The Public Square
The Guardian, a British paper, has a man in Washington named Martin Walker and he reviews two books on the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill controversy. One by Senator John Danforth, Resurrection, takes Thomas’ side, and the other by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson, Strange Justice, takes Hill’s side. Walker suggests that "Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill are to our day what Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers were to the opening years of the Cold War. As in the Dreyfus case in France, an entire political allegiance can be deduced from which of the two sides one decides to believe."
At a deeper level, Resurrection reflects a religious orientation, while Strange Justice is thoroughly secular. To read these two accounts, says Walker, "is to realize the extent to which the United States is now divided between the two mutually uncomprehending universes of the secular and the godly. The books are written in what are virtually different languages, the one rooted in Faith and the other in Reason." The real lesson of this episode, he suggests, "is that the parallel universe of faith is now able to command equal time and political deference in a constitutional system that we once assumed was the historical product and the enduring province of the rational mind."
There is something to be said for Mr. Walker’s analysis, but the real divide is not between faith and reason but between those who do and those who don’t pit faith against reason and reason against faith. Almost all secularists do, and so do many, if not most, of the religiously committed. That reality is perhaps the greatest obstacle to restoring moral deliberation to our civil discourse. If the choice is between faith and reason, there will be no end to cultural warfare, and no limit upon the ways that warfare is prosecuted. The choice is not between faith and reason.
On the one side are ideologues who have made of secularism a functional religion, who demand that traditional religion be relentlessly expunged from the public square. On the same side are Christians who insist that government and public policy be based on their understanding of the biblically revealed law of God. Those two are on the same side because both pit faith against reason. On the other side are those who respect the capacity of God-given reason to engage the question of truth, including moral truth, and who are devoted to a vibrant democracy informed by the convictions of the American people, including their religious convictions. That is the choice that, it seems, becomes more apparent almost day by day.
Ever since the November election, the New York Times editorial page has been frothing about the end of the world, or at least the end of the political and cultural world favored by the editors. Some of the hysteria is, although pathetic, not without its entertainment value. For instance, a lead editorial titled "Starving the Poor" and aimed at the Republican congressional majority’s plans for welfare reform. Rather than speak in their own voice, the editors quote extensively from a statement made a month earlier by John Cardinal O’Connor in which he sharply and rightly criticizes the stereotyping of the poor for political advantage. Among other things, the Cardinal said, "It is increasingly rare for many of us . . . to believe that people can be poor, but honest; poor, but deserving of respect. Poverty is no longer blamed on anyone but the poor themselves. Contempt for the poor has become a virtue." A touch hyperbolic perhaps, but it is surely a salutary caution, and a necessary reminder that a society is judged also by the way we respond to the needs of the most marginal and disadvantaged.
There is, however, something very odd about the Times’ discovery of Cardinal O’Connor as a "compelling voice" for justice. The old axiom that the enemy of my enemy is my friend would seem to be at work here, even if the new-found friend was previously declared an enemy. During the ten years that he has been in New York, the Times has seldom-we were going to write "never," but maybe there was once-had a kind word for the Cardinal. It has on many occasions editorially lashed out at him and the Catholic Church for their putative bigotry and general obstructionism that got in the way of how the Times thinks the city and the world should be ordered. Indeed in the past decade a regularly repeated editorial theme has been the opposition of the Catholic Church in general, and Cardinal O’Connor in particular, to the course of putative progress.
But now, after November 8, 1994, the times they are a-changing. The editors write, "Given the savagery of the climate, it is useful to note what the Roman Catholic Church is saying in response. The church, through its efforts to feed and house America’s poor, is intimately familiar with the problem of poverty. Of late, the church’s most compelling voice has been that of the Archbishop of New York, John Cardinal O’Connor. . . ." My, my, and all this from the editors of the Times. They must be getting desperate. They are.
Desperate enough to trim a pastoral exhortation by the Cardinal to their own political purposes. Desperate enough to praise the Church for being "squarely on the side of the vulnerable," while excising the call for the protection of the vulnerable unborn-a call that the Times has routinely and stridently condemned as patriarchal indifference to the rights of women. Desperate enough to try to enlist a religious sanction for its politics, despite its thundering anathemas against the mixing of religion and politics by groups such as the Christian Coalition and its notorious editorial claim of some years ago that the Cardinal was, by criticizing policies approved by the Times, threatening "the fragile truce" that permits religious leaders to address questions of public moment. "Of late" the Cardinal has become a compelling voice. Of so very late. And, we can be sure, not for long.
The frothing and floundering of the Times in reaction to new ideas and new forces in our political culture is, as aforesaid, not without its entertainment value. In time, the editors may come to understand that the problem is not "the savagery of the climate" but the savagery of their reaction to a growing awareness that old social policies, apparently so compassionate, are cruel in their consequences for the very people they are supposed to help. The editors say that "the country has a moral obligation to feed and protect those who cannot feed and protect themselves." In time, they may come to understand that "the country" doesn’t feed or protect anyone. People and institutions do these necessary things. The editors may even come to understand that the most important institutions for doing these things are not governmental but the mediating institutions, such as family, church, neighborhood, and voluntary association. They may even get to the point where they add the term "subsidiarity" to their vocabulary. But all this will likely take the editors some time.
Meanwhile, we are sure that Cardinal O’Connor knows that his involuntary recruitment as the enemy of the enemies of the Times is very temporary. When next he violates the orthodoxies of the Times, as he inevitably must, it is certain that the editors will revert to type and his "most compelling voice" will once again be the intolerably meddlesome voice of one who does not understand who is in charge of the city and the world. (Urbi et orbi, as Mr. Sulzberger might put it.)
What Are Lawyers Good For? (This Is Not a Lawyer Joke)
So who’s behind the violence surrounding abortion? The November 14, 1994 issue of U.S. News & World Report devotes nine quite fair and informative pages to the question. Of course the violence examined is not the killing of unborn children but the killing of two abortionists and other actions such as the torching of abortuaries. The conclusion is that, despite the efforts of Attorney General Janet Reno and the abortion lobby to discover otherwise, there is no grand conspiracy. There are a lot of opponents of abortion who feel they have reached the end of their tether and have no choice but to act outside the law and against the law. There is evidence that at least some pro-abortionists are beginning to worry that there may be something to the claim of pro- life activists that they are the nineteenth century abolitionists redevivus. With nothing but an insecure majority of the Supreme Court on their side, the pro-choice faction has reason to be nervous.
