Texas governor Rick Perry has announced that he running for president.  As the longest-serving governor of a big state, Perry comes with lots of executive experience, with a strong  record of economic growth and job creation.  He is an open evangelical Christian, going so far as to lead the prayer and preach from the Bible at a recent religious rally.  The Tea Party likes him, as do business interests and the Republican establishment. Is he someone you could support?  (I’d… Read more

It has long been said that the level of a person’s religious commitment goes down proportionately to how much education that person has received.  But now it turns out that church attendance and Bible reading actually increases with education.  And so does theological liberalism: People tend to become less religious as they become more educated, right? Not necessarily, according to a new study. After analyzing data from a large national survey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Philip Schwadel found that people… Read more

Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall, which divided the city–and by extension Germany and Europe itself–between Communism and freedom.  You have simply got to read this account by the Lutheran journalist Uwe Siemon-Netto, who not only saw the wall built and torn down, but was himself with his family personally caught up in the division between East and West.  Most notable in his account is the role Christianity and specifically Lutheranism played in the… Read more

Congressional leaders have appointed the “Super Committee” tasked by the debt reduction deal to recommend spending cuts and bring the federal budget under control.  There have been other such committees, of course, whose recommendations have been ignored, but this one has some clout:  Its recommendations will be voted on with an up or down vote–rather than death by a thousand amendments–and if they get voted down, automatic cuts click in. What do you know of these folks?  Do you think… Read more

The young rioters in England wear hoods and masks to hide their identities.  British authorities trying to tamp things down are pondering allowing police to require people to show their faces. Anonymity is indeed tied to bad behavior.   Shame is one of those first-use of the law phenomena that helps keep our sinful natures from breaking out.  But when no one knows who we are, our inhibitions are released.  We certainly see this in the internet, when people in blog… Read more

Bob Duggan on a Rembrandt exhibit in Philadelphia that I’d really like to see, having always been astounded and edified by the artist’s portrayals of Jesus: For millennia now, believers and nonbelievers have wondered what Jesus may have looked like and grasped at any and all evidence in their search. In the exhibition Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through October 11th, a turning point in that search created by the artistic innovations… Read more

Rioters as young as nine are looting shops and burning buildings in cities across Great Britain.  Pundits, of course, are trying to answer the question, “Why?”  The left is predictably blaming social conditions–government cutbacks in particular–and the right is predictably putting responsibility on the individual “hooligans.” I haven’t seen any interviews of the actual perpetrators (fill me in if you have), but I suspect there is not all that much “rage”–pictures I’ve seen are of the young folks laughing as… Read more

It looks like the unions lost and Republicans won in Wisconsin, as recall elections sparked by Gov. Scott Walker’s stand against collective bargaining for state employee unions retained the GOP majority in the state legislature: Republicans held onto control of the Wisconsin Senate on Tuesday, beating back four Democratic challengers in a recall election despite an intense political backlash against GOP support for Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to curb public employees’ union rights. Fueled by millions of dollars from national… Read more

One of the things that has struck me, as we cruise by in luxury, is just hard life is out here for the people who live in the small towns and remote areas of Alaska.  Skagway is mainly a cruise ship town in the summer, with an influx of businesses that descend on the place for a few months to sell jewelry and cheap souvenirs to us tourists, but some 800 people live there year-round.  Our tour guide was telling… Read more

As the stock market dives 634 more points over the United States government getting downgraded by Standard & Poors, President Obama is looking more vulnerable than ever.  Even some of his African American supporters—who are suffering most from unemployment—are getting disillusioned with him.  In addition to our economic woes are our foreign policy failures, including setbacks in the continuing wars in Afghanistan and Libya.  People are speaking of Barackalypse or Obamageddon. I thought he was a shoo-in for re-election, but… Read more

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