September 19, 2019

As an alum of Harvard Divinity School, I regularly receive mass email messages from the University’s president. A recent communication from Laurence S. Bacow addressed the challenge of how Harvard should address the gifts it received from Jeffrey Epstein. This is a genuine moral dilemma, one that lots of charitable and non-profit institutions face when revelations about the lives of wealthy people come to light. For instance, Villanova University had to figure out what to do with the arena in… Read more

September 17, 2019

Say what you will about the dust up between Sohrab Ahmari and David French and what the phenomenon of Drag Queen Reading Hour reveals about political conservatism, what seems to be missing from every comment I have read is the wisdom of the public library officials who approved of men dressed in drag reading to children. Imagine what the public reaction in San Francisco might be if fans of the nearby Oakland Raiders had a regular shot a reading to… Read more

September 13, 2019

If you can believe it, the disagreement between Sohrab Ahmari and David French has gone from the op-ed page and on-line publishing to a road show. Their debate, which first appeared at Catholic University of America, recently played its second exhibition match at the University of Notre Dame — when will the evangelical French get the home field advantage, at Wheaton College, for instance. That second exchange, not exactly the Lincoln-Douglas show down, spurred a number of Christian reflections about… Read more

September 11, 2019

The New York Times’ poor driving skills have already caught my attention and are now in the bloodstream of comment and opinion. Driving here refers to journalists’ failure to stay in the lane of journalism by trying to do history, in this case, telling the story of the United States so that slavery is basic to understanding national history and identity. Someone at the Times could just as easily have reframed American history by noticing how much Christianity has been… Read more

September 6, 2019

I am still having trouble wrapping my mind around the very high moral standards that President Trump’s critics are using against him and in turn employ to accuse his evangelical supporters of hypocrisy. I understand that Trump is not presidential. Tweeting is not presidential. Nor is it something that most people holding up high the standards of presidentiality are willing to give up. Still, consider the fundamentalist-like indignity that often emerges when Trump shows he is exactly who he was… Read more

August 30, 2019

Josh Tait (@joshua_a_tait), who studies the history of American conservatism in a Ph.D. program, mentioned an article that appeared in Commentary Magazine almost sixty years ago. It was about the John Birch Society and why these anti-Communists went too far. William F. Buckley’s prohibitions on John Birchers was a defining moment in American conservative history. The author of this Commentary article, Alan F. Westin, boiled down the problem with the John Birch Society to this: Unlike American liberals and conservatives—who… Read more

August 28, 2019

With news of J. D. Vance’s entrance into communion with the Roman Catholic Church, it is worthwhile raising the question about the relations between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. Vance, of course, is the author of Hillbilly Elegy, a book in which he describes white poverty in Appalachia and where he received some instruction from a variety of evangelicalism. In an interview with Rod Dreher, Vance explained his reasons for leaving Protestantism and joining Rome: I became persuaded over time that… Read more

August 22, 2019

Would Roland Fryer have received a different fate had his case of alleged sexual harassment been decided after the New York Times decided to reframe American history around the reality of slavery? Stuart Taylor, Jr. provides a careful and detailed account of what happened at Harvard University to the accomplished economist, Fryer: In a December 14, 2018 piece, the New York Times set the stage by noting in its opening sentences that Roland G. Fryer Jr. had attained tenure at… Read more

August 20, 2019

In New York City, pastors like Tim Keller and philanthropy consultants have this idea that religion contributes to a healthy city. Mark Galli has written a four-part series on why the church’s mission is not to improve this world (though it may indirectly) but to worship and serve God. But Keller thinks a church builds up a city’s social capital. And Karl Zinmeister agrees: Religiosity helped hone the American character, patterns of mutual aid, and national productivity. Today, however, belief… Read more

August 16, 2019

Even as the New York Times is launching coverage of slavery’s influence on North American colonies and the United States, only three weeks ago Scott Simon, the presenter on NPR’s Weekend Edition (morning) was arguing that reporters should make climate change the story to drive reporting: It’s hot: historically, treacherously hot this week, in surprising places. It was 109 degrees in Paris, the highest temperature ever recorded there. People plunged into the Jardins du Trocadéro fountains to cool down, while… Read more

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