The U.S. News report is accompanied by a short article on another factor of increasing importance, the bringing of malpractice and other suits against abortionists and clinics. It cites Mark Crutcher of Texas who has set up a consulting firm, Life Dynamics. He takes out ads declaring, "If you’ve been physically or emotionally injured by an abortion, talk to an aggressive attorney today." When he’s talking to lawyers, Crutcher says, "we want them to visualize millions of dollars, not aborted babies." Multiplying law suits doesn’t do much to elevate the level of public moral discourse, but it has a certain vulgar charm, and may be effective. From various conversations it is evident that a number of pro-life leaders are intrigued by the possibilities. "Fighting fire with fire" and similarly unedifying but not uninteresting maxims crop up in such conversations.
It is noted that the infamous Roe decision of 1973 provides a wide open invitation to medical litigation. Roe said that abortion is "inherently, and primarily, a medical decision," and it follows that the abortionist must have a sound basis for "his medical judgment [that] the patient’s pregnancy should be terminated" (emphasis added). Simply to provide abortion on request would therefore appear to be a form of negligence. Yet the clinics where the overwhelming majority of abortions are performed are almost totally unregulated, and the way they operate makes a considered medical judgment, such as that envisioned in Roe, virtually impossible. Physical and emotional injury are broad categories, and people are becoming more aware of the accumulating evidence that abortion contributes to, among many other things, a greatly increased chance of breast cancer. Then there is the question of whether the woman’s choice was truly free and informed, or whether it was coerced by boyfriend, family, or circumstance that could be changed without great difficulty. (Even in surveys conducted by pro-choice organizations, the overwhelming majority of women who have abortions say that they "had no choice.") Such considerations should have a bearing on a doctor’s decision that a woman should have an abortion.
Returning to the U.S. News article, it concludes: "These kinds of malpractice suits have put abortion-rights advocates in an uncomfortable spot. They can hardly object to a legal strategy that secures damages for injured women and makes bad doctors pay. Antiabortion groups see the obvious benefits in that strategy. Even some of their opponents concede it is one area where antiabortion forces may be gaining the upper hand." The fight for the protection of unborn children and vulnerable women is continuing, and must continue, on many fronts. The moral delegitimation of abortion within the medical community has largely been achieved. Very few doctors want to be known as abortionists, and the great majority of medical schools do not teach how to kill babies. A much magnified threat of malpractice suits could make it much more expensive for the clinics to stay in business. In addition, a greatly changed political climate after the November elections makes more than thinkable once again political and legal steps that many had despaired of.
The reader may recall President Clinton’s formula that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare." (He who then pushed policies aimed at expanding the incidence of abortion, even to the point of enshrining it as an internationally recognized human right.) Abortion has always been lethally unsafe for the baby, of course, but as it becomes more evident that it is unsafe for the mother, and as it is more widely perceived that it was illegitimately declared legal, and as litigation makes it onerously difficult to practice, it may also become much more rare. And that’s one possible answer to the oft-asked question, What are lawyers good for?
Yearning for the Good Old Days
How poignant is the longing of those who came alive in the 60s, who keep searching for the return of "The Movement." One recalls Wordsworth on the enthusiasts of the French Revolution, "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!" Robert F. Drinan, Jesuit priest and former Congressman, was not in the 60s so young in years, but it was his moment. He writes about it in a recent column. "I recently spoke to 287 people gathered in Boston to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the moratorium established in 1969 to stop the war in Vietnam." The millions then have shrunk to 287, a remnant so small as to make a precise count possible. Not 285 or 290 but 287. Drinan reflects: "The leaders and followers of the nation’s leading peace groups who celebrated the silver anniversary of the moratorium are the stalwarts of organizations such as the Clergy and Laity Concerned, the Nuclear Freeze Movement, Ban the Bomb, Pax Christi, the World Federalists, SANE/Freeze, and the United Nations Association. The words of leaders like Benjamin Spock, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were prominent in the rhetoric of the evening."
Drinan notes that "These organizations are groping for a mandate and scrambling for funds. Their messages and their missions seem to echo another generation, a time that is gone. . . . How can they find a new (or old) movement that will articulate an appealing solution for the truly horrendous threats to peace that are emerging before our very eyes?" Those longing for The Movement Redux are frustrated by a political situation that does not cooperate with their hopes. Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, even Bush could boil the blood, but what can you do when your man (more or less) is in the White House? Drinan writes, "The Clinton Administration has not proposed any new foreign policy that would pose a real challenge to the American people. Unlike the time that produced the antiwar movement there are no ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys.’ There is no one to demonize. There are few causes related to peace that make a march on Washington a mandate of conscience."
A great resource is being wasted, Fr. Drinan believes. "Religious groups possess a comprehensive and compelling series of moral principles from which a new foreign policy could be fashioned. Unfortunately there does not seem to be at this moment any movement within the mainline Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish groups in America to fashion a new set of guidelines for America’s conduct in the world in the next several years." Many thoughtful Americans might thank God that we are delivered, at least for the moment, from the pressure of the "comprehensive and compelling" principles by which mainline religion tried to direct the nation’s policies, foreign and domestic. In any event, Fr. Drinan is surely right in his suspicion that his nostalgia and that of the 287 veterans gathered in Boston seems "to echo another generation, a time that is gone."
A Time Bomb,Ticking, Ticking
Soon the second anniversary of the Waco killings will be upon us. There is reason to believe that this is a very big time bomb waiting to explode under the Clinton Administration. Attorney General Janet Reno, not yet sworn in, said at the time that the incident would be thoroughly investigated but "there will be no recriminations." She was hailed as a tough and up-front lady for saying that. But what a truly odd thing to say. About eighty people-men, women, children-were shot or burned to death after seven weeks of much-publicized ineptitude by government agencies, and we were told that there will be no recriminations. The story is far from over. The official reports on the investigations by the Justice Department and its agencies have been generally dismissed by scholars who have studied them as self-serving whitewashes. A number of independent investigations are reaching completion, books are in the works, and lawsuits brought by relatives of those killed will be coming to trial. One expects there will be recriminations aplenty.
