Abraham Lincoln, None?

From First Thoughts

Today is Presidents Day in the United States, a national holiday. Actually, that’s not quite right. Officially, the federal holiday is still called Washington’s Birthday, and that’s the official name here in New York, too. (Who knew?) But, unofficially, America uses this day to . . . . Continue Reading »

Is the Vatican Violating Children’s Rights?

From First Thoughts

Here is the latest evidence of the clash between contemporary human rights norms and traditional religions. Last week, the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child reported on the Vatican’s compliance with an international treaty, the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention, which virtually every UN member, including the Holy See, has ratified (though not the US), lists universal rights of children, including the right to be protected from discrimination; the right to be free from violence, including sexual abuse; the right to health and welfare; and so on. Continue Reading »

Also, They Will Need to Use Electric Typewriters

From First Thoughts

This is rather silly. Inside Higher Ed reports that the International Studies Associationu2014according to its website, “the most respected and widely known scholarly association dedicated to international studies”—has proposed a ban on personal blogging by editors of its journals. The proposal would allow editors to blog only at official sites affiliated with their journals. The ISA’s President says the association is concerned about the lack of professionalism at many academic blogs and that it doesn’t want readers to confuse editors’ personal posts with the association’s official products. Continue Reading »

Christians and Circumcision

From First Thoughts

My post last week about a movement in Scandinavia to ban the non-therapeutic circumcision of boys drew many comments. I’d like to respond to one of them. At Patheos, Joel Willitts criticizes Christians, like me, who oppose such bans. Willitts suggests that we are being inconsistent, perhaps . . . . Continue Reading »

Banning Circumcision in Scandinavia

From First Thoughts

A serious campaign is underway in Scandinavia to ban the non-therapeutic circumcision of boys. A Danish doctors’ association says that, unless medically indicated, circumcision is a kind of child abuse. A Swedish medical association recommends setting the minimum age for the procedure at 12 . . . . Continue Reading »