Only 29% of Americans want to attack Syria

According to two public opinion polls, very few Americans support the notion of attacking Syria.  According to a Pew study, only 29% of Americans are in favor of doing so.  And for all the talk of political polarization, there is a bipartisan consensus on this issue, with slightly more Republicans supporting President Obama in this (35%) than Democrats (29%, the same as for the public as a whole). [Read more…]

Military’s qualms about war with Syria

Our military leaders have some major qualms about attacking Syria.  From Ernest Londono, U.S. military officers have deep doubts about impact, wisdom of a U.S. strike on Syria – The Washington Post:

The Obama administration’s plan to launch a military strike against Syria is being received with serious reservations by many in the U.S. military, which is coping with the scars of two lengthy wars and a rapidly contracting budget, according to current and former officers. [Read more…]

IRS recognizes same-sex marriages

When the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, social conservatives consoled themselves by saying that the action did not mandate gay marriage across the board.  That remains a decision for each state.  But it does mean that the Federal Government now recognizes gay marriage.  That was made clear when the IRS and the Treasury Department announced that same-sex marriages, no matter what state they were performed in, will qualify for all marriage deductions and other tax benefits that husbands and wives receive. [Read more…]

A call to legalize sex between teachers and pupils

More taboos keep falling down.  A column in the Washington Post, no less (the leading newspaper of our governing class), argues that we should legalize sex between teachers and underage students. [Read more…]

The Protestant work ethic

Our post in honor of Vocation Day, which used to be called Labor Day. . . .

Max Weber, one of the founders of modern sociology, credited the doctrine of vocation for the rise of  the modern economy in his 1920 book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

Now, there are  problems with Weber’s thesis and his approach, as scholars have been noting.  Theologically, he emphasizes Calvin’s doctrine of vocation, which stresses your job, rather than Luther’s, which includes how you make your living but also covers marriage, parenthood, and citizenship.  Weber also says that success at your work was seen as a way to convince yourself of your election (which I’m not sure Calvinists actually believed), while Luther sees the purpose of all vocations as love and service to one’s neighbor.  Luther sees vocation in light of the Gospel, so that such love is a fruit of faith.  Vocation isn’t about the value of your own works, since God is working through you in your calling.

Anyway, Weber popularized the notion of the “Protestant work ethic.” [Read more…]

Obama will ask Congress before attacking Syria

President Obama has agreed to ask  Congress for authorization before he attacks Syria.  I salute that, since the Constitution requires Congress to approve going to war.  However, I predict that a coalition of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans will vote the proposal down.  What do you think Congress should do?  What do you think Congress will do? [Read more…]