From the Ashes: Making Sense of Waco (Rowman & Littlefield, $21.95
), edited by James R. Lewis, brings together forty-six essays, comments, and documents related to events in Waco. Authors range from retired Colonel Charlie Beckwith, founder of the Army’s elite Delta Force, to experts on nontraditional religions such as J. Gordon Melton, to some of the country’s most distinguished defenders of religious freedom such as Dean Kelley, long-time religious liberty director of the National Council of Churches. All the contributors are highly critical of the government, especially of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) and the FBI. Many note the ways in which "cult experts" and "religious deprogrammers" reinforced what appears to have been the desire of government agents to force a violent confrontation. The cumulative effect of the book is to support the conclusion that it was not David Koresh and his followers but the U.S. Government that bears moral and legal responsibility for the holocaust at Waco.
If this is true, Waco is the single most violent government assault on religious freedom in American history. One draws back from that conclusion, but then the evidence keeps forcing the mind back toward it. The questions about Waco seemed to be laid to rest, but they will now be returning in a way that the media, Congress, and the White House may find difficult to ignore. As with any event with apocalyptic connotations, the conspiracy theorists and associated vultures gather round. One cannot help but be impressed, however, by the reputations and seriousness of those who are now bringing forth evidence and arguments that make a reconsideration of Waco imperative. In thinking about this, one is haunted by a sickening possibility. What if most Americans really don’t care whether or not the government killed eighty-plus men, women, and children for no other reason than that they adhered to what most people view as kooky religious beliefs?
Readers with a grip on long-term memory will remember the name Michael Lerner. He is the editor of a liberal (okay, leftist) Jewish magazine called Tikkun. ("Tikkun" means healing, as in healing the world, for which a great deal is to be said.) Actually, it was not so very long ago at all that Mr. Lerner was getting, and grabbing, a lot of attention as Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s spiritual director, so to speak. Those were the days before-well, before so many things-when Mrs. Clinton was on magazine covers as the champion of the nation’s moral renewal. Within a few months of his fifteen minutes, Mr. Lerner is out with a book called Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation (Grosset-Putnam). It is no secret that most American Jews are profoundly secular, and it therefore is no surprise that many of them feel very empty and are yearning for that great American cure- all, "spirituality." Mr. Lerner has made the happy discovery that you really don’t need to choose between the secular and the spiritual; you can have it all.
He writes like this: "It does not follow that Jewish secularism must be abandoned. But secularism . . . needs to be reconstituted in ways that acknowledge the ethical, spiritual, and psychological concerns that have often been ignored or denied in the various materialist forms of secular thought. . . . Secularists need to address the ways that society systematically frustrates these meaning needs, and then to develop a ‘politics of meaning’ that aims to achieve societal transformations aiming to eliminate those aspects of our economic and political life that frustrate our meaning needs."
Elliott Abrams of the Hudson Institute, reviewing the book in the American Spectator, is not entirely taken with Mr. Lerner’s proposal: "Putting aside, again, babble like ‘meaning needs’ and looking at the substance, Lerner is simply contradicting himself. While he seems, on page after page, to recognize man’s search for the spiritual, his answer to that longing is more politics-to be precise, a ‘politics of meaning’ in the phrase he and Hillary made famous. Man’s search for meaning cannot, he understands, be satisfied in Freudian psychology, Marxism, or science, but it is to be found in an equally secular political quest nonetheless. Judaism is, to him, a religion whose whole point is politics, and ‘healing’ the world turns out to be awfully close to adopting the usual environmental, economic, and sociological nostrums of the left. And Jewish renewal turns out to be little more than, well, as [Richard] Brookhiser put it, the Democratic Party with holidays. In its way, Jewish Renewal is, as publishers like to hear, an important book. Its suggestions to the Jewish community are precisely wrong; its remedies for the decline in that community are exactly incorrect. Lerner’s own search for meaning has led him from politics, through religion, and then back again. His proposals, if adopted, would decimate the Jewish community like a plague. The effort to turn Jews into some sort of revolutionary vanguard for ecology and welfare benefits is ridiculous, and it is hard to think of anyone taking it very seriously-even Hillary Clinton."
Notice how many of the disputes in contemporary Christianity are over language. Both the revisionists and their opponents are right in recognizing that words not only reflect reality but also constitute what is taken for reality. Consider a Catholic example. There is a group of priests and scholars who have launched an organization called Credo, and they have had considerable influence with the bishops and others in applying the brakes to the establishment in charge of liturgical revisions. Needless to say, those who have been accustomed to having their way do not take kindly to this interference. Credo has, for instance, issued some sharp critiques of Latin translations proposed by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). The establishment shot back that these upstarts obviously possessed little more than "high school Latin."
Father James Maroney is chairman of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, works closely with ICEL, and is advisor to the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy. Recently he issued a bulletin announcing the appointment of a new bishop to the Diocese of Worcester, Mass. The traditional phrase is, "Nuntio gaudium magnum: Habemus episcopum." (I announce with great joy: We have a bishop.) Father Maroney’s bulletin had it, "Annuncio vobis gaudiam magnam: Habemus episcopam!" Now truth to tell, my Latin isn’t that great but something is obviously amiss here. "Annuncio" is not a Latin word. More interestingly, "episcopam" is feminine, as is "gaudiam magnam." The new bishop, Daniel Patrick Reilly, is definitely masculine. And in Latin "gaudium magnum" is in no way gender-specific so there is no reason to change it. (Revisionists who are big on being "inclusive" regularly impose the peculiarities of English on other languages.) Some of the priests in Credo may only have high school Latin, but one expects that most of them at least passed the course. Or perhaps Father Maroney is an accomplished Latinist and is trying to make a point. Or perhaps the changes were entirely inadvertent. As Cicero might have said, "Fors fortis" (fat chance).
