Unlocking the Academy’s Language

Reading Tim Clydesdale’s The First Year Out: Understanding American Teens After High School put this professor on edge. I suddenly could see that I had been an inveterate practitioner of, in his memorable phrase, “liberal arts hazing,” the touchingly misguided attempt to get Meaning into the Lives of Our Youth. This notion of “hazing” would cover, I presume, the team-taught course to which half of my load is devoted, Invitation to the Humanities, which includes units on death, love, and the 1960s. By Clydesdale’s lights, we’re nuts… . Continue Reading »

Moses and the Gipper and the End of America

I am relieved. Now that a week has passed, and people have processed things a little, I can admit publicly what I have to date only said to a few close friends. I am relieved at the outcome of the election. This is not to say I am pleased. Regardless of what he said while addressing the University of Notre Dame, Barack Obama has amply demonstrated his willingness to ignore the rights of religious entities to exist and to operate”in ways that go well beyond formal acts of worship”according to their founding precepts… . Continue Reading »

The Rich You Will Always Have With You

Most cities built before 1945 were founded at the scale of what today we might call a town or even a village. Some rose around some sacred site or along some pre-existing sacred path; some for purposes of protection or territorial conquest; others primarily to facilitate the production, distribution, and exchange of material goods; and others simply for human pleasure in extraordinary natural conditions… . Continue Reading »

Solidarity: the Republican Blind Spot

The first thing to say is “calm down.” As our friend Steve Barr observes, we tend to over-interpret election results. That’s especially true for those of us paid to have opinions. Nothing sells soap like decisive pronouncements. “End of conservatism!” “New permanent majority.” “Thousand year reign of Democratic Party begins!” So instead of a summation I’ll make some tentative observations… . Continue Reading »

The Limited Government Case Against Gay Marriage

Same-sex marriage advocates frequently appeal to our country’s limited government tradition to urge redefining the age-old, cross-cultural understanding of marriage as the union of husband and wife into a union where a husband or a wife is unnecessary. “Government shouldn’t tell people who to marry,” they say. Notwithstanding this argument’s misleading claim (no one is “telling” you to marry anyone”though a society with gay marriage will have the force of law to tell some opponents to participate), its premise is still troubling… . Continue Reading »

The Religious Right After Reaganism

I’ve made adjustments to bring this piece up to date, but I wrote most of it in January 2009 when President Obama was inaugurated for his first term. Friends told me at the time that I was overwrought, that Obama’s election was a fluke. Tuesday, I think, proved them wrong. Something died this week. It probably died four years ago, but Tuesday it was pronounced dead… . Continue Reading »

An Open Letter To Pro-Lifers

To my Pro-life Friends and Allies: The results of Tuesday’s presidential election were certainly disappointing. We knew the next president might get the opportunity to appoint as many as four new judges to the U.S. Supreme Court. We also knew that the 2012 election marked our best opportunity to repeal Obamacare. We were running against an incumbent president who very openly and aggressively supported legal abortion. We knew the stakes were high, and we responded admirably. In the end, our efforts came up a bit short… . Continue Reading »

Seizing The Mormon Moment

With Mitt Romney’s campaign for president concluded, his co-religionists are left to reflect on what has been, for them as well as for him, a very revealing day in the sun. Mormons and non-Mormons alike have learned many interesting things about the place of Mormonism within the American religious landscape… . Continue Reading »

Five Temptations for Classical Christian Education

Having taught at a classical Christian school for five years and followed the classical Christian education movement for some years prior, I have come to believe that it is the best approach to K-12 education available today. Due to its understanding of education as the reshaping of a child’s soul (in contrast to “discovery” models of education, for example), the method tends to develop thinkers defined by who they are instead of workers defined by what they do… . Continue Reading »

California’s Ban on Same-Sex Therapy

At the end of September, California passed a law making it illegal for licensed therapists to counsel minors away from same-sex attraction. California Senator Ted W. Lieu, the lead author of the bill, designed it to prohibit therapies that seek to change the sexual orientation of the patient. He said in support of the bill … Continue Reading »