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 »

The Down Syndrome Community’s Death Debate

Let’s try an experiment: Imagine you are a high school junior just starting to think about college. You have your heart set on The Big Catholic Football School with A Good Academic Reputation. But your mom and dad want you to have options, so they make you go onto the websites of a few other schools and ask them to send you their application materials. When these arrive in the mail, you toss them into a corner where they sit for months and months. After all, your mind’s already mostly made up—there’s really only one school you’re thinking of going to. Continue Reading »

America’s War Against Catholicism

Anti-Catholicism was the driving force behind the Mexican-American War, argues John C. Pinheiro in his gripping new study. The evidence he carefully assembles suggests an even stronger point: that it was the defining attitude undergirding the early Republic and antebellum years. Continue Reading »

The Bolshevik Moment

During commencement season, a number of speakers were deemed politically impure. Earlier in the spring, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was outted as a supporter of traditional marriage by gay bloggers and resigned under pressure. More recently, University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock has . . . . Continue Reading »

Learning from Bodies

The baby in my arms lacks the majority of his brain. He was born just fifteen minutes before this moment, and he is likely to die before another fifteen minutes pass. He has taken no first breath and will give no first cry. He cannot see. He cannot hear. He does not feel the warm weight of my hand . . . . Continue Reading »

Libertarian Delusions

Recently I was invited to give a lecture on libertarianism at a prestigious Christian college. The large lecture hall was packed with bright-eyed, wholesome-looking Christian students, a number of whom lingered afterward to press their case for . . . libertarianism.Only ten years ago, this scene . . . . Continue Reading »

Shaken not Smoked

Marijuana is becoming more socially acceptable and legally available. It would seem that a majority of Americans are in favor of decriminalizing the recreational use of pot, and the Department of Justice has advised federal prosecutors that possession of a small amount of it is not an . . . . Continue Reading »

Neither Side Got What It Wanted

On July 21, the President issued an Executive Order prohibiting government contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. There is no exception for religious organizations with government contracts. But neither is there any override of existing legal protections for religious liberty. The Department of Labor is to issue more detailed implementing regulations in ninety days. Continue Reading »

Will Doctors Be Forced to Kill?

The wailing and gnashing of teeth in some quarters over the modest Hobby Lobby decision has me worried. Apparently, many on the political port side of the country believe that once a favored public policy has been enacted, it immediately becomes a “right” that can never be altered or denied. More, once such a “right” is established for the individual, others should have the duty to ensure access—even at the cost of violating their own religious consciences. Continue Reading »

Conservatives’ Mixed Message on Immigration

America has “bad-faith open borders.” We limit immigration but we enforce those limits only sporadically. Fred Bauer argues that this “is a distorted hybrid of the United States’ tradition of ordered borders and of the transnationalist aim of entirely open borders.” The distortion is real, but it is not rooted entirely in transnationalism. It is also rooted in a certain kind of American exceptionalism that has a history on the right, but that conservatives don’t talk about very much. Getting past “bad-faith open borders” will require rejecting romanticism and looking to the facts of the American present. Continue Reading »