While We’re At It
• Being unecumenical can be fun. Who doesn’t miss something in the bare-knuckled religious polemics of yesteryear? This writer was brought up in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod when it publicly taught that it was "the true visible church on earth." He never believed it, but it was exciting to watch one’s elders contend for that proposition, especially against Catholics-it being allowed that individual Catholics could be saved by virtue of "felicitous inconsistency" between what they really believed and what their church taught. This is brought to mind by an item in This Rock, a publication of Catholic Answers in San Diego, which describes itself as a Catholic apologetics organization. It seems Catholic Answers has struck up a polemical friendship with Michael Horton, president of CURE (Christians United for Reformation). Mr. Horton is hard-core Calvinist and what he and Catholic Answers have in common, aside from the pleasure of polemics, is a strong dislike for the declaration "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium" (see FT, May 1994). If that declaration is right, it might take a lot of the fun out of bashing one another. According to This Rock, there are "two major problems" with the declaration. It "gives the impression that Catholics and Evangelicals are members of the same visible Church of Christ." Second, "The statement implies that Catholics should not evangelize Evangelicals (or vice versa, of course)." Wrong on both scores. That Catholic Answers may have an impression and that they may infer something from the statement says something about Catholic Answers but nothing about the statement. "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" is entirely consonant with the teaching of Vatican Council II that all who are baptized are in real but imperfect communion with the Catholic Church, and it emphatically underscores the responsibility of Christians to evangelize everybody, which includes Evangelicals bearing witness to Catholics (and vice versa, of course). One is just a mite surprised that Catholic Answers seems to think that such firm and theologically astute defenders of Catholic orthodoxy as Archbishop Francis Stafford, Bishop Francis George, Fr. Avery Dulles, Professor Peter Kreeft, and John Cardinal O’Connor would sign a declaration that deviates from the Church’s teaching. An organization specializing in apologetics might consider apologizing.
• For fourteen years Richard C. Halverson served as chaplain to the U.S. Senate, and he has now resigned for reasons of health. My impression is that all who know him respect him highly. It’s no little thing to maintain an effective ministry across often bitter partisan lines. Since the announcement, clergy from around the country have been sending in their resumes in the hopes of snaring a position of high prestige and, especially for clergy, high pay ($115,700). It would be more seemly were they to await the call of God, or at least of Senator Bob Dole. No doubt they simply want to make their availability known to higher powers. Mary Hunt, who directs an organization called Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, says that after 205 years of white male chaplains it’s about time for a woman. On the other hand, she thinks the job may have become obsolete. "We no longer have a country that’s normatively white male or Protestant," she says. Maybe, she suggests, several chaplains are required to represent "the variety of religious traditions" in the Congress. We have a quota system for most everything else, so why not for the spiritual care of senators? Actually, while we don’t have the religious breakdown for the new Senate, the last one had eighty-three senators who identified themselves as Christians, ten as Jews, and seven who didn’t say. The largest single group, of course, was twenty-three Catholics, most of whom, unfortunately, were not conspicuously Catholic on questions that should be of particular concern to Catholics. God does not need and Senator Dole would not likely take our advice on what should be done about the chaplaincy, which is just as well since we don’t have any particular wisdom on the subject. Except for this: The tradition of a Senate chaplain should be maintained. To have no chaplain would be perceived as a further secularization of the public square; to have several would be pandering to a false "pluralism" that undermines commonalities in our public life. And except for this: The new chaplain should study very carefully the way that Richard Halverson did it so very well.
• Quite a debate has been kicked off by the National History Standards Project, which employed focus groups and other "consensus building procedures" to come up with a new way for schools to tell the American story. Despite all the references to consultative proceduralism, the new curriculum is pretty much what one would expect from the biases of experts who are, yes, politically correct, indeed painfully so. The historians who came up with these guidelines say that they have eschewed "the great man theory of history" (especially great dead white men), and want to nurture a multicultural appreciation of human diversity. Among those who are not buying is John Patrick Diggins, professor of history at the City University of New York. He observes that "The 60’s generation may have lost most of its political battles but, now safely ensconced in academia, it has won the war for cultural hegemony." Those who produced these standards defend their work by saying that historical revisionism reflects the critical mind at work. Diggins worries that this kind of revisionism will actually end up stifling the critical mind. "[T]he historians who wrote the standards may with the best of intentions be imposing their own interpretations and values to the point that students will not be able to do what they are purportedly called upon to do. Students are asked to exercise ‘independent judgment,’ yet it has already been decided that they should not spend an excessive amount of time studying ‘great civilizations.’ They are told to ‘detect bias,’ yet any detection-for example, questioning a text for emphasizing the achievements of one culture over another-runs the risk of being dubbed racist. They are to ‘weigh evidence and to evaluate arguments,’ yet they dare not pronounce the Federalist Papers superior in political wisdom lest they commit the elitist mistakes of the past. They are advised to ‘sniff out spurious appeals to history,’ yet they should beware of studying the ‘great men,’ the very thinkers who were in the vanguard of inquiry. Some standards." One recalls again Dryden’s observation about false freedoms that impose real bonds.
• Nobody reads it anyway, a friend tells me, so what difference does it make? Maybe so, and maybe it’s a small thing, but it should not go entirely unremarked. I can’t be the only one who reads the annual presidential proclamations for Thanksgiving Day. This time President Clinton urged us "to lift ourselves closer to God’s grace," noting that "ours is an unfinished journey." As to where we are going as a nation, he had this to say, "Our destination must be to create the means for every one of us to prosper, to enjoy sound education, meaningful work experience, protective health care, and personal security." The language gives a lift to the soul. The Lincolnesque ring of "meaningful work experience" puts one in mind of the first president to issue a proclamation declaring Thanksgiving a national holy day. President Clinton’s proclamation concludes by urging "the citizens of this great nation to continue this beloved tradition." The 1994 proclamation breaks tradition, however, by not being dated. Past proclamations ended by noting that the document was given in a certain year of the founding of these United States of America and in a certain "year of Our Lord." That the 1994 proclamation is not dated at all may reflect simply an absence of historical consciousness. But whoever wrote it must have gone back to consult earlier proclamations, and the omission of the traditional conclusion must, one is inclined to think, have been deliberate. The "year of Our Lord" likely offended somebody’s sense of what is appropriate in this "pluralistic" society. What about the Muslims, the Californicating New Agers, the Buddhists, the Confucianists, and the ACLUists? All might be "offended," as it is offensively said. To a certain mindset, pluralism is the enemy of particularity, requiring a denial of, or indifference toward, the differences that make most difference. The result is a dispiriting mix of the banal and mendacious. Authentic pluralism, of course, is the engagement of, even the celebration of, difference within the bonds of civility. But, as my friend says, we should not make too much of a Thanksgiving Day proclamation that almost nobody reads anyway. On the other hand, it’s my job to bring such things to public attention. I don’t know if the task is a "meaningful work experience," but I can thankfully say that it’s not without its satisfaction.
