“Voting Republican will not save us now”

Rod Dreher takes a bleak look at the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.  It is now clear, he says, that we really do live in a post-Christian culture.  Now that homosexuality has been given the status of race, the government and the public really are going to go after those who don’t believe that homosexuality is moral.  The institution of marriage as a whole is going to be affected, since, if it can be redefined at will, it will no longer have any boundaries.  So Christians will have to live as exiles in their own country.  Dreher goes on to advocate “the Benedict option.”

What do you think about this?  Is Dreher over-stating the problems?  Are things really going to be that bad? [Read more...]

The Pope goes all in on environmental issues

Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si  (“praise to you,” from the first words of the document), fully embracing the environmentalist cause.  It warns of global warming, says man is responsible, and calls for sweeping changes to save the earth.  It also, as we will blog tomorrow, makes some sweeping theological changes that constitute a major change in Western Christianity.

You can read the entire document in English here.  After the jump is a news account.  Then I want to pose some questions for our discussion. [Read more...]

Russia’s mission to restore traditional values?

Russia reportedly sees its mission as restoring traditional values to the world, over against the “libertine West.”  This is involving a new alliance between Vladimir Putin’s government and the Russian Orthodox Church.  The immediate goal is to spread the ideal of “holy Russia” throughout Eurasia.  So says Forbes contributor Paul Coyer, excerpted after the jump.

I’ve heard some conservatives  praise Putin’s administration for its opposition to gay rights and other socially liberal movements.  Can or should American Christians get behind the Russian effort?  What would be the problems with that?  I’m curious too to hear from American orthodox folks.  I realize that not all Orthodox churches are Russian Orthodox.  But are any of you in that tradition, and, if so, do you go along with “holy Russia”?  Are any of you other Orthodox in favor of what Putin is trying to do? [Read more...]

The financial problems of just living together

There are strong moral reasons why couples shouldn’t just live together without being married.  There are also strong psychological reasons why this is not a good idea.  (See also this.)  The Washington Post‘s financial advice columnist, Michelle Singletary, points out that there are also strong financial reasons not to, that sharing housing expenses, bank accounts, and buying property together can be disastrous if the couple isn’t married. [Read more...]

Biblical heroism

In the course of writing a searching new book entitled The Road to Character, New York Times columnist David Brooks decided that you can’t really think about moral ideas very well without the vocabulary that religions bring, even if you don’t believe them.  So he read all kinds of books, including Christian theology, including the works of St. Augustine.  Brooks is Jewish, but he sounds like he is getting close to Christianity.  Samples from an interview with Brooks after the jump. [Read more...]

Does capitalism undermine traditional values?

The left is always saying that big business really runs this country.  There may be some truth to this claim.  The irony is that big business is supporting the left, at least on social and moral issues.  When corporations from Apple to Walmart turned against Indiana’s religious freedom act to support the gay agenda, notice how Republican politicians fell in line.

Charles Lane says that the Indiana controversy may be the Gettysburg of the Culture Wars, the turning point, after which social conservatives will start retreating until they lose their political clout completely.  He says that modern conservatism has depended on an alliance between pro-business free market advocates and social conservatives.  But this alliance is unstable.  He quotes a scholar who refers to “the cultural contradictions of capitalism,” saying that free market economics ultimately destroys traditional values.

There was arguably a time when capitalism and moral traditionalism went together, when capitalism depended on the values of self-control, restraint, and deferred gratification, as may still apply to small business today.  But today’s consumer capitalism depends on instant gratification, the satisfaction of all desires, and constant change.  Our financial system won’t even pay interest on a savings account, but rather depends on having everything now and going in debt.  This creates a cultural climate, so the argument goes, that will undermine traditional moral values.  But is this correct?  Would any other economic system be any better? [Read more...]


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