C. Everett Koop, the Surgeon General under President Reagan, has died at age 96. The mainstream obituaries are hailing his work to battle smoking and the AIDS epidemic. But he was also a devout Christian and a crusader against abortion. Koop collaborated with Francis Schaeffer on the book and video series Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, a work that helped mobilize Christians for the pro-life cause. [Read more…]
Not too long ago, both liberals and conservatives were oriented to some kind of common social good. Liberals pushed for what they considered to be “social justice.” Conservatives emphasized patriotism and worked for cultural stability. Today, both sides frame their arguments in terms of personal liberty and individual rights (gay rights, abortion rights, reproductive freedom, etc., vs. parental rights, religious liberty, gun rights, free markets, etc.).
Is that an advance? Perhaps it is. But did you notice that when we recently discussed Iceland’s attempt to battle pornography, hardly any of us–social conservatives mostly, me included–were able to come up with any way to oppose it legally. Even as we were decrying pornography and admitting how socially harmful it is, we could only conceive of the issue in terms of first amendment rights. On another blog that discussed Iceland’s policies, someone defended pornography on the grounds that we must not interfere with free market economics, that the demand must call forth a supply.
Then I was part of a discussion of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s graduation address at Harvard University in 1978. In that talk, the exiled Russian author who spent nearly a decade in the Soviet gulag and whose dissident writings helped bring about the fall of Communism, said why he would not recommend that his country, once free, emulate the modern West. One reason he gave is that western societies have become “legalistic”; that is, our societies have replaced morality with laws. And societies cannot protect themselves with laws alone. [Read more…]
I usually cast a jaundiced eye at efforts to change the name of sports teams that refer to Native Americans. After all, I reason, fans love their teams, so there can hardly be anything demeaning in what they call them. I do understand tribal sensitivities in regard to mascots–misusing tribal symbols such as eagle feathers and perpetuating stereotypes–but I salute the Seminole Nation,for example, in affirming the dignified reference to their tribe by Florida State.
But Washington “Redskins”? Yeah, that’s pretty racial and hard to justify. Change is going to come eventually. So, if the name of the football team that represents our nation’s capital is going to change, what should it be? I am looking for suggestions both serious and humorous. [Read more…]