• In Seattle, following the November elections, the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials gathered. There were "about sixty of them," according to a long story in the New York Times which noted that these annual meetings of openly gay public officials started in 1985. A main subject of conversation this year was "what seems to be a national phenomenon: the preoccupation of the press with their homosexuality." Please consider. They convene as the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials, they invite the press, they highlight the growing number of openly gay and lesbian public officials, they reiterate the demand that the press pay more attention to their issues-and they complain about "the preoccupation of the press with their homosexuality." It takes a lot of doing for this scribe to work up even a smidgen of sympathy for the view that the press is getting a bum rap, but every once in a while . . .
• We Americans supply great entertainment for our British cousins. They sometimes take a condescending attitude toward us, which is almost always unwarranted, but we should understand that it is not easy living in a country where the end of history is not an interesting theory but the very air you breathe. At other times they discern things about us with remarkable clarity. This, for instance, from the Spectator’s editorial ruminations on our recent election: "But the role played by the mainstream media was a curious one, without precedent in America, and without a real British analogy. Only last week, Time magazine put a photograph of Newt Gingrich, the Republican who will now be Speaker of the House of Representatives, on its cover: Mr. Gingrich’s features were twisted into a snarl, beneath the headline, ‘The Politics of Hate’; who hates whom was, not, however, very clear. Others-television, and broadsheet newspapers-continued to report the elections from a biased and thoroughly partisan perspective, yet all the while maintaining a pretense of objectivity and an attitude of pure scorn for anyone who pointed this out: this hypocrisy is the trademark of the politically correct American press. Meanwhile, scrappy local radio talk-shows were promoting candidates like Mr. Gingrich and Mr. North. The difference between the two types of media made the ideological gap between Republicans and Democrats seem even larger: never before have American elites-in media, law, and government-seemed so out of touch with the American people." We should not begrudge the editors’ finding this small consolation in the comparison of our media and theirs: "Despite that growing substitution of gossip for the reporting of genuine issues, and the apparently endless demand for sex and scandal, British mainstream press and television are, in this sense, far healthier than their American counterparts: at least it is still possible to find more than one set of biases and prejudices in the broadsheet press-and at least no one tries to pretend that they do not exist at all."
• Ms. Kate Michelman, one of the country’s foremost proponents of abortion, described the November election results as "devastating and disastrous." And with good reason. Pro-life leaders are counting at least forty-five gains in the House and six in the Senate. The actual gains may be more than that, since the election decisively demonstrated that the pro-life position is no electoral handicap and could well be an advantage. That will likely not be lost on incumbent politicians who have been waffling up to now. Of the thirty-six House Democratic incumbents who lost, thirty-four were pro-abortion, and twenty-nine of them were defeated by pro-lifers. Also noteworthy, there is now a bloc of seven strongly and articulately pro-life women in the House. "It’s exciting stuff to have these women to argue the pro-life position when Pat Schroeder starts pontificating," says Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council. Opposing abortion, says GOP consultant Jeffrey Bell, "wasn’t the big albatross the other side said it was. It never is. That’s the big myth. Abortion is the issue that just won’t quit." According to a Wirthlin poll, 27 percent of those who voted said that abortion influenced their vote. Of that 27 percent, 9 percent were pro- choice and 18 percent pro-life. That’s a two-to-one margin. Also with respect to abortion, we are suddenly in a quite different political culture. Some conservative Republicans (the other kind of Republican is now an endangered species) say they want to put off major action on abortion for a while, using the next Congress to "educate the public" on the question through hearings and other initiatives. There may be strategic sense in that. At the same time, many politically activated pro-lifers are impatient and may quickly smell betrayal if there is not visible movement by an early date. In addition, it now seems quite clear that if the Republican party nominates a presidential candidate who is not credibly pro-life, it is inviting massive defections, third party right-to-life candidates in nearly every state, and almost certain defeat. It is with a sense of wonder that one remembers how, on January 23, 1973, all the print and broadcast media informed the world that the Supreme Court had "settled" the abortion question.
• When in October President Clinton escaped campaign pressures here to participate in Jordanian-Israeli peace ceremonies, he was accompanied by Father Leo J. O’Donovan, president of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Writing in America, Fr. O’Donovan gives a glowing account of what must have been for him an inspiring trip. President Clinton and Secretary of State Warren Christopher spoke "movingly" on a number of very important themes-"supporting the process toward a comprehensive peace, expressing solidarity with Jews and Arabs in the journey, denouncing terrorism, promoting economic development." Not only that, but these themes "were echoed in remarks Hillary Rodham Clinton made at several appearances." In Amman, Jordan, President Clinton was "eloquent" in affirming "American solidarity with the peace signatories." Fr. O’Donovan concludes, "It would not have happened without American participation. Nor without our President." One would not be surprised if Fr. O’Donovan gets invited to go on other presidential trips.
• Still the most celebrated dissident theologian of the post-Vatican II era, Father Hans Kung was recently invited to lecture at Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Never a man to pander to his audience, Fr. Kung came right out and told the Anglicans that the main responsibility for ecumenical difficulties between Canterbury and Rome "certainly lies with Rome." He added, "I say that with the sorrow of a Catholic theologian who all his theological life has been committed to the ecumenical cause." Over the last thirty years, Fr. Kung has become well-known for the sorrowful reluctance with which he says anything critical of Rome. In his lecture, according to the Tablet, he noted that the "Anglican tradition" poses hard questions to the "Roman system." "Why shouldn’t it be possible for Roman Catholic dioceses too to make an independent election of their own bishops?" "Why shouldn’t . . . the ‘women’s question’ (above all, ordination) be resolved in one country earlier than another?" "Why shouldn’t a church be able to have eucharistic communion [with another church] in its country if it regards the differences as settled?" And so forth. It all comes down to one hard question that Fr. Kung says Anglicanism puts to Rome: Why doesn’t Rome become like the Church of England? Many Anglicans will agree with Catholics that that question has an embarrassingly easy answer. Nonetheless, one would not be surprised if Fr. Kung gets invited to speak at other functions sponsored by the C of E.
