The October 2008 Issue Is Here!

The October issue of First Things has arrived¯a big-tent issue, a three-ring extravaganza of essays, poems, letters, and reviews.Under the big top, for instance, Richard John Neuhaus looks back at the Second Vatican Council. In his essay-length review of two new books¯John W. . . . . Continue Reading »

Misreading Cardinal George

My friend and former colleague, Prof. Douglas Kmiec, opened his September 9, 2008 Chicago Tribune op-ed (“How Catholics can oppose abortion, back Obama”) with an endearing expression of respect for Chicago’s cardinal archbishop, Francis George. He then continued with his ongoing, . . . . Continue Reading »

A New Order of Religious Freedom

“Oh look, the sun is rising again.” Most of us manage to contain our surprise. As predictable as the rising of the sun is the emergence of religion in our political contests¯and the feigned surprise of much of our political class. Or maybe the surprise is not feigned. For some it is a . . . . Continue Reading »

On the Edge of Discovery

As many of you know, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) turned on yesterday in Geneva. So maybe I should say a little about it, since this is the kind of physics I do for a living. The LHC is a very big deal for physics. It is likely to make the first major breakthrough in particle physics in over . . . . Continue Reading »

Apophatic Beauty

In 1948, the abstract artist Barnett Newman wrote, “The impulse of modern art was to destroy beauty.” One among many impulses of recent art has been to piece it together again. It is a beleaguered movement, but promoted by a wide range of figures, from democratic populist Dave Hickey to . . . . Continue Reading »

Putting Politics in its Place

I’m very thankful that I don’t have a television. We’re heading into the final months of the presidential election, and maybe I’ll be spared the demoralizing experience of so much stupidity conveyed with such seriousness. You know the routine. The news anchor asks, “Jim, did . . . . Continue Reading »

The Failure to Enchant

Twenty years ago, Salman Rushdie wrote a novel so shocking that it nearly cost him his life. Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s Supreme Leader, issued a fatwa against the Indian author on account of the blasphemy in his book, The Satanic Verses . Much to the chagrin of the more extreme elements of the . . . . Continue Reading »

The “Soul” of a Nation

American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile . I really like the title of the book I’m writing, in the hope of having it ready for publication in the first part of 2009. That can be a problem in writing books. You fall in love with a title and then labor to build a book around it. But I’m . . . . Continue Reading »

A Vote for Sarah Palin

Three memories have shaped my approach to this year’s general election.Here’s the first. In the late 1970s, during a two-year break from teaching to raise our second son, an adopted child, I found myself at a Los Angeles dinner party filled with DINKs, the “double income, no . . . . Continue Reading »