The New Nonconformist Conscience

Mozilla’s Brendan Eich, the Miami Dolphins’ Don Jones, HGTV’s Benham brothers: 2014 has been a good year for those seeking to enforce the new moral orthodoxy by depriving others of their livelihood. It’s bad enough to see people joining these bandwagons without pausing to reflect on dark side of such feeding frenzies, but even more dispiriting are those who argue, in the cold light of their own reflection, that such tactics are righteous. Continue Reading »

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

The trends aren’t dramatic, but they are noteworthy nonetheless. Americans are gradually becoming more pro-life. In 2012 Gallup polling found that the percentage of Americans who self-identified as pro-choice was at an all-time low (41 percent), while fully half regarded themselves as pro-life. Continue Reading »

Is History Really Over?

In 1989, as the Cold War entered the bottom of the ninth inning, political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote a memorable essay entitled “The End of History?” And despite the question mark in the article’s title, the argument resolved itself in a straightforward answer: “Yes.” Continue Reading »

Against Obsessive Sexuality

For the March issue of First Things, I wrote an essay called “Against Heterosexuality.” In brief, my argument was that the concept of sexual orientation is not historically inevitable, not empirically accurate, and not morally useful. The heterosexual-homosexual dichotomy is counterproductive to encouraging the virtue of chastity, so we Christians should do our best to eliminate “gay” and “straight”—especially “straight,” actually—from the way we think and talk about sex, always with prudence directing us as to the particulars. Continue Reading »

Forgetting the Christians

This past weekend, the United States began to intervene in the humanitarian crisis unfolding in northern Iraq. The Islamist group ISIS has made a lightning conquest of much of the region, persecuting religious minorities, and even some Sunni Muslims, everywhere it goes. Continue Reading »

The Power of Authenticity

I recently watched my good friend Ralph Nader give a rousing speech before a standing-room only audience at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. The presentation was vintage Nader: He railed against the power of large corporations, used his biting sense of humor to poke the politically powerful, as he stepped on the toes of political friends (liberals foolishly won’t work with conservatives on issues of common interest because of a “yuck factor”) and foes alike, while happily spinning iconoclastic arguments ranging from an unexpected call for strong border enforcement (to protect wage levels) to urging government regulation of the emerging sharing economy such as Airbnb. Continue Reading »

How to Survive Demonization

Whether the issue is abortion or spending, a fraction of African-American, Hispanic, and young voters are on the right when it comes to policy, but voted for President Obama. These voters are immersed in a milieu where they never hear the worst of the left, or the best of the right. But there’s hope. A lifetime of attitudes can change, but not all at once. Though no national candidate will be able to change such attitudes in the few months of a presidential campaign, such change has happened before on a more local level. Continue Reading »

The Evangelical Academy

We were doing an interview on an NPR station, a kind of “point-counterpoint” thing. The other interviewee was a self-identified agnostic , and the topic was the rights of academic institutions to “discriminate” on the basis of religious beliefs. My dialogue partner was not overtly hostile to religion as such. Indeed he said some nice things about the school where I was president at the time. Fuller Seminary produces some excellent scholarship based on our religious convictions, he observed. But why do we hire only folks who subscribe to those convictions? Having religious beliefs is fine, he said. But for institutions to hire only faculty who subscribe to those beliefs is contrary to the principles of academic inquiry. Continue Reading »

A Millennial Column

I’ve been writing op-ed columns for the Catholic press since 1979. In its present form, “The Catholic Difference,” I began this column in 1993 at the invitation of the late Kay Lagreid, then-editor of the now-deceased Catholic Northwest Progress in Seattle; the column went into national syndication shortly thereafter, with the Denver Catholic Register eventually succeeding the Progress as syndicator. This is the one-thousandth column in that series, which prompts some thoughts of a confessional nature. Continue Reading »