• The CBS program 60 Minutes filmed the very leftist "Call to Action" gathering in Chicago for a segment that will look at "the state of the Catholic Church in the U.S. today." Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister presided at the main Mass, along with a deacon and his wife, a resigned priest, and a member of Dignity, the Catholic gay and lesbian group. "We don’t need permission to be the church," said Chittister. Apparently it was an enthusiastic crowd. At the sharing of the peace, reporter Mike Wallace was standing near the altar and, it says here, "seemed momentarily stunned as he was greeted with a barrage of hugs and handshakes." One can sympathize even with a man who is a pro at momentarily stunning others. Sister Joan said that in the 60s these meetings posed the question, What will you do now? "The value of such things in the 90s is, What will you think now?" Maybe they should change the name from "Call to Action" to "Call to Thinking," but that would likely spoil the fun. Feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether was a featured speaker, as she has been every year as long as the old-timers can remember. She spoke about the frustration sometimes experienced in trying to "stay committed to reform of the church." But she can still get herself worked up. For instance, a Church of England clergyman told her he determined to become Catholic after his church decided to ordain women. Ruether: "And I thought, ‘Oh no, no, not here, not here do you try to reproduce a haven from women and from cultural and class diversity as you seek a cozy home for English males who want to hear the liturgy intoned in an Oxbridge accent. Be advised that if you join the Catholic Church you will encounter yet stronger feminists. But also you will be discomfited to sit in the pew with working-class Irish.’ I always think of those guys at Cambridge and Oxford with their dainty ways having to sit in an ordinary working-class parish." Dear, dear, does one detect a note of homophobia, not to mention Anglophobia? According to this report, "The three days of workshops included a strong track on building small faith communities as well as sessions on combating racism, organizing against violence, African-American spirituality, and lesbian/gay spirituality and theology." A total of 3,100 attended the Chicago "Call to Action." Nine percent were priests. It doesn’t say how many of them were retired. Perhaps the more telling figure is that 10 percent of the participants were under thirty years of age and 50 percent were over fifty. If the 60 Minutes program suggests that "Call to Action" reflects the state of the Catholic Church in the U.S. today, we will know that Mike Wallace was more than momentarily stunned.
• "I can’t get enough of Mary Ann Glendon," writes a reader from Pennsylvania, and she’s certainly not alone. Glendon fans will be interested in a series of four 30-minute tapes the Harvard law professor has done on the future of the pro-life movement, Catholic feminism, the Church and higher education, and what it means to be both Catholic and American. For information, write Alba House, P.O. Box 595, Canfield, OH 44406.
• There is a potentially useful discussion building over a lawsuit filed by Lynne C. Boughton against DePaul University in Chicago. She is charging that she was denied an interview for a tenure-track position in the religious studies department and finally discharged because her views were "too Catholic." The question is one of illegal religious discrimination. According to one paper, "Boughton said that although she refrained from interjecting her traditional Catholic beliefs into her teaching, the university ‘persecuted her solely because of her religious beliefs.’" Why a religion teacher in a putatively Catholic university should feel obliged to refrain from injecting her beliefs in her teaching may strike some as curious. (DePaul is run by the Vincentian order.) The newspaper of St. Louis University, a Jesuit institution, reflects on whether that school has a similar problem. One faculty defender of St. Louis U says, "I believe that the University is committed to Jesuit Catholic values, while encouraging religious diversity," and so forth. Another, however, thinks the school is misleading people by presenting itself as a "Catholic Jesuit community." Jesuit Catholic? Catholic Jesuit? Does the adjective control the noun, or vice versa? And remember when people simply assumed that Jesuits were Catholic?
• We almost got away with it. But now Texe Marrs, who runs Living Truth Ministries in Austin, Texas, has told his thousands of readers the real story behind "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium." It seems that Charles Colson is a "closet Catholic" who was recruited by the Vatican to arrange for Protestantism’s surrender to Rome. Neuhaus is a "Marxist heretic" who answers to "both the notorious Catholic Order of the Jesuits and the infamous Christian-bashing, Jewish Anti-Defamation League." "When Rev. Neuhaus abandoned the Lutheran Church to become a Catholic priest, the Vatican and its Jesuits knew they had a potential winner. With Rome’s guidance (and financial means!), they reasoned, Richard Neuhaus could be used to manipulate millions of gullible Christians into joining in a grand crusade to destroy Protestantism." In light of Marrs’ revelations, we can see how sneaky Neuhaus has been in covering his tracks by pretending on occasion to be critical of the Jesuits and the Anti-Defamation League. "Colson and Neuhaus openly admit that they secretly worked for two years behind the scenes on this project. Their plan was to get the world’s top evangelical and Catholic leaders to sign up and endorse the manifesto before expected opposition developed." (In retrospect, it was probably a mistake for Chuck and me to admit it publicly.) Those who want to know more can get All Fall Down, a special report by Mr. Marrs that reveals "the stunning facts about the greatest sell-out in the history of Christianity." It seems that Protestants have been recruited to work with Jews and Jesuits to bring "the whole religious establishment, under their supreme leader, the Pope, straight into the Great Apostasy." In addition to the real dirt on Colson and Neuhaus, the report "unmasks the Vatican connections" of some of the biggest names in Protestantism, including Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, Bill Bright, Robert Schuller, Richard Land, and Larry Lewis. Oh yes, Marrs reveals that Neuhaus also publishes "a propagandistic magazine, Things Considered." Don’t say you were not warned.
