A Constitutional convention?

Conservative pundit Mark Levin has written a book entitled  The Liberty Amendments (which debuted at #1 on Amazon) which calls for a Constitutional convention to propose amendments that would rein in the power of the federal government.  (Under Article V of the Constitution,  2/3 of the states could call such a convention.  That would mean 34.  It would take 3/4 of the states to ratify any amendments that were proposed.)

The idea is picking up supporters from Rush Limbaugh to Senator Tom Coburn, from Tea Party activists to Conservative think tankers.  And efforts are being organized to sell the notion to state legislators.

After the jump:  A list of Levin’s proposed amendments, an excerpt from a review discussing them, and thoughts from me.

What do you think of this idea?  Would it work?  Should it?  Could it get the support of enough states?  What do you think of the individual amendments he is proposing? [Read more…]

From Moral Majority to Prophetic Minority

Russell Moore–identified as one of those mythical “Lutheran Baptists“–is the new spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention on social issues. He is taking a different approach from the conventional political activist on the “Christian right.”  He says that Christians have lost the so-called “culture wars” and that the loss of Christian cultural dominance may actually be good for the church.  He says that Christians need to stop thinking of themselves as “the moral majority.”  Instead, they have to see themselves as the “prophetic minority.”

After the jump, excerpts from a Wall Street Journal piece on Dr. Moore by the outstanding Christian writer Naomi Schaefer Riley, who interviewed him for her story. [Read more…]

Social mobility requires social capital

You know the American Dream, that in this country if people work hard and grab their opportunities they can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and find material success?  Or, put another way, that America is a land of social mobility, where poor people can newly-landed immigrants with a just dollar in their pockets can rise to the highest levels of wealth and status?

Well, America has been doing worse than other countries when it comes to social mobility.  What happened?  Among other reasons, according to columnist Fareed Zakaria, is our loss of “social capital.”  That is, the breakdown of American families. [Read more…]

De Toqueville on Christianity in America

Democracy in America, written by the French aristocrat Alexis de Toqueville in 1835, is full of stunningly perceptive and prescient insights into American culture, many of which are valid today nearly three hundred years later.  Paula Bolyard discusses what he says about Christianity in the Republic, suggesting that his description of the church as profoundly influential, while distinctly separate from politics, is a good model for today.  You should read her essay, but I’ll just post her quotations from De Toqueville. [Read more…]

America’s problems with vacations

Robert J. Samuelson says that Americans have a hard time with the concept of a vacation:

In the global rivalry of economic models and lifestyles, the United States ranks dead last among advanced countries in one category: vacations.

It’s not that millions of Americans don’t annually flock to beaches, climb mountains, invade national parks or just hang around the house. We do. But we seem to have a harder time than other peoples in distancing ourselves from work. The office (also, the store, factory or warehouse) is routinely an uninvited guest on our holidays. [Read more…]

The end of American Protestantism?

Theologian Stanley Hauerwas has written a devastating critique of America and American Protestantism that, agree with it or not, is worth thinking about.  He argues that American Protestantism, which has been so influential in American culture, is fading away because of its cultural conformity.  (He includes a great line from Bonhoeffer, that America has a Protestantism without the Reformation.)  You should read the whole thing, but I’ll post an excerpt that deals with what he says is the American conception of freedom and its connection to divorce and abortion. [Read more…]