Letters

UKRAINEJohn P. Burgess’s article “Christian Witness in Ukraine” (October) is flawed in several significant ways. First, he confuses Rus´—a medieval reality—with Russia, a modern one. Imagine François Hollande invading Germany to maintain the “unity of France.” Aix-la-Chapelle (today’s Aachen—in Germany) was indeed the capital of the Frankish realm. But France is hardly the Frankish realm.Confusing Rus´ and Russia is bound to recast Ukrainians as “reluctant Russians.” Thus, even the promotion—and safeguarding—of legitimate Ukrainian distinctiveness will inevitably be seen as “nationalistic” or “separatist.” Of course, trying to revive a “Rus´ realm” might be a nice—even “Christian”—idea if it weren’t for the fact that millions of Ukrainians have been murdered throughout the centuries by those trying to “preserve” such “unity.” Continue Reading »

Letters

From the December 2014 Print Edition

UKRAINEJohn P. Burgess’s article “Christian Witness in Ukraine” (October) is flawed in several significant ways. First, he confuses Rus´—a medieval reality—with Russia, a modern one. Imagine François Hollande invading Germany to maintain the “unity of . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

From the November 2014 Print Edition

Catholic Marriage The good points about marital preparation that Robert Spaemann makes in “Divorce and Remarriage” (August/September) are obscured by some important insensitivities. ­Spaemann scornfully categorizes second marriages as “adulterous concubinages,” a term . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

From the October 2014 Print Edition

Which Barth? Whose Failure? A Reply to Matthew Rose Matthew Rose: “Barth agreed with the Enlightenment insistence on the historical and empirical conditions of our knowledge, only to observe that God himself became historical and empirical” (“Karl Barth’s Failure,” . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

From the August/September 2014 Print Edition

Reward R. R. Reno reports that there’s a $10,000 reward for anyone who can change Sam Harris’s mind about strict materialism (“Rewriting Nature’s Laws,” May). I’ve read just a few sentences of Harris’s work, and all of it attempted to persuade. Of course if . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the August/September 2014 Print Edition

Anyone who wants to understand the perilous condition of religious freedom in America should read this book. In lucid prose, University of San Diego law professor Steven D. Smith contests basic themes of the conventional story of American religious freedom and presents a provocative and compelling . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

From the June/July 2014 Print Edition

Putin, Catholicism I was rather disturbed by R. R. ­Reno’s column “Global Culture Wars” (April). I understand that First Things is a monthly, and perhaps he would have written this article a little differently in light of Russia’s invasion of Crimea. (At least, I hope . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the June/July 2014 Print Edition

In Abuse of Discretion, the latest book lobbed at the unsteady edifice of Roe v. Wade, Clarke D. Forsythe turns to the Supreme Court justices’ private notes and memos from 1971 to 1973 in order to “solve the puzzle” of the court’s legalization of abortion on demand. The . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

From the May 2014 Print Edition

Food FightR. R. Reno’s response to my “pushback” shows that he is not convinced of the gravity of the harms of conventional farming and agribusiness, nor the substantial benefits of small-scale, sustainable farming (“Inequality and Agency,” March). In other words, for . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the May 2014 Print Edition

Implosion: The End of Russia and What It Means for Americaby ilan bermanregnery, 256 pages, $27.95 This book arrived in my mailbox the day the Winter Olympics in Sochi began. It was disquieting to read Ilan Berman’s grim account of the dying of a once great state as the vulgar grandiosity of a . . . . Continue Reading »