• No, allegations to the contrary, I do not even try to read everything. But I sometimes wonder why I continue to look, at least from time to time, at some publications. For instance, the foundering flagscow of the Catholic left, the National Catholic Reporter. For the sake of amusement, more often than not, just to see what the inmates are saying about their occasional encounters with the outside world. Here is a recent headline: "New Cardinals: John Paul II creates 30 new ones-all men-from 24 countries." So you can see the benefit of reading NCR. What other paper would be so alert as to point out that there were no women cardinals appointed this time around? In the same issue there is a long story by Peter Hebblethwaite, the prolific and ever excited purveyor of inside dope on Vatican conspiracies, under the heading, "Pope Stacks School of Cardinals." It seems the Pope, being an unspeakably rigid fellow, did not make cardinals of the declared enemies of this pontificate. Nor did it escape the attention of Mr. Hebblethwaite that the Pope appointed "anti-communist" cardinals in Vietnam and Cuba. But then, what would you expect from a reactionary like John Paul II? To be fair to NCR, it is not all that much more amusing on these questions than the New York Times, especially since Allan Cowell was made its Rome correspondent. Mr. Cowell, who has scaled new heights of the obtusely banal, reported that, with the appointment of new cardinals, the Pope was "solidifying his base" in the Church. Mr. Cowell, it seems, is getting himself ready to cover Karol Wojtyla’s reelection campaign in 1996. Perhaps it is too much to expect from the Times, but from Catholic publications, no matter how tenuously Catholic, one would hope for some capacity to view the Church in terms other than those of secular power politics. But while I’m allowing fairness to get the better of me, I should report some surprises in the way people have been responding to the Pope’s best- selling book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope. The editor of the Tablet (London) asked a bunch of his regulars-most of whom are skeptical-to-hostile toward anything issuing from the Holy See-to comment on the book and the reviews were, with exceptions, glowing. Similarly, NCR printed a comment by Father F. X. Murphy (the famed "Xavier Rynne" who reported on Vatican II for the New Yorker) in which he compared Threshold favorably with St. Augustine’s Confessions. To be sure, the same issue carried an extended trashing of the book by the above-mentioned Hebblethwaite, and the editors printed Murphy’s much shorter comment on the last page and under the heading, "Another View." But enough to make the point. You can see why there is a modestly amusing payoff to looking at publications such as NCR, from time to time.
• Days after writing the above, word comes that Peter Hebblethwaite has died in Oxford at age sixty-four. A generous obituary in the New York Times (which has him as the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Register rather than the National Catholic Reporter) says Hebblethwaite "gained high esteem as an author whose style was calm, scholarly, and even witty." In accord with the maxim De mortuis nil nisi bonum, it should be allowed that Hebblethwaite was sometimes witty. In something of an understatement, the Times notes that "Mr. Hebblethwaite thought little of John Paul II, and did not conceal his hope that his successor would reverse what he considered the Vatican’s reactionary attitudes." His final book, The Next Pope, will appear later this year and offers Mr. Hebblethwaite’s views on who is, and who is not, likely to lead the Church in the directions that he favored. As a Jesuit priest, Hebblethwaite attended the last sessions of Vatican Council II, and then edited the Jesuit magazine, The Month, for several years before deciding that "the spirit of the Council" had been betrayed. He quit the priesthood in 1974 and married author Margaret Speaight, who is also Deputy Editor of the Tablet (London), where Hebblethwaite regularly appeared. Of his books, Paul VI: The First Modern Pope will probably be of lasting interest. In that biography, he takes a rather favorable view of Paul VI, in repeated and explicit contrast to John Paul II. However wrongheaded one may think his views, there can be no doubt of Hebblethwaite’s devotion to the Church as he understood it. Almost nothing has turned out as Peter Hebblethwaite thought it should have. In the pontificate of John Paul II, the renewal called for by Vatican II has been construed in strong continuity with the Church’s tradition and, at the time of Hebblethwaite’s death, it was perhaps evident also to him that the pontificate itself is vibrantly alive and assertive as this Pope intends to lead the Church across the threshold of the Third Millennium. A heavyset, chain-smoking, indomitable personality and prolific writer, Peter Hebblethwaite got the big story almost entirely wrong, in our view, but in the day by day telling of it he frequently provided an angle of vision that forced others to think more clearly and a contrariness graced by the joy of battle. The preparation of journalists for heaven is probably a prolonged affair, but we will not be surprised if, in due course, celestial delights include reading Peter Hebblethwaite’s inside stories on what the angels are saying around the Throne. At that point, the big story will no longer be in dispute, which will improve immeasurably his analysis, and ours.
• A St. Louis reader notes that the prosecutor in the Paul Hill trial sought the death penalty while the prosecutor in the O. J. Simpson case did not. She has this question, "What would happen if O. J. Simpson had killed an abortionist?" We’re thinking about it.
• And now for something completely different. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there is a "national resurgence of the Christian left." Staff writer Martha Sawyer Allen declares that there is "a trend in Minnesota, which mirrors a strong national trend: Christian liberals and moderates are talking openly about morality and values from their perspective." One might wonder from whose perspective they’ve been talking all these years. Be that as it may, we are told that liberal Christians are "seeking ways to promote their own agendas and recapture the discussions of values from Christian conservatives." The evidence for this great resurgence is threefold. ELCA Lutherans in Minnesota are holding a conference "to celebrate their Lutheran heritage and re-energize their social action agenda." An organizer says that conservative "grouchies" will not be welcome. "By the ‘grouchies,’ Joanne Negstad doesn’t mean those who disagree with her, but those who dominate a debate in negative, blaming, or judgmental ways. ‘We know that not everybody who comes will be in the same place on their own faith journey,’ she said, ‘but we want to develop a graceful spirit of acceptance and listening.’" In other words, the debate will be dominated in accepting and inclusive ways. The second piece of evidence for this national resurgence of the Christian left: "Last month, Roman Catholics brought in Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, a well-known Catholic liberal and outspoken advocate of gay rights." And a lot of people showed up. Then there is exhibit number three: Christian feminists met in Minneapolis "to celebrate the first anniversary of the RE-Imagining conference, the controversial meeting that celebrated feminine God images." The story doesn’t say how many people showed up for that, but readers will remember that the reaction to the RE-Imagining conference of 1993, largely sponsored by the Presbyterian Church (USA), cost several mainline churches huge bureaucratic headaches and millions of dollars in contributions. Of such is "the national resurgence of the Christian left." Ralph Reed, call your office, they’re still twitching in Minneapolis.
• It’s a standard rhetorical ploy for conservatives opposing a new government program to ask whether you want the people who run the post office to be in charge of (whatever the new program is about). One might think the U.S. Postal Service would be eager to improve its public image, but nothing of the sort. A month before Christmas, it announced that in 1995 it will not issue the very popular Christmas stamp of the Virgin and Child. 1995 stamps, the Postmaster General said, will include one portraying a "Victorian-era angel" and others featuring Santa Claus and children with holiday gifts. In response to protests, a post office spokesman said the replacement angel stamp "conveys to all the full significance and meaning of the season." The protests continued to build, there were rumblings from Congress and the White House, and the Postmaster General decided that they will continue the Madonna and Child stamp after all. But new rules published in the USPS Postal Bulletin bar "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" signs in local post offices. The bulletin says the post office "must avoid the appearance of favoring any particular religion or religion itself." A display for the religious festival of Kwanzaa, observed by some American blacks, is permitted, the bulletin notes. Oh yes, postal workers will be permitted to convey season’s greetings orally, so it’s not as though anyone’s private exercise of religious freedom is being limited. Citizens can write the U.S. Postal Service to offer their views on these goings on, but, given the sorry state of mail delivery, there might not be much point in it.
