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Richard Rodriguez On Modern Spiritual Identity

Mexican-American essayist and big thinker Richard Rodriguez joins us on identity, immigration and the human spirit.

Immigration reform protesters gather outside the fence for the lighting of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, an 88-foot Engelmann spruce, from the Colville National Forest, in northeast Washington State, during an event on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. (AP)

Immigration reform protesters gather outside the fence for the lighting of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, an 88-foot Engelmann spruce, from the Colville National Forest, in northeast Washington State, during an event on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. (AP)

Richard Rodriguez has become a rare sort.  In the age of rampant blogs and social media, everybody has a voice.  But few are singular.  Rodriguez is singular.  The rare mind and eye that sees and communicates on its own deeply humane terms.  He’s gay, he’s Catholic, he’s Hispanic, he’s a serious man.  And he is wide open to the world, all of it.  Thinking deeply about faith, people, place.  Deserts and visions.  Men and women and their roles.  Women especially, and their challenge to patriarchy.  He’s been called the most empathetic essayist in America.  This hour On Point:  reading Richard Rodriguez.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Richard Rodriguez, essayist, journalist and author of “Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography.” Also author of “Brown: The Last Discovery of America,” “Days of Obligation: An Argument With My Mexican Father” and “Hunger Of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez.”

Rudy Lopez, community activist and senior organizer with F.I.R.M., the Fair Immigration Reform Movement.

From Tom’s Reading List

PBS: Writer Richard Rodriguez introduces readers to ‘seasons of belief and doubt’ — “My religious tradition has always accepted doubt as part of the procedure of believing in God. And I think that becomes a kind of a protection against extremism. But religion is under assault right now from various places. There’s something called a new atheism in the air that is coming into the country. And it has a dogmatism to it that doesn’t quite understand that religion itself has within it disbelief, that there isn’t a religious life of, what shall I say, seasons of belief and doubt.”

New America Media: When Love Prevails – Latino Families at the Center of Immigrant and LGBT Rights — “The political act of coming out has also propelled support for comprehensive immigration reform. Dreamers and other immigrants have inspired a movement by coming out as undocumented. Their courage has inspired others to fight deportations of family, friends, and entire communities.”

Boston Globe: ‘Darling’ by Richard Rodriguez — “Despite its opening epiphany, this is not a political work — Rodriguez proposes no solutions (though he takes stern swipes at atheism, including that of fellow public intellectuals like the late Christopher Hitchens). Rather, he offers an efflorescence of subtle questions that may be more useful than the blunt ones that dominate today’s media and public conversation.”

Read An Excerpt From “Darling” By Richard Rodriguez

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