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Ben Daniel
Ben Daniel is a Presbyterian minister in Oakland, California. His writing has been translated into four languages and has been published by a variety of local, regional, national, and international broadcast and print media. His work has been published widely online. His opinions have appeared on The Huffington Post since 2010. He is a graduate of Westmont College and of Princeton Theological Seminary.

Ben Daniel is the author of Neighbor: Christian Encounters with “Illegal” Immigration (Westminster John Knox Press, August, 2010), winner of ForeWord Review's 2011 religion book of the year award. In 2013 his second book, The Search for Truth About Islam (Westminster John Knox, 2013) explores misconceptions of Islam. His latest book Thoughtful Christianity came out in the Fall of 2015.

Entries by Ben Daniel

A Pastor's Plea: Don't Freak Out Over Potties

(1) Comments | Posted May 13, 2016 | 12:23 PM

Just this morning two of my Facebook friends put up posts suggesting the world is going to end because President Obama has directed public schools to allow trans kids to use the potty of their choice.

Now, I know other people have said what I'm about to say, so...

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Scottish Independence: The Spiritual Implications

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 5:37 PM

When I was a teenager several members of my church got excited about the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. This was a time when many politically progressive Christians hoped the rebels who overthrew the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza might have the opportunity to establish a government in Central America that...

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Rain Dance

(1) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 12:31 PM

You may have heard that California is experiencing a devastating drought. Sure, we're using social media to share photos of ourselves cavorting on the beach in Santa Cruz, wearing swimsuits on Martin Luther King Jr''s birthday so that loved ones in, say Ohio, will hate us, but things are getting...

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Miranda's Rights for the Pastor's Wife?

(18) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 11:43 AM

As a preacher and as a writer, I make a living conveying ideas. Most of my work is safe, but because I am a progressive pastor and a writer of left-leaning social and political commentary, some of the ideas I communicate (in my writing more than in my preaching) are...

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An Open Letter to My Fellow Pastors on the Anniversary of the War in Iraq

(24) Comments | Posted March 19, 2013 | 2:45 PM

Dear Colleague,

In the spirit of Howard Fineman's excellent piece that appeared recently on The Huffington Post, let me ask you a question: Where were you 10 years ago, when the United States invaded Iraq? I'm asking because the 10th anniversary of the war in Iraq is today,...

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On Building Mosques and Worshiping in Caves

(5) Comments | Posted March 7, 2013 | 2:51 PM

This blogspot is about the ways Christians try to prevent Muslims from building mosques, and I'll get to that, but first, I want to tell you about a recent trip to Switzerland.

If I had to guess, I'd say my knowledge of German is slightly worse than is my sense...

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Scottish Independence and Progressive Christianity: A Perfect Fit

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2013 | 11:32 AM

During the three decades I've known about Progressive Mainline Protestantism -- the religious tribe to which I now belong -- the radical left coast of America's spiritual landscape has been populated largely by people interested in working for change in far-off places, in nations whose native populations suffer various types...

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Who Will Define Islam?

(16) Comments | Posted September 13, 2012 | 1:59 AM

In Libya, a Muslim mob has killed the U.S. ambassador and three other American diplomats in Benghazi. In Cairo, a horde of Islamic extremists breached the walls of the American embassy compound, where they tore down the American flag, replacing it with an Islamic one. The attacks came in response...

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Review of 'The Right to Love: An American Family'

(193) Comments | Posted February 3, 2012 | 11:05 AM

Author's note: I've decided to write my review of the film, 'The Right to Love: An American Family,' in the form of a letter to a friend who, because of his religious convictions, does not support marriage equality. The letter is written not to any particular friend, but...

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The Great Socialist Deception

(20) Comments | Posted January 18, 2012 | 9:40 AM

My children are victims of a socialist plot. So are yours, and so, probably, were you if you grew up in the United States after World War II.

Each morning, with their hands piously placed over their innocent hearts, my children are more or less forced to recite a...

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Frank Schaeffer's Sex, Mom, and God

(10) Comments | Posted June 13, 2011 | 3:30 PM

I first heard about Frank Schaeffer's newest book, Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics -- and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway (Da Capo Press, May 2011) a year ago when my wife, Anne,...

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May 21 Judgement Day: It's Not the End of the World, and I Feel Fine

(50) Comments | Posted May 12, 2011 | 10:11 PM

I don't know what its like where you live, but in my neck of the woods -- the San Francisco Bay Area -- we've witnessed a proliferation of billboards announcing: "Cry Mightily Unto God! Judgment Day is Coming on May 21! The Bible Guarantees It!" Apparently someone read...

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Ron Schiller, Truth-Telling and the Problem of Fear

(22) Comments | Posted March 17, 2011 | 10:59 AM

This piece first appeared on the Thoughtful Christian's Gathering Voices blog.

By now you may know that Ron Schiller, a fundraising executive for National Public Radio, said a few things that got him into trouble. He suggested that the right flank of the Republican party, particularly that which...

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Science, the Bible, and the Vote to Ordain Gays

(94) Comments | Posted January 27, 2011 | 1:06 PM

My denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA) currently is engaged in a church-wide discussion about whether or not we will allow local congregations and regional governing bodies -- called presbyteries -- the freedom to ordain gay men and lesbians as lay leaders and as ministers. Our highest governing body,...

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Jared Loughner and the Incarnation of Violent Rhetoric

(32) Comments | Posted January 18, 2011 | 7:17 AM

In the days since Jared Loughner carried a concealed Glock into a crowded Tucson parking lot and unloaded an oversized clip of bullets into the crowd, killing six -- including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge -- and wounding 14, including a congresswoman who, apparently, was the deranged young...

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Tamales and Roses: Guadalupe as an American Holiday Icon

(15) Comments | Posted December 17, 2010 | 9:25 AM

In my family we have a new holiday tradition. On the evening of Dec. 11 we go across the street to the neighborhood Catholic church -- called "Our Lady of Guadalupe" -- to celebrate the feast of the patron saint of Mexico, the same Lady of Guadalupe for whom the...

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A Time To Speak Out Against Racism

(37) Comments | Posted November 30, 2010 | 11:41 PM

Like a lot of folks around the world, as Jon Stewart announced his "Rally to Restore Sanity" I let out a hearty and appreciative laugh when the comedian/commentator introduced the sort of signs he expected his followers to bring to the Rally. The funniest -- and most famous...

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Why Do We Ignore the Plight of the Roma in Europe?

(32) Comments | Posted October 27, 2010 | 2:03 PM

Last July I was in Córdoba, Spain doing research for a book I am writing about the relationship between Islam and Christianity. It was hot. The thermometer on a bank said 42 degrees Celsius, and I'm not sure how hot that is in Fahrenheit, but let's just call it "Africa...

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A Christian Reframing of Meg Whitman's Immigration Hypocrisy

(31) Comments | Posted October 5, 2010 | 1:19 PM

Perhaps you've heard by now: the Republican candidate who hopes to be the next governor of California (my fair state) employed an undocumented housekeeper for nine years. This is the same candidate, Meg Whitman, whose official campaign website contains the following policy statement about employers who hire undocumented...

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Immigration and Mexico: A Time to Tell the Truth

(81) Comments | Posted September 13, 2010 | 5:25 AM

On a beautiful morning last week after the kids went off to school, I sat out on my back patio with my coffee and half of a mysterious melon that my wife picked up at the farmer's market. On the outside it looked like a cantaloupe, but inside it was...

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