James R. Rogers is department head and associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University. He leads the “New Man” prison ministry at the Hamilton Unit in Bryan, Texas, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

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Government Is Not a Necessary Evil

From Web Exclusives

Numerous commentators, particularly among contract or consent theorists, maintain that government is a result of the Fall”something that would not be necessary were it not for Adam’s sin. As Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense, “society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil.” … Continue Reading »

Protestant Perseverance and Catholic Decline?

From Web Exclusives

Protestants with a strong religious identity continue to increase as Catholics with a strong religious identity continue to decline, according to a March study by the Pew Research Center. The proportion of Catholics reporting strong religious affiliation declined by almost twenty percentage points over the last few decades … Continue Reading »

The Benefits, and Costs, of Globalization

From Web Exclusives

The U.N.’s recently released 2013 Human Development Report summarizes strikingly good news about the decline in global poverty over the last two decades (whereas once 43 percent of humans lived in extreme poverty, that figure has now fallen to 21 percent) and predicted the rise of a global middle class… . Continue Reading »

What Jesus Prayed for in the Garden

From Web Exclusives

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will,” prays Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Many sermons and commentaries take Jesus’ prayer to be a prayer to the Father to avoid the cross, “if it is possible.” This displays his true humanity… . Continue Reading »

Thank You, Pastor

From Web Exclusives

Pastors have hard lives. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul referred to being “poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service” of the church. Paul uses the image again in writing to Timothy of his death. Being poured out for the church at Philippi meant Paul’s life being emptied out for the church at Philippi; it meant dying for that church… . Continue Reading »

“Warm Bodies” (Spoiler Alert)

From First Thoughts

Warm Bodies is not a great film, but it is a fun film. It has a cute turn on the traditional zombie movie. In this case, a human, as it were, infects the zombies and they start to turn human again. The film includes a few theologically suggestive features. To wit, the main zombie character, R, . . . . Continue Reading »

Is the Constitution Conservative?

From Web Exclusives

A century ago progressive politicians openly expressed antipathy for the U.S. Constitution. Bicameralism, judicial review, and politics stood in the way of nonpartisan, scientific administration. Sure, the progressive argument went, bad laws might be deterred by the need for agreement among separated institutions, but just as many good laws might be deterred as well… . Continue Reading »

False Neutrality

From the January 2013 Print Edition

It’s Even Worse than It Looks: ? How the American Constitutional System Collided With the ?New Politics of Extremism by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein Basic Books, 226 pages, $26 Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein just don’t seem to understand”or they just choose to . . . . Continue Reading »

Lo How A (Yellow) Rose E’er Blooming

From Web Exclusives

Along with many mainline denominations, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has seen a gradual, but persistent, decline in membership in recent decades. One exception to this trend in the LCMS has been the Texas District, where membership has remained more or less steady over the last decade. I recently sat down with Rev. Ken Hennings, president of the Texas District of the LCMS to discuss what accounts for its different experience… . Continue Reading »

Doing the Math on Religious Affiliation

From Web Exclusives

In the forthcoming issue of the journal Sociology of Religion, sociologist Philip Schwadel reports that between 1974 and 2010, the “probability of reporting a strong religious affiliation declined considerably among Catholics” in the U.S. and “increased among evangelical Protestants.” The thing is, this is not necessarily quite the bad news it might sound to be for Catholics, and not quite the good news it might sound to be for Evangelicals… . Continue Reading »