A Tea Party for Everyone

What will the legacy of the Tea Party be? A few Senate wins and government shutdowns? Or a whole new trajectory for our politics? We don’t know yet, but we do know this: If Tea Party activists can refashion their movement to appeal to a wider fraction of the American electorate, they might have a chance of expanding the Tea Party’s influence beyond its current limits. The alternative is for the Tea Party to remain a conservative faction subordinate to the Republican party establishment. Continue Reading »

For City Kids and City Neighborhoods

It’s commencement season and tens of thousands of students are graduating from inner-city Catholic elementary schools. As decades of empirical research have shown, these kids have a better chance of successfully completing high school and college, and are better prepared for life-after-the-classroom, than their peers attending government schools. These inner-city Catholic schools are “public schools” in the best sense of the term; they’re open to the public (not just to Catholics), and they serve a genuine public interest, the empowerment of the youthful poor. Continue Reading »

Two Men Whose Lives Exploded Stereotypes about Science and Religion

On March 9, 2014, the world lost V. Elving Anderson (b. 1921), a geneticist at the University of Minnesota for more than three decades. Six months earlier we lost Oliver R. Barclay (1919-2013), one of the most influential evangelical leaders in Britain of the 20th century. In a century when science and religion too often appeared as antagonists, these men showed another path is possible. Continue Reading »

How the Climate Debate Was Overtaken By Spin

new federal tome has put climate change in the news cycle for a too-brief moment—extended a bit thanks to the cultural power of Pat Sajak and the pope. Like a doctor at an annual physical saying, “You’re even fatter than last year, and it’s not good for you,” the National Climate Assessment (NCA) tells us once again that temperatures, sea levels, ocean acidities, and greenhouse gas levels are on the way up. Continue Reading »

Staying Put

Why not become Anglican? some have asked since I laid out a case for “Reformational Catholicism” at the forum on the future of Protestantism at Biola University last month. Anglicans, they tell me, already have what I want. Others wonder why I stay in a “sectarian” Presbyterian denomination. Others ask, Why not drop the “Reformational” and become just “Catholic”? Continue Reading »

The Pope and the Patriarch

On Sunday Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will join one another in their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Fifty years after the historical meeting of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI, this new meeting aims to do more than commemorate the past. Continue Reading »

Piling Cliché Upon Cliché

In the past two days, federal courts have redefined marriage in two states: Oregon and Pennsylvania. No one should be surprised by this; though the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor v. U.S., which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, could be shrewdly navigated so as to permit state definitions of marriage to survive scrutiny, it was unlikely that any federal judge would bring attention to himself by defying the accumulating mass of pro-same-sex marriage rulings. Continue Reading »

The Anglican Wannabe Fallacy

Prior to April 27’s canonization-doubleheader, I taped a lengthy interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, discussing both John XXIII and John Paul II. The ABC was kind enough to send transcripts of the programs it did on these giants of modern Catholicism, so I was able to read what others had to say about the Church’s two newest saints. Much of it was interesting, but some comments verged on the bizarre. Continue Reading »