in America

[Published in the Huffington Post soon after being posted here] In the days ahead, most of America will have its eye on the Supreme Court as they issue their ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges concerning whether states have the power to define marriage as male-female institution. A large segment of the nation would vigorously celebrate … Continue reading

Religious Freedom and Gay Marriage:  (Un)happily Ever After?

Religious Freedom and Gay Marriage:  (Un)happily Ever After? Jacob Hess, Ph.D., Director, Village Square Salt Lake City; Partner, Living Room Conversations Note:  Thanks to Kendall Wilcox for his substantial help in shaping and improving this essay. The Mormon Church is “idiotic”…”ridiculous”…”illogical” and “schizophrenic” to make such “fear-based” arguments.  So erupted the Facebook comments in response to … Continue reading

Did Something Really Good or Really Bad Just Happen In Utah?

 Leaning back in his chair, Jim Dabakis – an openly gay state senator from Utah – quoted one columnist who recently called him a “quisling” for his efforts to explore potential common ground with Mormon legislators. He added with a wry smile, “I’m not even sure what that word means…but it doesn’t sound good!”  [he’s … Continue reading

Christianity was liberation for you—for me it was slavery: a tale of two kingdoms

Jacob just had a new essay published on opendemocracy.net’s e-zine, Transformation.  Check it out here! https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/jacob-z-hess/christianity-was-liberation-for-you%E2%80%94for-me-it-was-slavery-tale-of-two-ki