Ben Carson is running for president

Ben Carson will announce today that he is running for president.  One of the country’s leading neurosurgeons, Dr. Carson is an African-American conservative known for his fiery rhetoric and his Christian faith.

I actually met him.  He is impressive in many ways and has a compelling personal story.  Do you think he has a chance?  What impact might he have on the Republican party? [Read more…]

Socialist Bernie Sanders is running for President

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent who identifies himself as a Socialist, is running for president on the Democratic ticket.  You may think, another socialist?  But Sen. Sanders is at least open about his radicalism, and he has a constituency in the Democratic party.

Charles Lane discusses how the Democratic party has veered sharply to the left since Bill Clinton ostensibly brought the party to the center.  Now Hillary Clinton is having to present herself as “progressive,” despite her corporate ties and her record.  So now she is running against many of her husband’s policies. [Read more…]

School testing as a civil right

Teachers, who have big clout in the Democratic Party, don’t like standardized testing, a major reason being that it often provides evidence of their ineffectiveness.  So Democrats generally support gutting No Child Left Behind, George W. Bush’s education law designed to make sure that children who perform poorly get the help they need.  Republicans, who are usually against a federal role in education, are mostly OK with scrapping the law.

But now civil rights groups are arguing that mandatory testing is a matter of civil rights.   Poor and minority students have a right to an education, they argue, and mandatory testing identifies the students who need extra help and makes sure school systems don’t ignore them. [Read more…]

Hillary says “religious beliefs. . .have to be changed”

Hillary Clinton says that “religious beliefs. . .have to be changed” when they interfere with “reproductive health care” (that is, abortion).  And pro-abortion laws “have to be backed up with resources and political will.”

Notice that she doesn’t say “religious beliefs have to change.”  That would arguably be bad enough, but it allows for religions to change themselves, from within, perhaps over time.  Instead, she said religious beliefs have to “be changed.”  The passive construction here means  that religious beliefs have to be acted upon from the outside.  Nor did she say, “religious beliefs should change,” expressing a moral opinion. No, they “have to” be changed, an imperative, as in giving an order.  Then when she throws in that line about “political will,” the language is clearly that of government suppression.

[Read more…]

Authoritarian envy?

The dictator of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, died recently, to nearly universal praise in the West for the way he built his country into an economic powerhouse.  Columnist Richard Cohen thinks that we have “authoritarian envy” because “too much democracy” keeps government from being able to do what it needs to do.

Mr. Cohen, a liberal, decries Lee’s harsh rule and his running roughshod over any kind of human rights, but he seems to share that envy, expressing frustration over our government’s inability to get things done, due to all of these political conflicts and checks and balances.

Conservatives, I would think, would be glad of the limits on government and would especially dislike an authoritarian like Lee, even though he did promote free markets and economic growth.  But as the presidential election season gets under way, I worry that all sides may be investing too much hope that what we need is a powerful leader and are expressing frustration with our constitutional system that, by design, checks and balances an activist government.  Might America be getting more and more open to authoritarianism?  [Read more…]

Why Marco Rubio goes to two churches

A piece on the religious beliefs of presidential candidate Marco Rubio says that he attends both a Baptist church with his family and also attends mass at the  Roman Catholic church of his childhood.  This is because he appreciates gospel preaching and also “craves” Holy Communion.  He says, “I wondered why there couldn’t be a church that offered both a powerful, contemporary gospel message and the actual body and blood of Jesus.”

There is such a thing, Marco Rubio!  It’s called the Lutheran church!  You don’t have to go to two different churches to get both the Gospel and the true Body and Blood of Christ.  Those go together, which is the whole point of Lutheranism.  Why don’t people know this?  [Read more…]