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

August 15, 2019

As faculty and students are gearing up for another year of college, those in higher education may hear lots of reminders about mission, purpose, and the higher things. From a Protestant perspective it is hard to achieve a loftier altitude that Boyce College’s academic mission (a school connected to Southern Baptist Seminary): The faithful Christian college does not merely teach evangelism and missions — it is driven by them. A passion for the gospel infuses every class, every course, every… Read more

August 8, 2019

Does Christian nationalism come in only one flavor? According to the signers of Christians Against Christian Nationalism, Christian nationalism happens when it reinforces “white supremacy” and “racial subjugation.” That is a detail, the basic flaw of Christian nationalism is merging Christian and American identities. If that’s the case, if you want to distinguish national from religious identity, then why affirm American political norms through Christian identity? Try this: As Christians, our faith teaches us everyone is created in God’s image… Read more

August 6, 2019

I was going through some old files and came across this piece, eventually published at Touchstone. I paste an excerpt below (readers should be aware that I no longer live in Philadelphia nor are my parents, the lovely, the talented, Jay and Ellen Hart, still alive): the question of cultural succession broadly construed is a real one that is often missed in Newmanesque defenses of liberal education. The problem arises when graduates of the university fail to return home to… Read more

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