Leading Democrats in the Senate have introduced a bill that would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), so that it could not be used to protect Christians who refuse to approve of gay marriage and other LGBT causes. The RFRA was passed in 1993 as a bipartisan measure with overwhelming support, introduced by liberal Democrats Chuck Shumer and Ted Kennedy, and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.  The act mandated that “Government shall not substantially burden a… Read more

President Trump is bringing back a Reagan-era rule that would prevent federal “family planning” money from going to organizations that provide for or recommend abortion.  This will hurt Planned Parenthood, but it stops far short of defunding the abortion franchise completely. The federal government has long had a program called Title X, which provides for free birth control medication and devices for low-income women.  Funded to the tune of $260 million, Title X goes to a wide range of health… Read more

I quite randomly stumbled upon this quotation from Lutheran theologian Hermann Sasse*, the anti-Nazi activist who settled in Australia.  Paul McCain nailed it to the door at First Things eight years ago. Nota bene:  By “evangelical,” Sasse is using the European terminology for what we would call Lutheran.  See the explanation at this post. From Hermann Sasse, Here We Stand, pp. 110-111: “Lutheran theology differs from Reformed theology in that it lays great emphasis on the fact that the evangelical church… Read more

We had yet another high school shooting, with 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis in Santa Fe, Texas, prowling the hallways shooting 23 teachers and classmates, killing 10 and wounding 13.  Most discussions about this and all of the similar cases are focusing on the “how”; that is, the availability of guns, so that even children and adolescents are getting them.  That’s a legitimate question, though it leads us away from the specific problem of adolescent violence to broader legal and constitutional controversies.  I’d… Read more

Yesterday was another major holy-day:  Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ and ten days after His ascension, at which time the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church. There are many misconceptions about this particular person in the Holy Trinity.  The Holy Spirit is not just a force or power, not just the aspect of God who dwells within, not just a subjective phenomenon.  Here is what the Nicene Creed says about Him: And I believe in… Read more

In a review of Jonah Goldberg’s The Suicide of the West in The Federalist, John Daniel Davidson quotes from C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man.  Lewis is showing the similarity between magic and technology, and, in doing so, brings up two different assumptions about how we should relate to the world. From C. S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man via John Daniel Davidson,  The West Isn’t Committing Suicide, It’s Dying Of Natural Causes: “For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been… Read more

In our recent post, The Vocation of a Spy, we discussed whether espionage is a legitimate vocation from God, and, if it is, does the vocation authorize the morally problematic activities that a spy must engage in–deception, lying, tempting others to betray their country, etc. Sometimes, in recent history, this would include the “enhanced interrogation” of suspects, such as the waterboarding overseen by CIA director nominee Gina Haspel (just confirmed, by the way).  Or assassinations, as practiced by Mossad, the… Read more

According to a new study, the number of white evangelicals is dropping precipitously, to the point that there are now more Americans who profess “no religion” (21%) than there are who claim to be “evangelicals” (13%). So finds the study sponsored by ABC News and the Washington Post.  Between 2003 and 2017, the percentage of evangelicals in the U.S. dropped from 21% to 13%.  While the percentage of “Nones” rose from 12% to 21%. Is this accurate?  The definitive study of American… Read more

In the jungles of Brazil, some tribes kill children who are disabled, who were born to single mothers, and who are twins.  The Brazilian legislature is considering a bill outlawing these practices.  But anthropologists and other postmodernists are opposing the bill on the grounds that child-killing is part of these tribes’ culture. So reports the new Patheos blogger John Ehrett, who explores the conflict between human rights, as liberal democracies have understood them, and the new ideology of cultural relativism. … Read more

Tom Wolfe, 88, has died. The pioneer of “New Journalism,” which uses fictional techniques–an interior point of view, dialogue, thoughts, action, description, and a creative style–to write non-fiction, Wolfe later turned to fiction.  At a time when most novelists were writing interior narratives of consciousness, Wolfe made the case for big, sweeping novels about the outside social world, in the vein of Dickens.  Wolfe’s novels were, in effect, portraits of whole cities:  New York, Atlanta, Miami. Wolfe got his start chronicling… Read more

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