Organic Chemistry

From Web Exclusives

The family has been planning to take advantage of our little patch of suburbia to plant a small flower and vegetable garden, something we never dreamed of doing during the 10+ years we lived in New York City. But the nice weather caught us unprepared. The man at the hardware store told my wife that the unseasonably high temperatures meant that all recommended planting schedules should be advanced by one month. We thought we had a little more time to get our acts together. Such is life… . Continue Reading »

Why My Friends Don’t Like Homeschooling

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My wife homeschools our seven-year-old daughter, so I read with sympathy David Mills’ piece in the January issue of First Things on the suspicion he encounters when discussing publicly the homeschooling of his two children. Opting out of the public education system feels a bit like jumping off a moving train. As you tumble down the side of the embankment and struggle to gain your footing, passengers on the still-moving train crane their necks and crowd to the windows to stare at you with wide eyes and slack jaws…. Continue Reading »

The “R” Word

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I hear the word a lot. Less than I used to, but more than I’d prefer. The word is “retarded.” To many it remains a humorous synonym for words like “uncoordinated” or “stupid.” I probably hear it more than most because I’m really attuned to it. When I was a kid, it was common for boys to tease each other with the word “gay.” But that was ultimately declared unspeakable by polite society. We forced it out of our vocabularies… . Continue Reading »

John Lennon’s Bad Theology

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This week marks the thirty-first anniversary of John Lennon’s death”as good a time as any to analyze our enduring fascination with the former Beatle’s peculiar religiosity and his lasting impact on our cultural imagination. We should begin at the beginning, or very near it. In August 1966, as a mop-topped 26-year-old, Lennon told a British reporter that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” … Continue Reading »

Nancy Pelosi, Devout Catholic

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When an alcoholic finally gives up his booze, he no longer refers to himself as a drinker. When a nicotine addict quits puffing, she no longer calls herself a smoker. Yet for some reason, when a person who was raised Catholic stops going to Mass, ceases to accept the teaching authority of the Church, and publicly charges the institution and its hierarchy with both moral and criminal failures, that person is entirely free to continue calling him or herself a Catholic… . Continue Reading »

On the New Mass

From Web Exclusives

I had a conversation recently with someone very close to me. Despite being raised a Catholic”and even spending some time in a seminary”this person has fallen away from the faith. While I believe he still identifies as a Catholic in a hereditary sense, he is angry about the sexual abuse scandals, highly critical of the Church and its bishops, and does not attend mass in anything like a regular fashion. Although I try hard to avoid discussing matters of faith with this fellow, it’s not always easy. He feels passionately that the Church has lost its way… . Continue Reading »

Down Syndrome and the Purpose of Prenatal Testing

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One night, not long after we learned of our daughter’s Down syndrome diagnosis, my wife and I were lying in bed when she pointed to her pregnant belly and said, “You know, we’ve been talking about this child as if she were imaginary, but she’s here in the bed with us now.” It was a powerful moment for me. I believe I became prolife right then and there… . Continue Reading »

Down Syndrome and the Texas Sonogram Law

From Web Exclusives

I hate to do it, but I have to mess with Texas. Hailed as a victory by many in the pro-life movement, the so-called “sonogram law,” passed recently by the Texas Legislature and now awaiting Governor Rick Perry’s signature, requires women seeking an abortion in the Lone Star State to view a sonogram image and listen to a description of the “dimensions of the embryo or fetus … Continue Reading »