An article at Aleteia entitled This is How Christians Lived in the 2nd Century by Philip Kosloski put me on to a remarkable document that attempts to explain Christians to citizens of the Roman empire–those strange people who don’t expose their infants but let all of their babies live; who reject sex outside of marriage; who endure cruel persecution cheerfully; who do good even to those who hate them. The text is a part of the Epistle to Diognetus  written,… Read more

In 1961, the Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was put on trial for his role in orchestrating the mass extermination of Europe’s Jews.  Television, such as it was then, covered the trial closely, and accompanied it with some moving documentaries on what happened in concentration camps such as Auschwitz.  My parents let me watch them.  I was ten years old. Watching the grainy footage on our black-and-white TV of bodies heaped up in mountainous piles, flies buzzing on the emaciated corpses of… Read more

A Mennonite pastor has just been released after spending two years in prison–the full term of his sentence–for what the prosecutor scornfully called “acting on his religion.” What was his heinous crime?  He helped one of his parishioners, a convert to Christianity who left her lesbian lifestyle, flee the country after a court threatened to give custody of her daughter to her former partner. From Heather Clark, Mennonite Minister Imprisoned for Two Years for Helping Mother Avoid Placing Daughter With Lesbian… Read more

You no doubt heard about the nation-wide school walkouts on March 14 and April 20 to protest gun violence and to demand gun control.  Those got lots of press and had the co-operation of school faculties and administrators, who let out classes and encouraged students to support the cause.  There was another school walkout on April 11 , which also protested violence against children on an even larger scale, but the major media ignored that one and the schools did not make… Read more

Thirty-seven years ago, I stumbled upon an article by Peter Berger, “The Class Struggle in American Religion,” that gave me a new paradigm for understanding my times and that equipped me to resist some of the pressures I was feeling as a newly-minted English professor.  In researching yesterday’s post, Status and Belief, on the “New Class,” I found Berger’s article on-line, so I wanted to draw your attention to it. At the time, I recognized the author’s name because of… Read more

John Daniel Davidson makes a useful distinction between “being moral” and “moralizing.” From his article in The Federalist,  Blame the Left for the Rise of Moralizing in America: Dean Acheson, who orchestrated the Marshall Plan and helped create the North Atlantic Treaty Organizaation, had no use for moralizing in foreign policy. He once said that listening to pious Canadians discuss foreign affairs was like listening to the “stern daughter of the voice of God.” His point was that there’s a big… Read more

Christians talk a great deal about reaching the culture and influencing the culture.  But Christians often take a simplistic view of culture, neglecting the social dynamics of how culture works.  So I appreciate my fellow Patheos blogger Dean Abbott, at The Road Home for bringing up the role of social class and social status.  I want to say a little bit more about the topic. Mr. Abbot has written a provocative post entitled “Engaging the Culture Doesn’t Work Because Christian… Read more

The Republican agenda has long been shaped by its nostalgia for Ronald Reagan.  The Democratic agenda has long been shaped by its nostalgia for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal.  Donald Trump has shaken up the Republicans with some new approaches.  But the Democrats are still championing 1940s-style big government programs. So says Jonah Goldberg, an anti-Trump conservative, who nevertheless gives the president credit for bring a “desperately needed new rhetoric and a new approach” to the Republican party…. Read more

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, which passed with an overwhelming bi-partisan majority, was signed into law by President Trump and holds websites liable if they are used for sex trafficking.  How did it get through, despite Silicon Valley’s strenuous lobbying effort against it?  Because two authors of the bill, Senators Rob Portman (R- OH ) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO ) found evidence that one of the biggest sex-for-hire advertisers, classified ads site Backpage.com, knew it was trafficking children and even… Read more

U.S. forces fired over 100 cruise missiles at Syria in retaliation against President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against rebels to his regime.  The chemical attack killed some 40 people in the city of Douma, including a number of children.  President Trump had threatened to punish “Animal Assad” and ordered the missile strikes with the support of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and other allies. From NBC News: President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the United States military —… Read more

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