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In his latest On the Square column , George Weigel explains the emerging crisis in the Ukraine:

The Oct. 11 sentencing of former prime minister and Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in prison may or may not stand. Miss Tymoshenko has appealed the sentence and several western governments, including the Obama administration, have lodged stiff protests over Tymoshenko’s prosecution with the government of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich. But irrespective of Miss Tymoshenko’s legal fate, a marker has been laid down. That the Ukrainian government would conduct, publicly, a trial on trumped up and politically motivated charges, and that the court would return a guilty verdict with a heavy penalty (including a $190 million fine on top of the prison sentence), makes quite clear that the current authorities have little regard for justice or democratic norms of governance.

And that is a problem far beyond Kyiv.

Also today, Michael Novak on the common good and statism :

I remember so well the founding days of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. We were such a small and humble organization, so few of us, so lightly funded. Yet we had strong hearts, bold ambitions, and lots and lots of good information. As anyone can guess, Richard John Neuhaus was the leading spirit, the intellectual guide. He was still a Lutheran then and loved to nail manifestoes on Cathedral doors, so he nailed up the founding manifesto of IRD, telling how the key democratic ideas of human dignity, equality, fraternity, and liberty flowed from Christian roots and Christian understandings. And he expressed shock—SHOCK—at how many of our local parishes were using materials that attacked democracy, coming out of the National Council of Churches on Riverside Drive, New York. Anti-Democratic materials: materials siding with the Sandinistas; materials siding with violent Palestinian organizations; materials siding with the anti-democratic effort to bring down the fragile democracy in El Salvador.



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