The New Anti-Catholicism: Occupy the Vatican

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That's the title of my latest column over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: The old anti-Catholicism found its expression in the mid-nineteenth century when the first large wave of Catholic immigrants arrived in the United States. Some of these immigrant groups had set up their own private religious schools. Many non-Catholic Americans, however, believed that Catholic schools indoctrinated students in superstitions that were inconsistent with the principles of American democracy. … [Read more...]

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An Uncomfortable and Awkward Question for Conservative Christian Gingrich Supporters

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Are you prepared for America to have a First Lady who was a home wrecker and was once the President's mistress (if Gingrich were to become President)?  Many Christian conservatives--smitten by Newt's rhetorical flourishes, as they are of any "good preaching"--seem not to have the imagination to entertain this question. It crossed my mind weeks ago, but I thought it churlish to raise it online, until I witnessed Gingrich's retort to John King when the CNN correspondent brought up the ABC … [Read more...]

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My critique of Roe v. Wade and its progeny

Sunday, January 22, is the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (1973). Even though many citizens reject the opinion, not many know why it is so flawed. In chapter 2 of my 2007 book, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press), I offer a detailed analysis of Roe and some subsequent Supreme Court opinions. An earlier version of that chapter was published in 2006 (1.1, pp. 37-72) in the inaugural issue of the Liberty University Law Review under the title … [Read more...]

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Ken Starr: Can I Vote For a Mormon?

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Judge Ken Starr, the President of Baylor University (where I am a tenured faculty member in the philosophy department), published a thoughtful essay in yesterday's Washington Post, "Can I Vote For a Mormon?" It begins this way: Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary looms large on the political horizon. In the midst of lively public debates over taxes, jobs, the national debt and similarly important questions related to the future vitality of our nation, a different kind of question continues to pr … [Read more...]

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Taking Rites Seriously: Political Liberalism and the Problem of Marriage

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That's the title of my latest column over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: Political Liberalism, as we know it today, is not even three decades old. It began to develop in the early 1980s in the writings of several well-known philosophers that included Thomas Nagel, Ronald Dworkin, and John Rawls. The purpose of their project was to offer the political culture an intellectually respectable way to sequester the policy goals of the fledgling movement of religious conservatives while … [Read more...]

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Newt Gingrich, Redemption, and the Presidency

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That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's are some excerpts: In 2009, Gingrich was received into the Catholic Church, the faith of his third wife, Callista Bisek. Because Catholic conversion requires the sacrament of confession, Gingrich has been absolved of his sins. This, of course, suggests to many, including me, that one cannot evaluate Gingrich’s candidacy and character without taking his conversion seriously. It is a mistake for Christians to emulate the world … [Read more...]

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Religion, Politics, and the Public Square

Over the years I've published several academic articles dealing with the separation of church and state and the status of theology as knowledge. I bring this to your attention because of the increasing attention on the religious beliefs of those running for the U. S. Presidency. Here are some of my articles with links:“How To Be An Anti-Intelligent Design Advocate,” University of St. Thomas Journal of Law & Public Policy 4.1 (2009-2010): 35-65. “Must Theology Sit in the Back of Secular B … [Read more...]

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The Question Behind Our Political Divisions

That is the title of my most recent entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins:The political regime of the United States of America is one founded on three core philosophical ideas:  natural rights, consent of the governed, and the rule of law. The American Founders put in place a structure – a federal constitutional government of divided powers consisting of states with their own republican governments – in order to ensure that these core philosophical ideas stood the best chanc … [Read more...]

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Government Forms (or Deforms) Your Soul

That is the title of an article I published last year (vol. 21, no. 5, September 2010) in This Rock (now Catholic Answers Magazine), the magazine of Catholic Answers. It is now available online. Portions of this article are adapted from portions of my most recent book, Politics for Christians: Statecraft as Soulcraft (InterVarsity Press, 2010). Here's how the article begins: “Statecraft,” Aristotle instructed his pupils, “is soulcraft.” What he meant is that the state or government, by its polici … [Read more...]

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President Obama: Ex-Liberal

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: President Barack Obama has abandoned liberalism.  What I mean by liberalism is not the political philosophy that we typically associate with left of center politicians and candidates.  The President, of course, remains unabashedly in that camp. What I am referring to you is a particular posture concerning moral questions the President has publicly embraced on several occasions. It is from that liberalism he has … [Read more...]

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