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Russell E. Saltzman is a former Lutheran pastor, transitioning to the Roman Catholic Church.

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The Mental Murder of Torture

From Web Exclusives

The story is increasingly shameful¯how the United States conducted “enhanced interrogations” of terrorist suspects. Some of the story has been out a long time, if only in bits and pieces, appearing in various news outlets. But it really got hot and better documented after the November . . . . Continue Reading »

Killing with Kindness

From First Thoughts

The last of the “UCC Firsts”—highlights in the history of the United Church of Christ dating from 1620—listed at the church’s web site is from 1995, fourteen years ago, marking publication of the New Century Hymnal . Nothing much apparently has happened since, except for . . . . Continue Reading »

Here He Stood

From the April 2009 Print Edition

A year after Richard John Neuhaus left Martin Luther’s Wittenberg for St. Peter’s Rome, he was interviewed for an Australian publication. He noted the Roman turbulence into which he was plunging, and he remarked, “Cardinal Newman wrote that when he was received into the Catholic . . . . Continue Reading »

Prayer Profiling

From First Thoughts

John H. Thomas is the general minister and president of the United Church of Christ. He recently completed a trip to the Holy Land and penned his reflections about Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. As is often the case, [Muslim] men under the age of forty-five were not permitted to pray . . . . Continue Reading »

Catching a Shooting Star

From First Thoughts

Scientists announced that for the first time they have successfully detected and tracked an asteroid as it collided with earth. It was a very small asteroid and what was left of it after passing through earth’s atmosphere landed in the Sudanese desert, having posed no danger to the United . . . . Continue Reading »

Missing the Center

From First Thoughts

An ideological preoccupation with stem cells blocked President Bush from giving his full attention to an intelligence briefing warning of an attack by Bin Laden. This—more or less—is what Frank Rich, the New York Times op-ed columnist, suggests in “The Culture Warriors Get Laid . . . . Continue Reading »

Jan in a Pan

From First Thoughts

Jan in a Pan is the street-smart title of a 1959 black and white B-grade, science fiction/horror film (released in 1962). I happened to watch it a few nights ago, utterly fascinated by the issues it raised. The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (the actual but only marginally more serious title) stars . . . . Continue Reading »

Eighth Commandment Politics

From First Thoughts

CNN expressed confusion this morning on when Administration officials—specifically, Secretary of the Treasury Geithner and President Obama—knew AIG would be paying out bonuses to its failed executives. Geithner says he didn’t know until Tuesday; the president, not until Thursday. . . . . Continue Reading »

How Do You Rewind a CD?

From First Thoughts

There is David Goldman’s blog on Benedict XVI’s “Williamson incident,” and there is the web article for today by Fr. Oakes, who refers to it as well. All of which prompted me—as it should prompt you—to look up the text Pope Benedict wrote on the whole thing March . . . . Continue Reading »