• For several years a battle has been sputtering, and sometimes flaming, in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) over, of all things, the ministerial pension fund. The ELCA had decided it would join many other institutions in disinvesting from anything in South Africa, and use pension money to pressure corporations in various directions favored by church leaders. Pastor Tom Basich of Roseville, Minn., really did not like the idea that the church was using his pension money to advance what he viewed as a host of ideologically driven causes. Basich’s idea was and is that the pension fund should make investment decisions to his benefit, and he would decide on his own what political projects to support or not support. At first Pastor Basich and a handful of allies were viewed as eccentrics, but they stuck by their position and it was not long before the ELCA knew it had a fight on its hands. The whole affair is written up in the December 1994 issue of Smart Money, a magazine published by the Wall Street Journal, and those who are interested in the potent mix of religion, money, and politics (sorry, no sex) might want to get their hands on a copy.
• It is true that we have from time to time indicated a less than unqualified admiration for the New York Times. But something funny is afoot, and, if it continues, we may have to reconsider our attitude toward the sleazy old lady of American journalism. Within three weeks of last November’s election, the Times ran three remarkable stories detailing, indeed celebrating, the work of the Catholic Church with and for the poor. There was one on November 24 on Fr. Benedict Groeschel and his Franciscan brethren who have for years run a big food and housing network in the Bronx. Then a report on school vouchers in New Jersey and how everyone now agrees that the Catholic schools in the inner cities are the educational gold standard and the best hope for black and Hispanic youngsters. Then, on Sunday, November 27, a compelling "Diary of an Urban Priest" that went on for pages, being the day-by-day notes of Fr. John Flynn of St. Martin du Tours Church in a particularly embattled section of the Bronx. As if that were not enough, the November 25 issue of the Wall Street Journal had this glowing front-page story on "Father Beans" (Lawrence Bohnen) who for forty years in Haiti has been feeding the poor and, as important, instilling the habits of work and self-reliance in the slums of Port-Au- Prince and other cities. (Note: The Journal’s news section, as distinct from the editorial section, is usually just about as dizzy as the Times, although not, to be sure, as dizzy as the Times’ editorial and op-ed pages.) So what is one to make of this sudden rush of media sanity? First, we hope it continues, and that they’ll include some heroic things being done also by Protestants working among the poor. Second, that maybe a few editors have been awakened to the fact that serious one-to-one work with people in need is almost never done by the government and is typically done by parties who have a commitment grounded in religious conviction. (The election’s evidence of Americans’ robust skepticism toward government programs may have had something to do with that awakening, if an awakening there be.) Third, this spurt of attention to real people doing something real for the poor may be no more than a coincidence. Of course we hope that is not the case. In any event, you can now hold off on those letters complaining that we never have anything positive to say about the press.
• Ten fellowships are available for Americans wanting to participate in the three-week seminar on "The Free Society and Centesimus Annus" next July 3 through 22 in Krakow, Poland. The faculty includes Michael Novak, George Weigel, Russell Hittinger, Fr. Maciej Zieba, and this writer. Fellows must be graduate students or upcoming college seniors, and the application deadline is April 1. Fellowships cover tuition, lodging, meals, and excursions. Send c.v., writing sample, and 300 word essay on liberty to Brian Anderson, American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Or call Mr. Anderson at (202) 862-7152.
• We end on the note of a happy beginning. With this issue, Joseph Bottum (known to readers as J. Bottum and called Jody by his friends) comes on staff as Associate Editor. A native of South Dakota, Jody did his undergraduate work at Georgetown and in December 1993 received his Ph.D. from Boston College. He has taught at the University of Lowell in Massachusetts and at Loyola College, Baltimore. His field is philosophy, with a particular interest in medieval philosophy, and those who read his "Christians and Postmoderns" (April 1994) know that he is no slouch when it comes to addressing contemporary thought, and thoughtlessness (see also his "A Suspicion of Snobbery" in this issue). Jody and his wife Lorena are Roman Catholic and will be living in New York City. The editorial position was opened up by the retirement of Midge Decter, who since 1991 has been Distinguished Fellow of the Institute and an invaluable aid in the editing of the journal. It would be false to say that Mr. Bottum is replacing Midge Decter, for nobody could do that. But we are confidently expecting great things from him. This is also an appropriate occasion to mention that Ms. Decter will be delivering the Institute’s annual Erasmus Lecture on Thursday, April 27, at the Union League Club in New York. Her theme is "A Jew in Anti-Christian America," and tickets are available by writing this office. Finally, when we advertised the availability of an editorial post, we were swamped with applications, many from people who were extraordinarily well qualified, most of them younger people, and all of them great fans of the journal. We very much wished we were in a position to hire at least ten of them. It was a tough choice, but we are grateful to have J. Bottum with us, and you can be sure that you will be hearing more from him both in his own voice and in his editorial honing of the voices of others.
Sources: Martin Walker review of Resurrection and Strange Justice in New York Times Book Review, November 20, 1994. New York Times editorial "Starving the Poor," November 24, 1994. Father Drinan on the 1960s, National Catholic Reporter, November 18, 1994. Elliott Abrams review of Michael Lerner in American Spectator, December 1994.
While We’re At It: On National History Standards Project, New York Times, November 19, 1994. On the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials, New York Times, November 23, 1994. British analysis of American politics, Spectator, November 12, 1994. Quotes on elections and abortion, Fred Barnes, New Republic, December 5, 1994. Fr. O’Donovan on Jordanian-Israeli peace ceremonies, America, November 19, 1994. Hans Kung quoted in the Tablet, November 12, 1994. On 60 Minutes filming of "Call to Action," National Catholic Reporter, November 18, 1994. On Catholic universities discriminating against Catholic faculty, University News of St. Louis University, October 28, 1994. Texe Marrs on Richard John Neuhaus in Flashpoint, November 1994. On Peter Hebblethwaite, New York Times, December 20, 1994. On morality and values among Christian liberals, Minneapolis Star Tribune, November 14, 1994. On Christmas stamp of the Virgin and Child, National and International Religion Report, November 28, 1994.