Links: Conservatives' fight with Disney; the problem with book bans; a Mormon open house

: A person outside Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, wears a mouse costume and takes selfies with supporters of Florida's Parental Rights in Education law April 16. (CNS/Reuters/Octavio Jones)

A person outside Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, wears a mouse costume and takes selfies with supporters of Florida's Parental Rights in Education law April 16. The law prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade. The Disney Corporation, which opposes the law, and other critics have dubbed it the "Don't Say Gay" law. (CNS/Reuters/Octavio Jones)

by Michael Sean Winters

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In The Washington Post, Russian civil rights activist Vladimir Kara-Murza writes that he is certain Russia will yet be free. He bases this claim on his interaction with fellow prisoners after he was arrested for political reasons, namely, giving an interview to CNN in which he was sharply critical of the war in Ukraine. Other anti-war protesters were in the jail and Kara-Murza reports the non-political inmates and the prison staff were kind to him and the other anti-war protesters. Let's hope and pray that more and more Russians find the courage to protest this war and work for a change of regime, not in Kyiv but in Moscow.

At Politico, Derek Robertson looks at the difficult-to-fathom decision by some very conservative Republicans to pick a fight with Disney. It used to be liberals who criticized the company's moral posture, but now, as times have changed and Disney has changed with them, the company is the object of wrath from conservatives, and not just wrath but despicable distortion: Conservatives use the very distorting and repulsive word "grooming" to describe Disney. Robertson wonders why conservatives think such attacks will be politically helpful given that mainstream Americans have become increasingly tolerant of gay rights. But most congressional districts are gerrymandered, so the only threat is from the extreme right in a primary. You can't gerrymander a state election, but Gov. Ron DeSantis is rightly betting Florida has shifted in a decidedly more conservative direction in recent years and that he will not pay a political price from moderates, who are fewer and fewer.

Also at Politico, Elena Schneider reports on what may be the most consequential effort to save small-d democracy by upper-case Democrats this year: an effort to elect Democrats to positions charged with election oversight. The group "Run for Something" has raised only $6 million of its $80 million goal, but I hope some big donors will rally to the effort.

Meanwhile, in The New York Times, Sungjoo Yoon, a junior at Burbank High School in California, explains why he opposed removing certain books from the curriculum at the school and describes a school board meeting where his young voice of sanity was drowned out by the polarized adults. The essay is a study in true liberal values.

In Deseret News, a story about how the Mormon community in Washington, D.C., planned an "open house" at its magnificent temple alongside the D.C. Beltway but also took groups of its members to visit other churches throughout the area. This kind of interreligious experience is so badly needed in our society and it shows the ways in which the Mormon faith is developing its own relationship with modernity in interesting and humane ways.

In the Times of Israel, a look at Operation Mincemeat, about which a movie is now being made, during World War II. The brainchild of a British intelligence officer who was Jewish, the operation successfully deceived the Nazis into thinking the Allies were going to invade Sardinia and Greece, not Sicily, which is where the actual invasion took place.

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