Are freedom and democracy obsolete?

The Prime Minister of Hungary has said what many people around the world have been thinking:  That freedom and democracy are obsolete.  With today’s complex economic and social problems, the democratic process is always checking and balancing itself, making it just too slow and polarizing, as evidenced by the political paralysis in the United States.  The most successful models that nations should be emulating, he says, are the authoritarian systems of Russia, China, Turkey, and Singapore. [Read more...]

“Greater love hath no man than this. . . .”

Another example of sacrificing yourself for your neighbor:

When Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Harris and Petty Officer 1st Class James Reyher descended to the murky depths of a pond at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., last year, virtually everything went wrong. Their equipment didn’t work right, the communication with sailors on the surface wasn’t clear, and debris trapped Reyher some 150 feet underwater in scuba gear.

But there’s more to the story. According to a report in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper on Sunday, Harris, 23, had the option to cut the line connecting him to Reyher underwater and survive. He refused to do it, though, doing everything in his power to free Reyher, 28, until both men died on Feb. 26, 2013. [Read more...]

Our muted response to ISIS

If you are worried that the U.S. is reigniting the war in Iraq, don’t be.  Despite the atrocities being committed by ISIS/The Islamic State, our airstrikes are designed simply to protect Americans in threatened cities and to protect those Yazidis besieged on that mountain (that siege is reportedly over, as the Yazidis have now escaped).  But, according to two Washington Post analysts, there is no effort to stop ISIS as such or to win back the large amount of territory they have taken over. [Read more...]

Church vs. “spiritual-but-not-religous”

Jeff Hual brings back from a few years ago a piece by Lillian Daniel, in which she expresses her utter boredom with people who claim to be “spiritual but not religious.”  She begins by recalling conversations with people on an airplane who go on and on about finding God on the beach and in sunsets rather than in church. . . . [Read more...]

Lyle Lovett’s favorite place

The Texas Monthly ran a feature entitled “13 Famous Texans’ Favorite Places.”  When it was Lyle Lovett’s turn, he said that his favorite place was St. Paul Lutheran Church in Serbin, Texas. [Read more...]

Robin Williams’ suicide

Robin Williams was beloved, wealthy, and acclaimed, always laughing and making others laugh.  And yet he took his own life.   I don’t mean to moralize or philosophize over such a sad ending with reflections about what we think to be important might not be important at all, but suicides raise the big questions about life.  The figure in art and literature of the crying clown is especially poignant. [Read more...]


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