Mitt Romney won’t run

Though some polls showed that he would be a front-runner and though he has been acting and talking like a candidate, Mitt Romney said that he won’t be running for president in 2016.  Who else should make the same decision? [Read more...]

Luther, Madison, and the Two Kingdoms

Rev. Matthew Harrison, the president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, discusses a letter President James Madison sent to a Lutheran pastor in 1821 upon reading one of his sermons:

It is a pleasing and persuasive example of pious zeal, united with pure benevolence and of a cordial attachment to a particular creed, untinctured with sectarian illiberality. It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.

 President Harrison then goes on to give a very clear and perceptive explanation of the Doctrine of the  Two Kingdoms, which Madison was picking up on, which gives an alternative both to the view that the church should try to rule the world and the view that Christians should withdraw from that world. [Read more...]

The new culture war?

The liberal Catholic columnist E. J. Dionne says that the old culture wars are fading, but that a new culture war is taking shape.  The new one has to do with battles over immigration and poverty.  Complicating those controversies, he says, is that the Roman Catholic church of Pope Francis takes “liberal” positions on immigration and poverty, while still taking “conservative” positions on the old culture war issues of abortion and sex. [Read more...]

Our dynastic politics

Under monarchies, the throne is kept in the family, with subsidiary power passed on through powerful aristocratic families.  Under our democratic republic, a good many of our presidential contenders so far are the scions of political families:  Clinton, Bush, Romney, Paul.

Columnist Dana Milbank has some interesting things to say about this phenomenon. [Read more...]

Tonight’s State of the Union address

Tonight, President Obama will give the annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress beginning at 9:00 p.m. EST.  The previews suggest that the president will put forward a number of liberal fantasies–raise taxes, offer free community college–that have absolutely no chance of passing in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate.

But let’s see what he has to say.  Feel free to live-blog the speech here by commenting on it as it unfolds. [Read more...]

Confusing LBJ with Robert Kennedy

We’ve blogged about how the movie Selma villainizes Lyndon Johnson, even though he was the president who pushed through the Civil Rights laws that Martin Luther King was marching for.  The movie shows LBJ ordering the FBI to spy on Dr. King to collect dirt on him.  But, as (liberal) columnist Richard Cohen points out, it was Attorney General Robert Kennedy who gave that order during his brother’s administration! [Read more...]


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