About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

Clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gays is jailed

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was found to be in contempt of court and put in jail.

I can see her losing her job if she won’t do what the state requires.  Actually, if she can’t do that job in good conscience, she should resign.  But putting her in jail?  Does this amount to criminalizing her Christian faith, which she says motivates her refusal?

UPDATE:  I see that she is an elected official and can only be removed by impeachment, which the conservative state legislature is considered unlikely to do.

[Read more...]

Why football?

A reporter transplanted from Chicago to work on the Daily Oklahoman who cares nothing for football was given the assignment to find out why Oklahomans care so much about the sport.

This turned into an interesting article, which I excerpt and link to after the jump, whereupon I then raise questions for my fellow football fans. [Read more...]

Support for Rubio surges among evangelical leaders

World Magazine has been surveying the candidate preferences of over 100 evangelical leaders.  As we blogged about a month ago, their pick was Marco Rubio.  Today that support is even greater, with 53% of the churchmen saying he is their #1 or #2 choice.  The support for Jeff Bush, though, has plummeted.

And Donald Trump is at the very bottom of Republican contenders, with only 5% saying he is #1 or #2, and 81% saying they would never vote for him.  That’s rather different from rank-and-file evangelicals, 23% of whom support Trump, though Ben Carson–that other outsider who is also near the top of the polls–has passed him with that demographic at 29%.  Carson, the African-American surgeon who is a devout Christian of the Seventh Day Adventist tradition, must not be forgotten. [Read more...]

One of the heroes on that French train is a Lutheran

You know those three unarmed Americans who took out the armed-to-the-teeth terrorist on that French train?  One of them was a Missouri Synod Lutheran.  What difference does that make?  Not much on one level.

But surely when you heard about this, if you are from the USA, you felt a surge of connectedness that these guys were fellow Americans.  When a fellow Christian does something, the tie is even stronger, because of what the Apostle’s Creed calls “the Communion of the Saints.”  According to 1 Corinthians 12, we are all different organs of the same body, so that what happens to one member happens to all of us.  So, for me, a part of the body that writes and blogs in safety, I rejoiced at the part that had the courage to tackle a terrorist with an AK-47 who was shooting a pistol, saving who knows how many lives.  And that he shares my confession and that we commune with each other makes for a particularly close kind of unity.

So my fellow Lutherans who read this blog, as well as my fellow Christians and my fellow Americans, can all claim a connection to what happened on that train, though the heroism of those young men is all their own.

Details about Army National Guardsman Aleksander Skarlatos of St. Paul Lutheran, Roseburg, Oregon, after the jump. [Read more...]

Government speech, individual speech, & public religion

A came across an unusually lucid discussion of the legal issues that loom behind some of the religion-in-the-public square cases.  As Noah Feldman explains, the courts have made a distinction between individual speech, in which pretty much anything goes, and government speech.  The government also can say pretty much what it wants to, which explains why it can choose to forbid confederate flags on license plates, or to permit pro-life slogans on license plates while forbidding pro-abortion slogans.

The main restriction on what a government can say is anything that could be construed as establishing a religion.  A government can choose to accept a Ten Commandments monument on public property.  But if it does, it has to accept similar monuments from other religions, so as to prove it is showing no favoritism.  This is why atheist and secularist groups are no longer trying so much to get religious symbols removed.  Rather, they are trying to get other monuments–Satanic, atheist, pagan–added so as to stand side-by-side with the Christian symbols.  That could work for a polytheistic society, as in St. Paul’s Athens or the Pantheon in Rome, but Christians specifically reject that, as in the “no other gods before me” part of the Ten Commandments on those monuments.

Feldman concludes that the choice must be either displays of religious diversity or no religious symbols at all on the part of the government.   Isn’t the latter alternative more faithful to the first table of the Ten Commandments?  Wouldn’t the religious diversity displays promote a syncretism that flies in the face of Christianity?  Do you see any weaknesses in Feldman’s argument, excerpted after the jump?  [Read more...]

World War II ended 70 years ago yesterday

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.  Not many of those who fought in that bloody epic conflict are still around.  We should salute those who are.

Do you think a world war on that scale could happen again?  Would we be capable of the same sacrifices, both on the battlefields and on the homefront?

A tribute to the anniversary after the jump. [Read more...]