Peter Beinart reminds us that when it comes to foreign “intervention,” the religious make-up of a country often determines what factions of the U.S. ruling population support military invasion.  Syria is proving to be a juggernaut for the typically allied Christian Right and Neocons.  What will happen to Syria’s Christians?

Marsha B. Cohen traces the origin of Pirum and The Book of Esther.*

The closest that most scholars can come to identifying the historical setting of the Book of Esther is the reign of Xerxes, who ruled from 486-465 BC. A staunch and uncompromising monotheist, Xerxes eliminated all government subsidies that non-Zoroastrian religious cults in the Persian empire had been receiving from his father. According to scholar Robert Littman, writing in the Jewish Quarterly Review, it was actually Babylonians, not Jews, who were the original victims in an incident that would be recast as the tale of Esther and Mordecai in the Megillah.

Ricky Ricardo was Cuban:  Leonard Pitts writes at The Miami Herald exactly what Muslims must do to “fight bigotry,” is what other minority groups have done, promote cultural ambassadors via shows like “All American Muslim.”  He writes that the Florida Family Association, which pushed advertisers to abandon the show, were “right in thinking ‘All American Muslim’ might have made it harder for Americans to sustain a blanket fear of all things Islamic.”

The Southern Party:  I’m betting Santorum takes Alabama and Mississippi tonight. In the meanwhile, read Alec MacGillis at The New Republic:

If this year’s GOP presidential candidates have all year been making such a conservative pitch in order to appeal to a party shaped by the South, why have they been having such a hard time connecting with voters in the most Southern states of all?

If you haven’t yet read David D. Kirkpatrick’s profile of Khairat el-Shater, head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, go read it now here.  And while you’re reading, ask yourself why the West doesn’t think Islam and Democracy can get along.

“Putin’s Third Term to Focus on Physical and Spiritual Development.”

The King’s Way:  Never one to let a good man be misaligned, Terry Mattingly gives us the skinny on a recent Orange County Register report that called out Rick Warren for partnering with mosques to “promote a ‘set of theological principles’ — called the King’s Way — proclaiming that ‘Christians and Muslims worship the same God.'”  Now picture Warren back away from the online brouhaha with his hands in the air saying something like, “Wait, wait, I was just loving them so I could convert them.  I am not a believer in Crislam!”

*Today’s word of the day comes from Cohen’s piece:  hagiarchy, rule by priests