American Hybrid: Stories of Immigration

Date:  September 23, 2012
Speaker:   Mark Alvarez

 Mark Alvarez is an attorney and Spanish-language radio host. He writes biweekly columns in Spanish for Nuestro Mundo and La Bala Magazine. He has written guest commentary for The Salt Lake Tribune, Selective Echo and Standard-Examiner. He has lived in London, England; Valencia, Spain; and Mexico City, Mexico.

What does it mean to be “American?” Building on a previous Questioning Minds presentation, “The Challenge of Borders: Immigration in a Globalized World” and its discussion of a sustainable immigration system, “American Hybrid” considers individual stories of immigrants and citizens to generate a conversation about what “being American” means. The challenges of policy, politics and human interaction will be raised during this presentation.”

Speaker-Suggested References:
Immigrant initiatives:
How we look at Latinos:
Reform immigration as if people mattered:
Gabriela’s ‘All-American’ Dream: An immigrant family’s desire to be like any other normal American family:
Sorry, immigration reform is a federal responsibility:
Híbrido Americano: Historias de inmigración:
Belinda: Híbrida Americana:


Religion and Violence: A Panel Discussion

Date:   Sunday September 9, 2012
Panel Moderator:  Dean Chatterjee,
Senior Advisor and Professorial Fellow, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
Speakers:   Reverend Tom Goldsmith,
Minister, First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City
Wayne McCormack, E.W. Thode Professor of Law, University of Utah
Michael Minch: Director of Peace and Justice Studies, and Associate Professor of Philosophy, Utah Valley University

The panel will discuss the relationship between religion and violence in general and with specific reference to its manifestation in the United States.

“All great religions extol peace and non-violence, yet more violence has been sparked by religion than by any other single factor or cause. Why is this so? What aspect of religion gives rise to this paradox? The seemingly unholy alliance of God and gun is especially evident in the United States. Religion and violence are two of the more pronounced features of US society. Historically, genocide and slavery were perpetuated in the name of religion in the US. Today violence is rampant and ubiquitous in the United States, ranging from high rate of violent crime, periodic mass shootings, and the preponderance of violent themes in the media and entertainment industry (to name a few of its faces) to institutional and sanctioned violence such as the US prison system, practice of the death penalty, and the militarization of US foreign policy. America’s unique gun culture baffles the rest of the world. Yet the United States is simultaneously a very religious society—the most religious among industrialized nations.”

Given our current context of preparing for a presidential election, the panelists will also comment on the politics of religion and violence on the campaign trail, and on the role of religion in a secular democracy.

Speaker-Suggested References: (see Questioning Minds Archives) online:
William Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence (Oxford, 2009)
Wayne McCormack, et al, ed., Values and Violence (Springer, 2008)
Jim Wallis, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (Harper, 2005)
Richard T. Hughes, Myths America Lives By (U of Illinois Press, 2004).