Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Hope at the March for Marriage

From Web Exclusives

Will traditional marriage follow the path of preborn life—an issue moving from judicial activism and socially elite proclamations that a generational shift was “inevitable” and “the debate is over” to our day decades later where the youngsters are more right minded about abortion than their parents. That seemed to be the hope of many taking to the podium at the March for Marriage, held June 19th in Washington approximately a year after the Supreme Court struck down much of the Defense of Marriage Act that President Bill Clinton had signed into law. Continue Reading »

How the Climate Debate Was Overtaken By Spin

From Web Exclusives

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 »

The Venn of Q

From First Thoughts

Noah Toly opens his reply to my recent Q conference review by stating that my piece contained one big weakness. Apparently, this relates to my observation that at Q “bridges are favored over lines in the sand.” Toly replies, “While Q organizers and participants might find this refreshing, Murdock finds it obscurantist, lending a dangerously false sense of reconcilability to what might actually be irreconcilable positions.” Continue Reading »

A Crash Course in Q

From Web Exclusives

Let’s keep Christianity weird.” So said the Southern Baptists’ official face to the nation, Russell Moore, as he closed an address on “prophetic minorities” before a thousand pastors, artists, social entrepreneurs, and assorted others at latest edition of Q. “What is Q?” you might ask like a local woman did to me as I snapped a picture of the ten-foot-tall reclaimed wood logo that stood outside a historic hall in the shadow of the Tennessee capitol building. Telling her dryly that it was a gathering of hipster Christians only seemed to add to her confusion. (I overheard someone else try to explain it as a bit like TED for evangelicals, which apparently left his native inquisitor as perplexed as mine.) Even the basics can be cloudy—every participant I asked assumed the “Q” stood for “question” but no one really knew for sure, and Q’s website holds no direct answer. Continue Reading »

CPAC Behind Bars

From Web Exclusives

A few weeks back, I highlighted the friction between ascendant libertarians and ignored social conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). After some time to mentally digest that red meat laden all-you-can-eat political buffet, one nutritious morsel still stands out: the . . . . Continue Reading »

Taking a Back Seat at CPAC

From Web Exclusives

Pot was in and social conservatism was out. That is the best single sentence summary I can give after three exhausting and sometimes mind-numbing days at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).The gathering is a media favorite partly for its colorful characters. One tall . . . . Continue Reading »

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown

From Web Exclusives

In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown’s quest to escape a melancholy brought on by the materialism and artificiality climaxes with Linus’ powerful recitation of St. Luke’s nativity. Remembered now as a classic, the success of the special was by no means assured … Continue Reading »

John Muir’s God of Nature

From Web Exclusives

“Do you have something by Muir to read?” asked a friend as I made last-minute preparations to embark for Yosemite National Park. The thought had previously crossed my mind, but his encouragement spurred me to action. Like Muir in 1869, I was off for My First Summer in the Sierra. I am so glad… Continue Reading »

Sunset Societies

From Web Exclusives

The Independence Day fireworks over the National Mall are impressive to behold. Yet, watching from a hillside between Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Marine War Memorial”both of which speak eloquently to the past sacrifices made for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”I could not shake my friend Os Guinness’s observations about “sunset societies.” … Continue Reading »