Countries of Particular Concern:  In case you’ve forgotten that American democracy is the best chance for religious freedom around the world, here’s an interview with Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom and advisor to the Secretary of State and the President of the United States on issues of Religious Freedom, and Dr. Chris Seiple, president of the Institute of Global Engagement.

E. Daniel Martin at Mennonite Weekly Review responds to Brian Larkin’s recent post on sexuality by–I’m not kidding–comparing homosexuality to blindness (a new twist on the old masturbation wive’s tale!), which suggests that whatever Mr. Martin doesn’t personally approve of must be a pathology. But it’s not just queer sex he’s chastising us for:

It is the devil’s deception that if you cannot have sexual intercourse you cannot have a fulfilling life. Sex is elevated as a god that must be served at all costs.

What?  Says who? Thankfully he doesn’t speak for the entire Mennonite body.

A jury of your peers!  Von Lester Taylor, a Utahan on death row for having killed two women, a mother and daughter, in 1990, has appealed his sentence and conviction because he says there were too many Mormons on the jury.  The case is now before the state Supreme Court.  run Riley, Utah’s Attorney General, has “argued the only purpose for the ongoing legal process was to delay Taylor’s execution.”  Can you blame him?

Our favorite read this week?  “The Dispossessed” by Tablet’s Matthew Fishbane.  He writes, “nearly half of Venezuela’s Jewish community has fled from the social and economic chaos that the president has unleashed and from the uncomfortable feeling that they were being specifically targeted by the [Chávez] regime.”

The Russian Jewish Congress will have none of the government’s attempt to alter a memorial plaque in Zmiyevskaya Balka where 27,000 Jews were killed in 1942.  The contested new plaque would state “mass killing” instead of “Holocaust.”

Hold your evil tongue.  At the Zondervan blog:

What exactly is an “evil tongue”? [When the apostle Peter speaks of an “evil tongue” in 1 Peter 3:8-10, he’s quoting Psalm 34:12–13.]

In Hebrew, lashon hara (lah-SHON ha-RAH) is the name that Judaism gives to all types of gossip, slander, and malicious speech…

Peter Manseau reminds us that the death of innocence belongs to everyone:

Whatever else it has become, Anne Frank’s diary is a book written by an adolescent and largely read by adolescents. It is a book children encounter when they are just beginning to realize that they soon will be adults. For many would-be writers and artists, it is the book that first suggests that their voices, like Anne’s, can be used to struggle to make sense of the world.