Religious Freedom Day

From First Thoughts

Some of us may have missed it, but President Obama declared yesterday Religious Freedom Day in the United States. Here is an excerpt from the presidential proclamation on the White House’s website: Today, we also remember that religious liberty is not just an American right; it is a universal . . . . Continue Reading »

Setting Political Philosophy to Music

From First Thoughts

This is almost worth crossing the pond to see: John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice: The Musical . In order to draw inspiration for his magnum opus, John Rawls travels back through time to converse (in song) with a selection of political philosophers, including Plato, Locke, Rousseau and Mill. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Sexual Revolution: A Change of Mind

From First Thoughts

Andrew Norman Wilson, better known by his initials, A. N. Wilson, is an on-again, off-again atheist who has written books on C. S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, the Victorians, and many other subjects. At the beginning of a new year, the Daily Mail has published Wilson’s retrospective on the sexual . . . . Continue Reading »

Giving Up on the Constitution?

From First Thoughts

For many years now I’ve been teaching my students that a constitution is more than a scrap of paper but is to be found in the deeper principles and commitments of a particular political community. Here in Canada in recent decades we have embraced the notion that our constitution is identical . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Celebrate Christmas When We Do?

From First Thoughts

It is generally believed that the birth of Christ is celebrated on December 25 because our savvy Christian forebears with a flare for marketing took over a winter solstice holiday from the surrounding pagans. Not so, apparently. Here is William J. Tighe on Calculating Christmas and Andrew McGowan . . . . Continue Reading »

Deterring, Not Preventing, Evil

From First Thoughts

Yesterday’s tragedy in Connecticut, like other similar tragedies before it, calls to mind a widespread and persistent tendency to assume that we can prevent every “avoidable” tragedy by passing yet another law. Sad to say, no law will effectively deter every possible crime in . . . . Continue Reading »

Gustav Holst: Psalm 86

From First Thoughts

One hundred years ago the English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934), best known for his series of orchestral tone poems, The Planets , composed a moving choral piece based on Genevan Psalm 86: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FIo9Buho1s&w=298&h=245] The metrical text was apparently . . . . Continue Reading »

Bay Psalm Book for Sale

From First Thoughts

Ted Olsen has written a fascinating article inspired by the recent decision of Boston’s Old South Church to sell off one of its two remaining copies of the original edition of the Bay Psalm Book, used liturgically by the New England Puritans in the 17th century: What You Need to Know About . . . . Continue Reading »