November 22, 2023

Today, November 22, 2023, marks the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963).  Three years ago, Bob Dylan (1941-    ), in the midst of the pandemic, released a haunting 17 minute song about JFK’s murder. Entitled “Murder Most Foul,” Dylan not only vividly describes the assassination and the cast of characters that surrounded it, he takes us on a whirlwind historical tour of American popular culture that followed the president’s death.  (You can find the... Read more

November 22, 2023

As we in the United States approach Thanksgiving, we should cultivate in our souls the virtue of gratitude.  To this end, I recommend these words from St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), excerpted from the Summa Theologiae (II.Q106): Thanksgiving [gratiarum actio] in the recipient corresponds to the favor [gratia] of the giver: so that when there is greater favor on the part of the giver, greater thanks are due on the part of the recipient. Now a favor is something bestowed “gratis”:... Read more

September 9, 2023

Of the thirteen songs that appeared on his self-titled and first album, Bob Dylan, the Minnesota native only wrote two of them: “Talkin’ New York” and “Song to Woody.”  The latter, which Dylan wrote to honor the great Woody Guthrie, begins with these memorable lines: I’m out here a thousand miles from my homeWalkin’ a road other men have gone down Later in the song, Dylan sings: Hey, Woody Guthrie, but I know that you know All the things that... Read more

September 1, 2023

Earlier this year I published an article in the Civil Rights Law Journal, a perodical of the Scalia Law School at George Mason University.  In the article–entitled “What’s So Special About Religious Liberty?: Law, Philosophy, and Serving God“–I make a case for what I call “The Two Sovereigns” view of religious liberty by focusing on several famous establishment clause cases involving speech.  Here’s an abstract of the article: This paper addresses the question of the specialness of religious liberty. Rather... Read more

August 8, 2023

I just published an essay over at Public Discourse. Entitled “Is Bias Actually Bad?,” it is a review of the book, Bias: A Philosophical Study, authored by Princeton University philosopher, Thomas Kelly.  Here is how it begins: There is a lot of talk these days about bias. We are told that the media have a left-wing (MSNBC, Washington Post, New York Times) or a right-wing (Fox News, Wall Street Journal editorial page) bias; that employers should watch out for unconscious or... Read more

July 20, 2023

Grove City College historical theologian, Carl R. Trueman, has published an interesting opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.   The July 10, 2023 essay concerns a University of Notre Dame professor who is suing one of the school’s independent student newspapers, The Irish Rover. Trueman writes: Stories of students canceling speakers have become commonplace in recent years. Last week South Bend, Ind., saw a new riff on this theme when Notre Dame sociology professor Tamara Kay sued a student newspaper for defamation, alleging that... Read more

July 16, 2023

In a little over a month is the beginning of the new school year. One of the hot topics up for discussion on university campuses around the world (but most especially in the US) will be the so-called “proper use” of ChatGPT. By all means enter the conversation, but intentionally resist the use of techno-utilitiarian language. When an administer–however well-meaning–frames the discussion in techno-utilitarian terms, e.g., “how best to use information,” do not comply. Instead, employ phrases like “seeking the... Read more

June 7, 2023

I am happy to be contributing a chapter to a forthcoming book on faith and film, edited by political scientists Carson Holloway (University of Nebraska, Omaha) and Micah Watson (Calvin University).  Entitled “God, Man, and George Bailey: The Theological Anthropology of It’s a Wonderful Life,” my chapter begins with this paragraph: It’s a Wonderful Life is one of the most well-known and most-watched films in the history of American cinema. Although often labeled a Christmas movie, it is far more than that.... Read more

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